God is Personal !
Forty-five years ago, a phrase entered our collective frame of reference. Regardless of your age or economic or religious background, almost all of us can identify the source of the quote, “May the Force be with you.”
Star Wars isn’t just a Hollywood franchise, it’s a cultural icon. And the theology of Star Wars has wormed its way into the minds of many Christians. Yet after forty-five years of subtle and not-so-subtle influence, most of us still aren’t aware of the impact.
One Star Wars character described the Force this way: “It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” The fictional Force sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it? But if this is our view of God, then it’s time to rethink our view.
“Praise be to the Lord my Rock….He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge.” ~ Psalm 144:1-2 (NIV)
The first time I read these verses, I focused on the names and attributes of God: Lord, loving God, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield, refuge. Each one tells us something about God’s nature and His ways—important concepts to meditate upon, and like David, to use as a basis for praise and worship.
But the second time I studied these verses, my attention was drawn to a small word I had previously overlooked. My. My Rock. My loving God. My fortress. My stronghold. My deliverer. My shield. God is personal!
Before David ruled as the second king of ancient Israel, he was a shepherd and then a fugitive. He penned his Psalms from personal experiences and identified each name and attribute with a sense of ownership.
- My Rock. The ground shifted under David’s feet with frightening regularity. One minute a shepherd boy, the next anointed as king. One moment best friends with a prince, the next a fugitive from the prince’s father. Through it all, David knew the personal privilege of standing on the eternal Rock.
- My loving God. David understood what it meant to be unappreciated. When the prophet Samuel sought to meet Jesse’s sons, Jesse neglected to include David. Later, his brothers dismissed him when he appeared at their war camp.
- My fortress. My stronghold. Running from King Saul, David and his men hid in unlikely places to escape Saul’s wrath. But David knew a cave was as safe as a fortress while under God’s protection.
- My deliverer. David’s life was often in jeopardy. Yet God rescued him as a shepherd defending against wild animals, in combat with Goliath, and from Saul’s murderous attempts.
- My shield. David respected the value of a shield. Still, he refused Saul’s shield when he faced Goliath. David understood God was more effective than any earthly shield.
David knew about God as the Creator of the universe and the One who holds the universe together. But he wasn’t content with knowing God as an impersonal force. Instead, David used his experiences to upgrade his view of God as more than a force…God is personal!
How has God revealed Himself to you in a personal way through His Word?
Once when I was going through a very dark season in my life, I found a verse that filled me with hope of a better future..
I was absent-mindedly flipping through my Bible during Sunday school one morning and came to the book of Hosea. Okay, I can honestly say I was not real familiar with that book. But Hosea 2:14-15 jumped out at me like it was in living color!
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
The biblical use of “achor” means serious trouble—the kind of physical and emotional pain I was enduring at that time, with no hope of an answer in sight. At least not to my physical eyes. But in this verse, God opened my spiritual eyes to view my journey differently. Yes, I was definitely talking to God more at this lonely time in my life. Had He allured me into the wilderness that He might speak tenderly to me and reveal the depths of His intimate love for me? Yes. Yes, my spirit knew so immediately, and I was overwhelmed with His individual affection for me. My trouble became a door of hope, and I rejoiced because I knew God had my answer on the way. I would be set free from this pain as the Israelites were set free from bondage in Egypt.
Oh, yes, God is a personal God, and I give Him glory and praise every day of my life!
I wrote about this journey in my book Lord Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. This is a set of devotionals on the “Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain.” God knows . . . God cares!
We are never alone. Thanks, Ava, for this encouragement. God bless!
The neglect of David when Samuel was introduced to “all” the sons of Jesse tells us a lot about how badly David was treated. We see it again in how his older brothers treated him when he found them in the drawn-up battle formation. And so, David spent all of his love on God and His promises, learning to trust God entirely as he killed bears and lions and then a giant. We learn much from this example.
I am thankful God reveals Himself in the ordinary and the extraordinary moments of life.
As a Star Wars fan, I appreciate this! 🙂 You are SO RIGHT… God is far more than a Force. God is personal, and God loves us intimately and perfectly. Amen!
He is MY everything. You post also made me think about the fact that Jesus knows me by name. I take so much comfort from both of these ideas. Thanks for the encouragement today Ava.
It’s so amazing how personal our God is and that He is “my” rock, redeemer, fortress…my everything! Good word, Ava!