Monday, February 4, 2013

Does God Really Know Who I Am and Where I Live?

By Colleen Podmore

Psalm 139

On Sunday the preacher posed a number of questions and then very clearly answered them. I was quite impacted by Q3, Does God know who I am and where I live? Psalm 139 quite emphatically says yes He does know me, because he has searched me.

This is both scary and freeing. We can hide our true selves, our true motivations from each other, but we can’t hide from God. It’s scary when I think about who I am, yet freeing because God knows all my weaknesses and failures and struggles, but He knows me and still loves me. Unconditional love!

Part of our journey with God, I’m sure is to get rid of all our preconceptions and misunderstandings of who God is. Sometimes we might imagine God as like a boss who expects high things from us, or we might feel we have to try and earn His love with our achievements.

If we feel condemned by God we should remember how God describes Himself, ‘...the compassionate, and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ (Exodus 34:6) and again in Matt 12:28, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart’ And again in John 3:17, ‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’

God is like the coach on the side-lines cheering us on, encouraging us to keep going. He is not shaking a stick at us

The Psalmist in 139 starts out by proclaiming that God has searched him and knows him – there is nothing about our lives that God doesn’t know. He knows all my weaknesses, all my sin, all my mistakes. He knows, yet still loves me. We may be able to fool each other – put on a pious face for Sunday morning, but God already knows who we are. We have this amazing assurance that He still loves us.

‘O LORD, you have searched me and You know me’

The Psalmist goes on to describe how close God is to us.

He poses the question, ‘Where can I go from your Spirit?’ or His Presence? Meaning, there is nowhere we can go to be outside God’s presence. We may feel lost and abandoned by Him, but this is our opportunity to examine our lives and work on our relationship with Him, spend time with Him, read His word, talk to Him in prayer and fellowship with other Christians, encouraging and exhorting each other. In fact, doing just what we do!

Feelings are good, but let’s examine them and find what is underneath the feeling.

There is nowhere we can go to flee from Him. Jonah tried and failed. What would have been worse than God reprimanding Jonah in the belly of the whale? Maybe it would have been much worse if God did nothing. He desires us, He woos us, He longs for our intimacy. If God seems distant, don’t panic, don’t feel condemned or a failure, continue being obedient as He has exhorted us to be, not giving up meeting together, but encouraging each other and all the more as we see the Day approaching! (Hebrews 10:24)

Phil 1:6, Paul says, ‘...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’

He opened the door of faith, He drew us to himself (John 6:44), He gave us new life, He keeps our souls (John 10:27-30), we just have to do our bit (Phil 2:12)! Amen? Amen!

Not only does God know us and there is nowhere we can hide from Him but He created us to know Him. We are spiritual beings, we are Souls. ‘I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ Psalm 139:14. ‘ the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27)

God also allows us to know His thoughts. We have His thoughts, the Word of God, ‘How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” Psalm 139:17

We can even talk to God, make our requests known to Him, ‘If only You would slay the wicked O lord.’ Psalm 139:19.

This is relationship with God, He knows us, He is close to us. He created us to know Him, to hear His words and to talk to Him. Finally, because of all of this we can open our hearts to Him, fully trust Him and invite Him once again ‘to search us and know our hearts, test us and know our thoughts’ (Psalm 139:23) and to invite God to lead us in the Way.

We have this relationship with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is fully God. He completes us, fulfils us and we use this relationship as a pattern for all other relationships. But what is the purpose?

As the people of God, we come together in unity; we put aside our own agendas and begin to build something special – the church of God. Jesus called us out of darkness and placed us in his family (John 1:12) and began to build His church (Matt16:18), which is like a city on a hill.

This song from Casting Crowns is quite poignant. It tells a story about the city on the hill, the church of God and about how easy people can become discouraged and give up and leave the church. Let’s listen to the song and listen to the words:

City on a Hill

Did you hear of the city on the hill, said one old man to the other
It once shined bright and it would be shining still, but they all started turning on each other
You see the poets thought the dancers were shallow, and the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the Elders saw the young ones as foolish, and the rich man never heard the poor man speak

And one by one they ran away, with their made up minds to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade in the city on the hill, the city on the hill
Each one thought that they knew better, but they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together they let their differences divide
And one by one they ran away with their made up minds to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade in the city on a hill, the city on a hill.
And the world is searching still

But it was the rhythm of the dancers that gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets that gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones, It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man that needed to be told

And one by one will we run away, with our made up minds to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
And the Fathers calling still, come home, to the city on the hill, come home

From CD: Casting Crowns “Come to the well” #2

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