Satisfied?

If you live in the United States, I’m sure you’ve heard of the musical Hamilton. It introduced itself to the American public via Broadway about three years ago. Never have I seen a musical so captivate the masses as Hamilton has.

I had my speculations. I’m not used to theater becoming pop culture and wondered if that made it good or if it was filled with the same stuff that usually makes up our shallow culture.

Surprisingly, it twasn’t so terrible. Actually, I really enjoyed it despite my loathe of rap music. Of course it has its flaws, historically (please please please please don’t accept everything you hear in a work of historical fiction, key word fiction), and content wise, but overall it’s very catchy. My thoughts on the musical’s historical accuracy are another blog post, if that interests you please comment below.

As I’ve listened to the musical more, I’ve been thinking about the lyrics, the characters, and the implications of the story.

(For those who don’t know, Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of America. The musical follows his rise from poor, orphan immigrant to a prominent figure in early America as well as his personal life.)

One thing that particularly has stood out to me is Hamilton’s pursuit of legacy. A pursuit in which he never feels satisfied.

Both Hamilton and those around him continually testify to this.

Hamilton: I have never been satisfied.

Angelica: He will never be satisfied. 

Hamilton: I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.

Burr: Why do you write like you’re running out of time? 

Ensemble: Are you running out of time? 

Eliza: We don’t need a legacy. 

Eliza: Stay alive, that would be enough.

Eliza: Look around, look around, isn’t this enough?

Eliza: Would that be enough?

Angelica: Be careful with that one love, he will do what it takes to survive.

Eliza: You and your words obsessed with your legacy.

Eliza: You are paranoid in every paragraph of how they will see you. 

You’ll notice that most of these lines come from Eliza, Hamilton’s faithful wife who only wants to be a part of the narrative, of his story.

He continually puts off his family in pursuit of his legacy, a pursuit in which he is never fully satisfied. A pursuit that leads him to make some awful decisions, decisions that destroy his relationship with his wife, and with one of his best friends.

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You see, a life solely focused on what others will think of you after death, is one that never satisfies. As Angelica so poignatly says, Alexander is an Icarus, he flew so close to the sun in his pursuit of legacy that it burned him and brought on an awful fall.

Now, as one who loves the Lord, I do want to leave behind a legacy that sings the name of my Savior. But there’s a difference in desiring a godly legacy and a legacy that sings of me, me, me, and only me.

Hamilton’s problem is this: he wanted to leave behind a legacy that sings his own name.

Any pursuit that glorifies ourselves will not satisfy.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:34-38 (emphasis added)

If you are not pursuing the Lord, then your soul is lost. And if you die without Him, then your soul will never be found. (I know that’s rather direct and might offend, but the gospel is not politically correct, it is offensive because our sin is offensive.)

I think the character of David in the Bible is a good foil to Alexander’s character. David had fame and power, he was the king of Israel, a strong, rich, and handsome man. David had his downfalls, but he ultimately sought after the Lord, and that is the difference between him and Alexander. The Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart”. (I believe that’s in 1 Samuel 13:14.)

Like Alexander, David had an affair.

David sees Bathsheba bathing and desires her. He has her husband sent to death at the front lines of battle and takes Bathsheba as his own.

Rather than publishing the letters and explicit details of his affair and horribly crushing his wife, as Alexander did (AHHHH POOOR ELLLLIIIIIIIZAAAAAA), David turns to the Lord for reconcilment. You see, in seeking to atone for any stains upon his legacy, Alexander completely destroys the relationship that should matter most to him.

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While Alexander does reconcile with his wife and finds solace in her forgiveness, he still strives for a legacy. He lets the insults of his friend stir him until he accepts the challenge of a duel. (Whoever thought that arranging a formal murder of someone to settle a disagreement was a good idea must have been a wee bit crazy. Just saying.) He allowed pride to overtake him and it took his life, literally. (And he quite literally threw away his shot. Exactly what he says he’s not going to do. See? Duels get us nowhere.)

(Sorry for the spoilers, but Hamilton dying in a duel with Burr is a fairly well-known fact in America, as they teach that in American History.)

Unlike Alexander, David turns to the Lord and earnestly repents and prays for mercy. In returning to the Lord, David restores the relationship that should matter most to us all.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Psalm 51:10-12

David understood that the Lord was worth more than what he had been pursuing. He gave up his sin and repented because he saw the goodness of the Lord, and the fulfillment and joy that His salvation brought him.

David and Alexander left behind legacies.

However, Alexander never found the fulfillment he so craved, he always wanted more more more. Angelica was right, he never was satisfied. The moment he found one good thing he went looking for the next.

David, didn’t find fulfillment in earthly pursuits either. They ravaged his soul. But he found his heart’s desire in the Lord. It was the Lord that satisfied his soul. Not only satisfied, but overwhelmed it with joy and meaning.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:7-11

Because he placed his trust in the Lord and set the Lord before him, David’s heart was glad and his whole being rejoiced.

I think that all of us have a tendency to want more.

We are never satisfied. Our stomachs twist and churn in want of satisfaction but we have no idea what exactly will satisfy us. We shove everything in the hole of darkness that threatens to swallow us whole. But the fact is everything earthly is too small to fill it.

Jesus is everything. He is the more that we crave after. He is salvation. He satisfies the hunger of our souls.

My eyes more open the closer You come
My heart unfolds like a flower in the sun
My fear grows cold in the light of Your love
My heart unfolds, I’m coming undone!…
My eyes more open the closer You come
My heart unfolds like a flower in the sun
My fear grows cold in the light of Your love
My heart unfolds, I’m coming undone!

Audrey Assad, When I See You

(Photos credit to Pinterest.)

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