“God will not get history–yours, mine, the world’s–wrong.”
I read this statement during my morning time with God out of Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller. The devotional has been a great addition to my mornings to aid in my Psalm intake and understanding. I will be honest. I struggle with the Psalms. Probably because they deal with emotion and all-that-jazz. However, I know in order to grow in both empathy and as a pastor, I must be able to have a growing EQ to go along with my growing IQ. Sometimes I hate self-discipline.
Psalms stretch me because the author takes straightforward statements, like the initial one, and wrap them into lyrics and imagery. In Psalm 94:16-23, the psalmist is longing for someone to fight on his behalf. Honestly, we long for someone to be on our side and approve of us, vindicate what we know, stand alongside us in compassion, or even join our team on mission. The psalmist desires a champion like David, who fought Goliath so the Israelites did not have to.
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Tozer is saying when you think about God, what you think about God will shape everything about you. It will shape how you interact with others in your relationships. It will shape how you interact with your finances. It will shape how you raise your kids. It will shape your calendar for the week. It will literally shape everything about your life.
If in your mind when you think about God, you think he is gracious and kind and loving and forgiving, then when you think about God, that thought about God then shapes your ability to be gracious and generous to others.
If I believe God is generous and gracious, then I am more likely to be gracious and generous to others. To be a recipient of grace, to be a recipient of generosity, usually shapes and forms us to be the same kind of people who we have been shaped and molded by the God we believe in.
If I believe God is missional, then I am more likely to consult God in what I schedule. To be someone who was sought after usually shapes us to be the same kind of people who are purposefully and strategically looking to see people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
On the flip-side of things, if you believe God is perpetually disappointed in you, that every time God sees you, he repulsively draws back, then you will seek to find approval and satisfaction elsewhere, which is ultimately folly. If you believe he is just so weary of you and your nonsense, then more than likely (far more likely than if you believe God is a God of grace and mercy), you’re going to have agitation and anxiety because you are never quite able to measure up. Then that bleeds into your relationship with others, how you handle your finances, and even your attitude toward your own kids.
To see God properly in his context in the Scriptures is to have really the whole of our lives ordered in a way that I would argue is beautiful and right and good. To see God wrongly means we will make a mess of things even with our best intentions. Some realize that thinking about God is complex, and not always accurate. What pops into your head when you think about God is a pretty big deal.
I like Matt Chandler’s comparison. Often, when we think of God we think of Tinker Bell or Bambi, not Braveheart. God is courageous became He entered into our brokenness and took on the form of man, knowing that the result would be pain and death, so that we may have life.
Here is where the Psalms come in; they provide visual imagery for how we should think and feel about God. Reflecting on Psalm 94, may we realize that the temporary battles do not always go the way we want them. However, we can live as servants because there is already a soldier who has fought and won the war.
Jesus is our champion, who took our punishment so we don’t have to.
May we live courageously, shaped by the one who laid down His life and always gets history right.