The Eternal Danger of a Deleted "L"
Yesterday I experienced one of those “Aha!” moments that some in the secular realm might call a Freudian slip. I was filling out the author questionnaire for my book on the Psalms that Crossway will publish sometime next fall. The proposed title to the book is More Precious than Gold, but I accidentally typed, More Precious than God. Oops! It’s amazing how important the letter ‘l’ can be. It’s the difference between heaven and hell. After correcting the mistake, I began thinking about what I’d written.
Of course, the word of God is indeed more precious than gold precisely because it brings me to God and God to me. The word is indescribably precious because it tells me in countless ways why God is more precious still and to be prized above all.
In my book, Pleasures Evermore (chapter nine), I wrote this (drawing on the wording of John Piper):
“Scripture has many functions but none more vital than fueling and feeding our appetite for God. Sin tells me that pursuing purity will preclude experiencing life’s greatest adventures and most satisfying pleasures. But the Word of God reinforces my decision to obey by reminding me that in obedience is the fullness of joy and in honor there is the blessing of God and in righteousness there is a thrill that not even on its best day could the sweetest of sins begin to touch.”
I’m sure all Christians would gag at the suggestion that something is more precious to them than God. It’s easy to get mad at a “suggestion” and in doing so to appear holy. But the problem is that it often remains only a “suggestion” that fails to translate into life. In other words, we say that God is more precious to us than anything else and that he is the treasure of greatest value and we react angrily to anyone who would argue otherwise. But do I actually live in such a way that God is seen in that light?
Do my choices reflect that God is more precious than gold or gain or whatever other goodies I might covet? Do my words draw attention to his majesty in such a way that people are drawn to him? Does my use of time indicate that I, like the apostle Paul, make it “my aim” or ambition “to please him” (2 Cor. 5:9)? Do the television programs I watch bear witness to the preeminence of God in my life? Does my stewardship of the money and other material resources God has given me declare aloud that I prize him above what I’m able to purchase?
I thank God for my inadvertently omitting an ‘l’. It forced me to think once again of what I cherish most, and to repent for having subordinated God to the many tawdry and temporal pleasures of life. My prayer is that as I continue to study his word (how precious, indeed, it is) I will be led by it to the “river of God’s delights” (Ps. 37:8) and there discover, yet again, that not even gold (notwithstanding current, record breaking prices) is as precious as God!