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North Korea has launched what appears to be another intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon said yesterday. Some experts calculate that Washington, D.C., is now within Kim Jong Un’s reach. The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet today to discuss the launch.
In similar news, Hawaii will resume nuclear siren testing on Friday. They will be the first such tests since the end of the Cold War.
The Hawaiian Islands sit just 4,661 miles from North Korea. The state would have only twenty minutes before a missile launched by Kim Jong Un’s regime struck. Experts estimate that eighteen thousand Hawaiians would be killed during an initial nuclear missile attack.
And a South Korean official announced yesterday that North Korea may be able to pair a nuclear warhead with a long-range ballistic missile sometime next year. “They have been developing their nuclear capabilities faster than expected,” he warned.
In contrast to such ominous news, now consider a completely different subject.
A $100,000 shaving razor
The first Superman comic book ever printed will be auctioned next month. The expected price: $1.2 million.
Meanwhile, a Jewish skullcap is selling for $167,000. It is capped with a two-carat Russian diamond enclosed within a Star of David encrusted with more than 3,500 crystals.
And leather trash bags are now available, just in time for the holidays. A Spanish luxury brand is selling them in small ($258), medium ($346), and large ($422) sizes.
These are not the most extravagant gift items in the news. You can purchase a bejeweled dog collar for $3.2 million, sunglasses for $383,609, high heels for $218,407, or a shaving razor for a mere $100,000. Gold shoelaces can be yours for $19,000; cufflinks manufactured from the metal of AK-47 rifles are available for $32,659.
Such extravagance seems especially frivolous in light of the doomsday scenario posed by North Korea’s nuclear missile program. But the reality is that we are no more mortal today than we were yesterday. Our future is no more uncertain now than it was then.
If the North Korean threat can expose excessive materialism for the foolishness it is, we should have known the truth all along.
We don’t know what we need
Many Americans are more prosperous than ever before, a fact that explains leather trash bags and $100,000 shaving razors. Technological and medical innovations have improved our lives immeasurably.
However, prosperity is a deceitful idol.
It claims that we will have all we need if we have all we want. But sinful humans don’t know what we need. We don’t know that the answer to our deepest longing is not found in what we own but in Who owns us. C. S. Lewis was right: We are like “an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.”
There’s a better way.
How to be truly happy
Scripture promises, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!” (Psalm 128:1). “Blessed” translates the Hebrew asre, meaning to experience “a heightened state of happiness and joy, implying very favorable circumstance and enjoyment” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages).
To “fear” the Lord is to reverence him, to worship him, to serve him as the Master and King of our lives. It is to walk in his ways, submissive to his word.
Such obedience does not earn God’s blessing. To the contrary, it positions us to receive what our Father already wanted to give us. He wants to bless his children. He “longs to be gracious to you” (Isaiah 30:18 NIV).
Just as I delight to bless my children and grandchildren, so our Father delights to bless us.
Our text does not qualify what kinds of blessings our Father wants to give us. Some may be material, others emotional, relational, physical, or spiritual. But our Maker knows us better than we know ourselves and knows what is for our very best.
And he promises us that “everyone” who reveres him as Lord is blessed by him. There are no exceptions or qualifications. If you make God your Lord, you will experience his blessing. If you are not experiencing his blessing, it is because he is not your Lord today.
North Korea’s missile program is a stark reminder that “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Jesus is still Lord of the universe. The question is: When last did you make him Lord of your heart?
In the midst of the materialism that is the Christmas season, let’s remember that the path to true happiness lies not in a store but in a stable.
NOTE: I am grateful to report that Giving Tuesday was a truly amazing day of generosity. Friends like you gave a total of $143,441.09 (including $30,000 in matching grants). You are helping build a movement of culture-changing Christians who can impact our nation and our world. I am deeply honored to share this ministry with you.