Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
*Today's post is a continuation of a small series of posts that I'm doing based on some insights into God's character that I received at Summit through the story of David and Goliath.*
This post took forever. Apologies. I've been a bit preoccupied, with my dad's father passing away, fundraising, and a million other things. But here it is, the conclusion of this mini-series.
Before revealing the fifth and sixth insights into God's character that I drew out of the story of David and Goliath, let's review what's come before. I've previously discussed the four following aspects of God:
1. YHWH is living. He is set apart from every other god, concrete or abstract, that we could worship in that He is ALIVE.
2. YHWH knows who we really are. If God is for you, then it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done. God already knows and chooses to love you and use you anyways.
3. YHWH will prepare us. God has us undergo trials today in order to strengthen us for the trials of tomorrow.
4. YHWH won't ask us to be who we are not (and who He has not created us to be). A corollary of the second point, God will not ask us to function contrary to our design or purpose. We are as we are for a reason-because it is His will.
All of these points lead us to the fifth and sixth insights:
5. YHWH is the LORD Almighty, the LORD of hosts-YHWH Sabaoth
6. YHWH is desirous of praise
"Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands...that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD's and He will give you into our hands.' " ~1 Samuel 17:45-47
These last two points come from the same extended portion of Scripture. Perhaps some of David's most famous words (excluding some of the more famous Psalms), verses 45-47 are David's speech to Goliath before they close for combat. Though it is a very familiar passage to me, when I read through this section this last time my eyes and my heart were reopened to the raw power and beauty of the passage and I wept with joy.
David refers to YHWH in a manner that might carry little to no weight with those of us reading now, thousands of years later. In the NIV the translation is "the LORD Almighty" and in the NASB it is "The LORD of hosts." Anytime you see those specific phrases in those translations, it's this specific name for God. But really, do either of those give you a more specific insight into God's character the same way that "Lion of Judah," "The Great Physician," or "Jehovah Jireh"? They didn't for me. But I decided to find out exactly why there was a difference. What is this different name for God? YHWH Sabaoth.
YHWH Sabaoth is a name that reveals God as a God who is sovereign over all powers in heaven and earth, especially the armies of Israel. Wow. Think about that for a second. God is sovereign over ALL powers, not only those in heaven but here on earth as well. Jerry Bridges says in Trusting God that the essence of God's sovereignty is "His absolute independence to do as He pleases and His absolute control over the actions of all His creatures. No creature, person, or empire can either thwart His will or act outside the bounds of His will" (p. 34). God. is. in. control. David can have COMPLETE confidence in God because there is nothing that can occur outside of His sovereign will, and David serves Him and trusts Him. There is nothing to fear: YHWH Sabaoth was on David's side, is on mine, and has not changed!
But how can David (and how can WE) so willingly trust a Being with such complete and absolute power? What is our guarantee that we can trust Someone who is so high above us and different from us? Why wouldn't God just use His power to hurt or harm us instead of protect us or work for our ultimate good?
The answer is that "God does as He pleases, and that which pleases Him is always for His glory and our good* " (Trusting God, p. 47). David explains that the reason God will give him the victory over Goliath has nothing to do with David himself, but rather so that the whole earth will know there is a God in Israel and that everyone present will better know how God delivers His people! God's glory is the ultimate goal of David's encounter with Goliath and with every event to happen before and after that.
How does your picture of God compare with David's? There is no way that David fully understood God at the time of this story-he was human, and a young one at that. But I can't help but feel that there are huge lessons and insights to grab from the way his understanding of YHWH informed his actions. Spend some time examining the story for yourself and asking God to reveal more and more of Himself to you-you won't regret it!
*The phrase "our good" can never be separated from and only understood in the context of the phrase "God's glory." This subject merits it's own discussion, but suffice to say that a selfish and me-centered understanding of "our good" is both limited in understanding and un-Biblical.