A few years ago, when traveling in the northeast for a lectureship in New Hampshire and a gospel meeting in Maryland, my family and I took a detour into a rural area of Pennsylvania outside of Scranton to hike through Ricketts Glenn and see the numerous waterfalls there. Hiking to waterfalls and photographing them has become my favorite hobby in recent years, and I had anticipated this opportunity since originally penciling it into the itinerary. However, earlier that year, a sign of middle age caught up to me and required that I get glasses. (I since have moved on to contact lenses.) Navigating the hike with trifocals proved far more harrowing than I would have imagined, but I ran into a bigger problem that I only realized after it was too late. I had failed to adjust the focus on my camera for wearing a prescription. Despite requiring only a minor correction, this meant that all of my photographs were slightly out of focus unless I relied on the SLR camera’s autofocus feature. Unfortunately, when I tried to check it, I had trouble seeing it properly through my lenses. While this proved a minor annoyance for my recreational memory, it illustrates a far more serious problem many people have in life. Their focus is completely out of focus, and they do not even realize it.
In Psalm 95, quoted in part by the writer of Hebrews, David enjoined everyone to make the LORD the focus of their lives. However, it is not enough to feel like you are focusing on God; your life must reflect that focus through the lens of scripture. As David points out, we should focus on the LORD in life because He is the source of true joy (Psa. 95:1-2), and this focus should come through in our worship and praise—not only in giving our hearts fully over to Him in that moment, but in worshiping in a manner that fully reflects our respect, reverence, and awe for His authority. When we focus on pleasing God and honoring Him, we have found where joy is truly sustainable and not fleeting. But more than that, we should place our focus on the LORD because of His inherent greatness. God created the universe and sustains it, and therefore He owns it. And that includes us (Psa. 95:3-5). Such grandeur and glory deserves all of our attention every minute of every day. Sadly, we often expect God to accept with gratitude the meager leftovers of our time and attention instead of the dedication and deliberation He is due by right of who He is. The LORD should be our focus in life because He alone is worthy of worship (Psa. 95:6-7). We need Him; He does not need us. And yet, do our lives reflect this understanding in the details of our submission to His will? Or do we complain about His precepts and try to insert our own desires willfully into the Scriptures to excuse our own desires? Our focus, our all in life, must be on the LORD, for He alone can deliver us. The Israelites who saw the ten plagues and left Egypt by crossing the Red Sea had every reason for joy but focused only on their hardships. As a result, they hardened their hearts toward God, and God did not allow them to enter the Promised Land (Psa. 95:8-11). Many today do the same. They expect God not only to have provided deliverance but also to remove any requirements of obedience in the process (Jas. 2:24; Acts 2:38; Heb. 5:8-9). Rather than focusing on the salvation He made possible, they somehow take it for granted and therefore actually neglect the pathway provided by God. Many people are going to be lost on Judgment Day (Matt. 7:13-14). Yet, it will not be because they lacked opportunity or even knowledge. It will be because they lost focus.