Monday, April 9, 2018

Back to Writing Tales from Eternity -- at last!

As I return to finishing my second book--Eyes to See, first draft due late July please Jesus--I begin by rereading Book 1 The Image of the Invisible

I invite anyone to join me in the reading. My kindle app (free from Amazon) tells me that it takes 11 hours and 18 minutes. 

If you've read Image before or have been putting off getting started, take this reading challenge with me. 

I would love your feedback as you read, as it inspires me to keep writing. 

I also will keep you posted as I come across nuggets myself.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ps 119.176

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. Ps 119.176 

I heard recently of someone who won’t sing Come Thou Fount because the hymn writer declares himself “prone to wander… prone to leave the God I love.”
True, this line resonates with me less and less as I grow in faith, but I also recognize how many other things vie for my heart.
Thank God he holds on to me and keeps me close to himself. I could never hold on against all the things that daily tug at my heart and my flesh. Yank and pummel, more like.

I didn’t always know this. I thought I had to muster the strength and faithfulness never to give in to the slightest temptation. Of course I failed.
Even though I trust in the power of God never to let me go, that doesn’t mean I never sin.
I can say with David that I have gone astray like a lost sheep.

Which brings up an interesting question. Just how does a sheep get lost?

Sheep are generally easygoing animals. They don’t tend to get an idea in their head and then execute it. (That would be goats btw.) They mostly stick together and go where everyone else goes. But it does sometimes happen that they get busy eating grass, one mouthful ripped from the ground leads to another, and then to another. Next thing you know, they look up from the grass in front of them, and they’re on their own. The flock is gone. They are lost.
It’s nobody’s fault really, but what are they to do? They couldn’t make a plan and carry it out if they had to. They only know how to follow the guy in front, but right now, there is no guy in front. With no idea where to turn or how to find their way home, they might just as well sit down and cry.

Not very different from us when we sin.
One little compromise, one small step toward distraction, leads to the next.
We lose track of the fellowship of believers in our pursuit of what we deem necessary to survive.
Next thing we know, we look up to find ourselves alone, far from those to whom we belong, not sure how we got there and frightened we may never get back.
A brave sheep might charge off in the direction he thinks leads back to the fold (repent, return, resolve), and may even get it right.
Foolish sheep, of which there are many, put their heads down and keep doing the same thing. They end up wandering further away, getting more and more lost.
Others still, the vast majority of us, sit down and cry.

Strange as it may seem, I think the latter is the best option. Seriously. More often than not, the shepherd finds the lost sheep because he hears it bleat. Stuck, lost, alone, afraid—every sheep will cry for its shepherd.

We have a Good Shepherd, the best Shepherd. He gave his life for his sheep.
He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. He calls us by name, we are his.
We know his voice. We follow him, because he goes before us to lead us.
He knows what he’s doing when it comes to tending his flock.

And when a sheep like you or me goes astray, we can count on him coming after us.
We make ourselves a lot easier to find when we bleat with David, “Seek your servant.”

This is the beautiful, simple message of the Gospel of Jesus.
The elect are God’s people, the sheep of his pasture.
We all like sheep have gone astray, and God has laid on our Shepherd the iniquity of us all.
In the fullness of time God sent his Son to seek and save the lost.
Everyone who calls on him will be saved.

Abraham is the father of our faith, sort of the first sheep ever. His natural offspring, the Israelites, belonged to God because of Abraham’s faith. They bore the brand—circumcision—to prove it.
The Good Shepherd has other sheep too, Abraham’s spiritual descendants, who trust in Jesus by grace through faith. These he also “brands,” with the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Strangely, despite his indwelling Presence, we might still wander from the flock, but never from him. He has his eye on every sheep. Each one matters to him. He’ll come looking for the one lost sheep every time.

The important thing about being a sheep is to recognize when you’re lost. This is most obvious before our first saving encounter with the Shepherd. Separated from him, we followed anything that looked like it would lead us to a place we could belong, anyone who welcomed us even if it was bad for us. We were meant to belong but we didn’t know where or to whom.

Ravaged by corruption and godless philosophies on so many levels, small wonder once we’re saved that we still need to learn to trust our Savior.
We’ve spent a lifetime not knowing how to live in the flock and follow a shepherd who is truly good.
So yes, sometimes we get it wrong.

But here’s where we can learn from David, who started life tending sheep, and interpreted life through a shepherd’s eyes. People act like sheep all the time, getting along, following a leader, not really taking responsibility for their own lives, nor could they. But the Law could teach them how to live before God, as if a shepherd had written instructions to his sheep on how to live like good sheep.

 I love that this shepherd king extolled the Good Sheep Manual in a poem of 176 verses!

Ps 119.175

Let my soul live, and it shall praise you; and let your judgments help me. Ps 119.175 

Ever stop to think how God’s judgments are supposed to help us?
The term conjures up wrath and death and destruction. Such force and violence are terrifying and do not inspire confidence to approach when we are in need. Already made fragile by desperation, we dare not expose ourselves to the divine outrage and displeasure.

And that’s not an exaggeration. While Scripture portrays God from creation to the new Jerusalem as compassionate and gracious and slow to anger, it also contains a significant number of stories of judgment, sometimes against his people and sometimes against their enemies.
The curtain on the biblical stage barely opened before he had to sentence Adam and Eve to death for disobedience.
Cain committed murder and had to be punished.
The whole world went sideways into corruption so that he sent the flood to cleanse it. He even limited the human life span to curtail wickedness.
The descendants of Noah did not scatter as the Lord commanded when they came out of the ark. Instead they built a tower. So he disbursed them by confusing their speech.
The cities of the plains were so reprehensible that God obliterated all trace of their existence to this day.
Pharaoh refused to release his Hebrew slaves, so God placed Egypt and its people under judgment. Time after time, the hammer of God fell until the nation was thoroughly broken.
He fiercely defended his people from attacks and schemes through the wilderness, but he also turned his judgments against grumblers and rebels.
The people of Canaan practiced detestable idolatry, so the Lord gave their kings into the hand of Joshua, and turned their land over to the Israelites.
His people did not drive out the inhabitants and worshiped their idols instead. This set up a cycle of idolatry-oppression-deliverance. When they turned to him, God raised up a ruler to execute judgment and deliver them—until they fell into another round of idolatry.
Forty years of Philistine oppression made them ask for a king. God sent thunder and rain on their wheat harvest.

God turned his eye of judgment on the kings. As they went, so went the people, and the people paid the price for their kings’ sins.
Saul slaughtered the Gibeonites and God sent a famine on the land.
David counted the fighting men and God sent a three-day plague as far as Jerusalem.
Solomon inaugurated the worship of foreign deities and God tore ten tribes away from him.
Jeroboam established pseudo-Yahweh worship and God pronounced a curse on the false altars.
Ahab introduced Baal worship and God sent three and half years of drought.
Manasseh persecuted the prophets of Yahweh and God brought Babylon to Jerusalem’s gates.
The leaders killed the prophets and ignored every warning message. Therefore the people were led into captivity in the most inglorious act of judgment in their history. They became a byword and a shaking of the head among the peoples.

So I ask again, how are God’s judgments to be a help to us?

The answer lies in part in the word for help. This word means to surround and protect. This is a specific kind of aid needed in times of danger or weakness. It’s like the males in a herd of water buffaloes who surround the baby and protect it from the lions stalking. Or the front line defending the quarterback. Or drones defending the hive.

God also used this word to describe the woman he made to keep Adam company. She is called his “help,” a parallel, a counterpart. Adam recognized immediately that she was made of the same as him—bone for bone, flesh for flesh. Her role was not to do his chores for him but to accompany him in doing them.

Scripture uses this word for the kind of help God gives to his people.
How?
God has promised that those who remain faithful will be called holy—consecrated, set apart. To make us holy, he must wash away the filth of our sin and purge the guilt of our transgression. He does this, days Isaiah, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning. Only then can he create a canopy over us to shade us from the noonday heat, a place of refuge, a shelter from every storm.

God carried out his judgment against the sin of humanity when Christ died on the cross. This is the spirit of judgment that washed away our filth. He sent his Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a deposit of fire, a spirit of burning that daily purges all that continues to fall short of his glory,
God will no longer cover our sin with the blood of animals, now that the blood of Jesus is available to remove it. Whenever we find ourselves under the discipline of God, experiencing his reproof for our willful disobedience, we must consider it a mercy. For God is not punishing us as we deserve for our sin. 

Such treatment may seem severe but it does not compare with the final judgment that will take place at the end of the age. When Christ comes back, he will begin with thrones and books, and end with a lake of fire. Once and for all he will wash the earth so clean it will be made new. He will purge with fire all who do not repent.

Because Hell is such an awful future, Jesus warned his generation (and ours) of how certain and terrible it is.
All of us are without excuse and deserve an eternity of punishment for our offense against our infinitely worthy and supremely holy Creator.
Such agony and unending despair that accompany damnation are no light matter to the One who gave his life to intercept it .
Devouring worms don’t die. Scorching fire isn’t quenched. Weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness.
If you knew of a way to escape such a horrific fate, wouldn’t you take it? Wouldn’t you tell others how to as well?

God has given us eternal life, and that life is in his Son. If we have the Son, says John, we have life. Without the Son, we have no life.
All whose souls live through Christ cannot help but praise him.

Especially when we realize the alternative.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ps 119.174

I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Ps 119.174 

What is your delight?
Good friends, majestic scenery, parties, art, family, architecture, books, fine food, the perfect lay-up, a hole-in-one, the resolving note of a symphony, island breezes, good scotch whiskey.
Probably the list is as varied as we are.
Still, I doubt any of us would claim Leviticus or Deuteronomy.

David loved the Word of God. It was his treasure and the joy of his life. There weren’t many copies in those days, but he received his own from Samuel—probably no more than the first five or six books of the Old Testament—after the old prophet anointed him at his father’s house in Bethlehem.
His love for the Law only increased as he matured into manhood, kingship, and old age, a journey he personalized into poems and song. These too have come down to us as sacred Scripture.

Before Samuel even anointed David, God knew the plans he’d ordained to shape the boy into a man after his own heart. That’s why David became such a model of worship and obedience to God’s purpose, especially for those God engages in new or unique ways.
Not everyone is destined for the kind of relationship with God that leads to history-shaping involvement in world affairs.
But we’re all called to abandon ourselves wholly into his hands and to walk faithfully no matter where he leads. It helps when we interpret life circumstances as God preparing us for our place in kingdom work.

David knew from a young age that he would one day serve God as king of Israel. So when Samuel gave him God’s Law, he learned it. A king, after all, must know right from wrong if he’s going to be a good judge.
He’d also need to defend the people. Better start practicing his fighting skills, even if he was too young to go to war with his brothers. I imagine he was like any youngster, making up games about the exploits of Israel’s great warriors—Joshua, Gideon, Samson.

Come to the fields around Bethlehem where a little shepherd boy tends his father’s flock.
Oh, but these sheep are the people of Israel, and the shepherd boy is their king.
He leads them to the water and they drink. He takes them to the pasture and commands them to lie down.
Rambo wants to wander? Rambo, lie down! No?
Out comes the crook, a sharp crack between the horns, and down goes Rambo. That’s better. 
Well, Beulah, look at you! And how’s your newborn lamb? Let’s call her Hephzibah. You don’t have to be scolded to lie down, do you, Beulah? Your baby suckles all the time!
And how are you, Micah? That leg’s healing fine. Getting around a lot easier these days, aren’t you?
Reuben! Come here! Let me check that scab on your ear.

Wait! A movement on the edge of the meadow that doesn’t belong. Instantly on the alert—an enemy spy!
Faster than a thought, the sling is in hand, a smooth stone missile launched at the intruder, knocking it to the ground.

In an instant the pasture becomes a battlefield. Predators who stalk the sheep are national enemies.
That lion? King of the Philistine invaders.
That bear? King of hated Midian.
Future king of Israel, on guard! Keep a sharp eye.
Practice with your sling. You don’t know when they’ll come or from where, so be ready.
Every time they attack, counter. And win the victory!

Follow now to the Valley of Elah. Real battlefield, real armies, real enemies. And a real live Philistine champion taunting the armies of the living God. How dare he?!
Out comes the sling and down goes the giant. You keep the sword and armor, I’ll take the head. Run to Jerusalem. Show them what to expect when it’s my capitol city!

That’s how it began, and that’s how it went for David. He never wavered from belief in his call.
Devoted to the God of Israel, battlefield after battlefield lay littered with the corpses of enemy armies. Just as Moses was chosen by God to bring his people out of slavery, David was chosen to rid the nation of its enemies. 
He grew up in the pastures and fought in the wars but in every place he was a king who shared God’s heart—wise and faithful, upright and kind.

From David’s own writings we see a man with a well-developed emotional life, sometimes sensitive, sometimes ruthless, always devoted. Sometimes despairing, sometimes elated, always honest.
His greatest desire was to find favor with God in order to know him and honor him. He didn’t always succeed, but he always hoped in the character of Yahweh revealed in the Law, an ancient portrait that has not faded.
How many of David’s psalms are only him choosing to rejoice, extolling the goodness of God and his ways?

No wonder he exhorted others to rejoice in the name of the Lord. And David’s not alone in this charge.
Scripture tells us many times to rejoice, and it doesn’t say only when things are going well.
Why? Because joy should be the emblem of our love for God. He is the most glorious Person we could know and he calls us his children and his friends.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, but like all crops, it must be cultivated.
There’s a discipline of joy that we must develop if our faith is to be characterized by “joy unspeakable.”
It’s called rejoicing, which is nothing more than repeatedly choosing to take pleasure in the things that make us glad.
Why ever wouldn’t we? 

Why not start practicing today?

Ps 119.173

Let your hand become my help, for I have chosen your precepts. Ps 119.173 

The right hand of God is a place of power. Jesus sits there by virtue of the name he bears, the name exalted above every name. He earned his position when he emptied himself of equality with God and made himself God’s human servant. He obeyed God’s will, sacrificed himself, and died as the perfect Lamb of God.

This is profound.
Jesus didn’t just win the prize because he did a better job of being human than the rest of us.
He did that, yes, and so he remains our instruction (Word made flesh) for the kind of righteous, holy, obedient life God requires.
But that’s not the main reason why the precious Second Person of the Trinity became human. He did it to bear the infinite offense of “Otherness.” This he did, and paid for it with his infinite life.
Humanity can now approach God with confidence because Jesus got there ahead of us. His being at God’s right hand is a perpetual intercession on our behalf, pleading mercy and help for us because he was where we are. 

To understand the magnitude of what God accomplished in Christ, we must think of what it means to be God’s Son.
He’s the One appointed by God as heir of all things.
Through him God made the worlds.
The Son was and is the brightness of God’s glory.
He is the expression—the image—of God’s person.
He upholds every thing by the word of his power.
This holy Son took it upon himself to purge the offense of humanity both for being other than God (iniquity) and for doing rebellion against God (transgression).

Thus he became the Mediator of a new covenant, a High Priest over the house of God.
Only, unlike earthly priests whose mediating work was never done, Jesus sat down, finished, at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
There Jesus stays, for the Lord said to him in David’s hearing, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."

This is important. Sometimes I think we have a very wrong idea of what God is doing at this point in the redemption story.
Jesus has gone back to heaven and his Holy Spirit has taken his place here. Frankly, the Spirit can do a better job than Jesus (Jesus said so himself) because he can dwell in and empower all of us at once. This makes him far more efficient in accomplishing the work of God than Jesus could ever have been had he remained on earth.

We’ve heard that Jesus is the head of his church but for all intents and purposes, that seems nominal. After all, the Spirit has taken over the management, growth and development of the Body of Christ on a global scale. So what is Jesus actually doing? Maybe he’s cooling his heels on the throne, sometimes twiddling his thumbs, sometimes leaning out to listen to some prayers, mostly just biding his time and keeping still until the Father lets him out to play. At which point, he’ll get on his white horse and come put a stop to this world as we know it.

Well, not exactly.

Many Old Testament verses spell out what goes on at the “right hand of God.” Even this short list creates an amazing picture of what it means, and if you can get your mind around it, that phrase is a euphemism for Christ.
Your right hand has become glorious in power. Your right hand has dashed the enemy in pieces.
You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed [the Egyptian army].
At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
You show your marvelous lovingkindness by your right hand.
Your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great.
Your hand will find all your enemies. Your right hand will find those who hate you.
They did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them. But it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them.
In your majesty, ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness. Your right hand shall teach awesome things.
According to your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness.
That your beloved may be delivered, save with your right hand.
Your right hand upholds me.
The vineyard which your right hand has planted, and the branch that you made strong for yourself… Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, upon the son of man whom you made strong for yourself.
You have a mighty arm. Strong is your hand, and high is your right hand.
Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by the arm of his strength.

Likewise many New Testament passages show us this same “right hand of God” now clothed in flesh, dripping love.
Jesus took a child and stood him in the midst of the disciples.
He touched a leper.
He put spittle and mud on the eyes of a blind man.
He laid his hand on the coffin of a widow’s dead son.
He took Jairus’s daughter by the hand and told her to get up.
He restored the severed ear of Malchus, servant of the high priest.
He worked in a carpenter shop and well knew the feel of wood rough and smooth, and the throb of a hammer driving nails.
He washed the feet of his betrayer.
He broke bread, and shared the Passover cup with his friends.

But the most tender thing those hands ever did was let Roman spikes pierce them and hold him to the cross.
Hands that separated the waters above from the waters below,
crafted the mountains and continents after drawing the land out of the sea,
hung the stars and planets in order throughout the cosmos.
Hands that shaped nations and moved armies, raised up and brought down empires.
Hands that were watched by myriad angels for the merest flicker summoning them to his defense.
Hands that—seemingly helpless but infinitely powerful—now wait with the Majesty of Heaven.
Hands that will welcome home every saint and distribute our rewards.

Hands that, even now, will become our help if we ask.
What’s stopping you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ps 119.172

My tongue shall speak of your word, for all your commandments are righteousness. Ps 119.172

This is certainly true of me. Ask anyone who knows me. I bring conversations around to principles and perspectives I find in Scripture. A reputation for knowing God’s word is a good thing but I have something better. I am known by the One whose Word I know.

Like Peter, one of Jesus’s closest friends. After three years in his company, enduring the tragedy of the crucifixion and the beauty of restored affection with the risen Savior, Peter has one thing to say about knowing and being known by God. It’s the secret to everything. The divine power of God, his Holy Spirit whose presence transformed Peter from a simple fisherman into an able fisher-of-men, is all we need for life and godliness, but only to the extent that we know him.

For his own glory and out of his own good heart, God made spectacular promises that allow us to share in his nature. 
Can we really participate in the divine nature, though?
Peter means more than hosting a spiritual being. He was there when Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us … just as we are one:  I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one … That the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Peter means serious integration of one being with another. But we know that the Lord has no evil in him. How will his holiness unite with our sinful lusts?
And yet Peter insists that God’s nature becoming ours is the way to escape the depravity that comes with being part of the world. This is called sanctification—more like him, less like me.

Jesus prayed about that, too. He asked his Father to sanctify his followers by the truth. Which is what? None other than the Father’s word. 

Here’s where an understanding of what we mean by “the word of God” is helpful.
In its purest form, it is a comprehensive revelation of God’s being, a representation of himself as far as he wills to be known.
At the simplest level, it is God’s spoken word to others, as when “God said…”
Such utterances are recorded for us in the Bible, another thing we call the Word of God.
The Bible includes God’s activity among his people and their responses to him, ways he made himself known in creation and redemptive history, the beginnings of Christianity in the gospel and apostolic records, and writings of its earliest witnesses. 

Before the Bible came to be as such, however, God revealed himself in Christ.
Jesus too is called the Word of God. He was with God in the beginning, and was also God. This Word became flesh and dwelled among people. He’s described as “the image of the invisible God.” and the “exact representation of [God’s] being.”

But then there’s Peter. He walked with Jesus. He knew this Word of God in living color. We can afford to believe him when he equates the promises of God with the Spirit of God. In fact, he probably got that from Jesus, too. The words I speak, Jesus told his disciples, are Spirit and life.  

For me, that puts learning the Word of God on a whole new level. It means studying Scripture, reading it, memorizing it, meditating on it. When I sit at home and when I walk along the road, when I lie down and when I get up. It means hiding it in my heart and having it on my tongue. But it also means getting to know the Son of God. Spending time in his presence. Learning to recognize his voice. Hearing the sound of his heart and perceiving the thoughts on his mind. Sitting at his feet and watching his hand work his will. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said the Father seeks those who will worship in spirit and in truth.

Paul tells us that in Christ God grants all his promises to his people. This is important because most of God’s promises are conditional in some way, but if we are in Christ, those conditions are met. As God’s children we are heirs with Christ of every spiritual blessing, something God made doubly sure of by two unchangeable things—his oath and his promise.

To believe Jesus that God’s Word is “truth” means we can trust what he says. None of it can ever be overturned or proved false. God is faithful, which simply means he will keep his word. If he said he’ll do a thing, we can count with certainty on him doing it. Even when we don’t see it yet, we know he’ll come through. This calls for us to be faithful in turn. Which is simply to live as if what God says is the way things are.
Does he promise never to leave us? Then faith acts like he is with us whether we feel it or not.
Does he promise to provide? Then faith asks for what we need.
Does he promise to forgive? Then faith confesses sin.
Does he promise peace beyond understanding? Then faith refuses to be anxious.
Does he promise unfailing love? Then faith pours out tears.
Does he promise power to witness? Then faith opens its mouth.
You get the idea.

Ps 119.171

My lips shall utter praise, for you teach me your statutes. Ps 119.171 

Praise between lovers is a beautiful thing.
It is sweet to offer because the one praised feels loved and appreciated.
It is sweet to hear because the one who praises sees and knows us.

How much more true is that of God, the originator of personhood and the supremely worthy Person?
All of heaven, all creation, reverberates with his praises. Every sound utters his greatness. Every sight displays his perfection. Nothing separates us from God’s love because his being saturates all things—death and life, angels, principalities and powers, things present and things to come, height and depth, every created thing. All of it ultimately praises his glory.

But praise is more than appreciating someone for their character or acts. Praise is an essential part of relationship. It’s hard enough to bring two selves together. Praise has the effect of drawing us to each other.

Self is not a bad thing, you know, although it gets a bad rep among Christians, no doubt because Jesus told us to deny it. Whatever.  Self makes us unique, sets us apart as a one-and-only. While there are billions of people who have lived and are living, and probably billions more to come, there will only ever be one of us. The implication is that our self needs validation for its existence, which it only finds in relationship to other selves. Only God—the great I Am—can claim to exist independent of other beings. The rest of us define our selves in a context we did not author and cannot sustain.

The self requires—and constructs—identity. By nature, personhood seeks recognition, which is why we all long to be known and accepted as we really are. This deep longing is not satisfied by attempts to conform to social standards in order to fit in. Sure, posing may gain me entrance but am I really welcome? Do I truly belong?

Sadly, this is all some of us achieve. The artificial veneer of wellbeing often masks a self riddled with empty desire to be truly known.
Which, frankly, is as it should be.
The need to belong is instinctive to the psyche and, paired with living in exile from Eden, is the root of most self-stuff. Self-esteem, self-centeredness, self-determination.
It’s easy to mistake movements of the self for pride, when they’re simply the God image in us behaving according to its nature.

For example, and speaking of praise, we are made for glory. That feature is expressed in a variety of ways.
It can make us crave attention or act with dignity, compete to win or play the perfectionist in our drive for excellence.
Such movements in and of themselves are not bad.
They only cross the line into sin when we aim at something less than the glory of God.
How many sins of the self could we avoid if we simply acknowledged its needs, instead of driving them underground as wrong or to be feared?

Thanks to all that meditating I guess, David recognized the relationship between the qualities of self and the design of God. He understood that God created the self of humans as a complement to his own being. He wrote a majestic poem that glorifies God for the human self and shows its value to God.
The Lord knew all David’s thoughts and deeds and words—his self.
He could go nowhere that God did not already inhabit, neither earthly places near and far, nor spiritual places light and dark.
Such utter exposure of self to the presence of God originated, David said, from being formed physically according to natural processes and spiritually under the all-knowing eye of the Creator. This was as true for the days he would live as it was for his body and soul.

Bottom line, David existed within and for the purposes of God. His life was not a cosmic accident or an evolutionary eventuality. His self had meaning, context. He belonged—to God. He defined his being in terms of his self’s response to God, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” 

So why did David proclaim his love for God in terms of hating God’s enemies? 
Well, think about it. How close he must have felt to God after meditating on how God made him. Do you wonder that such intimacy conformed his self to God’s image in him? He quite literally identified with God’s self, hating the wicked, men of blood, malicious blasphemers, who took God’s name in vain and rose up against him. He would have nothing to do with them. Instead, he longed for even more closeness, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

He’s not much different in this than other Bible characters who found their identity in the Lord.
Moses loved God’s nearness enough to ask him to teach more ways to find his favor.
Job asked to be weighed on honest scales that God might know his integrity.
Jeremiah called God the one who tests the righteous and sees the mind and heart.
Zechariah thought of God as one who refines his people as silver is refined, and tests them as gold is tested.

I have to admit, I haven’t always been keen on God looking into my inmost being.
Ashamed, I’d rather that yuck not be exposed to his holy eyes.
It turns out my self is wrong, which I discovered only because of how desperately I need to be loved.

The One who made me has gently led my troubled heart along waters stilled by his nearness.
He has caused my restless soul to lie down in the safety of his love.
While my anxious mind rested in his presence, his kindness and mercy treated my wounds and healed my brokenness.
And so my fearful self learned that while his power is fearsome, his heart is good.
I no longer fear his holiness but welcome its fire purging all that hinders my ability to adore him forever.

In the quietness of his grace, God has won my heart to his. He has made me like himself.
I love like he loves. I hurt like he hurts. I help like he helps. I see and hear and understand with his eyes and ears and heart.
Like David, I desire one thing only, and my self knows it. To spend every day where he is, gazing on his beauty, meditating on it and proclaiming it to others.
My joy is to tell of his ways, to speak of who he is and how he does, that those who hear might know him as I do, or better.

This is praise for my Lover. The sweetness of it is ever on my lips because he is ever glorious.