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?