Tag Archives: Relationship

Singing with the King (83) – Identity

O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. (Psalm 116:16)

vanity-plateSo I’m driving along the other day, and a guy in a BMW pulls up alongside me, and I notice his license plate: iPhone1. Interesting license plate. Also, my wife and I have been watching The Voice lately, and there was an artist who shared that he was gay, but also a singer. Then there are Harley owners. Bikes, gear, leathers, everything—it’s all about the brand.

This license plate, and these disparate identities got me to thinking. What’s your identity? Is it in your sexual orientation? Your stock with Apple? The size of your V-Twin? The size of your house? Your socioeconomic status? False gods? For many of us men, our identity is wrapped up in our work. With whom or what do you identify? Where do you get your identity? What do you need to be freed from?

You can probably tell from the verse above, where this is going. We must get our identity from the LORD. In this case, the psalm writer tells us that he is the LORD’s servant. This psalm doesn’t tell us whether or not it was written by King David, but if it was, it’s kind of remarkable statement for a king to say that he’s a servant. And yet, time and time again, in the headings of many of the Psalms that David wrote, he did confess that he was the LORD’s servant.

Hmm. King… Servant. Tough call. David did not get hung up in what he did. Rather, he was committed to Whom he belonged. Now if being a servant seems a little tough, consider these roles, or relationships we have with the LORD.

“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:16-17)

Children, heirs, fellow-heirs. But remember it’s not about title, it’s the relationship. Because when you identify with Him, then you will be made like Him:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:29)

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter1:14-16)

God has called us to be conformed to His Son, and not with things in this world that will pass away. Shouldn’t you desire to have an identity that is eternal and everlasting; not something that will rust away and be gone—forever?

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Matthew 6:19-21)

The most amazing thing however, is that your relationship with The Most High God is not just that we are identified with Him; but rather, He is willing to be identified with us.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t get sidetracked or distracted. Find your freedom and identity in Christ alone—then live it!

 

Singing with the King (78) – An Awful Waste of Space

An Awful Waste of Space

night sky

 

From Contact (1997)
Young Ellie:  Dad, do you think there’s people on other planets?
Ted Arroway:  I don’t know, Sparks. But I guess I’d say if it is just us… seems like an awful waste of space.

Well, I got to admit, this is different for me. Starting with a quote from a movie rather than one from the Bible. But, it’s a great way to illustrate how small our thinking really is.

You see, the purpose of the universe is not some place for countless numbers of creatures to hang their hats and call home. No, the purpose of the universe is to declare the glory of God.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. (Psalm 19:1)

Current speculation on the size of the observable universe is some 91 billion light years. As far as what’s beyond, best guess.

But God…

He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He is Everlasting, without beginning or end. That pretty much makes Him beyond even the unseen stretches of the universe.

One might think those sort of attributes put Him beyond our finite experience and understanding. But that is not the case, for at least two reasons (there are countless more but I desire to keep this short).

We have been made in His image (Imago Dei) we have also been given the ability to know Him.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. (Genesis 1:26)

And Christ came to show us that what God looks like up close and personal; and that we can not only know Him, but have a relationship with Him.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.(John 10:27-30)

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.  Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. (John 14:9-11)

So, God is big, and God is close. The universe is there to show how great His glory is; and we are here to show how close His love is.

 

Singing with the King (48) – Lifted Up

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (Psalm 27:6)

Alone on mountain7We now see the result of being lifted up—in plain sight—on a rock. It’s not a matter of sight; rather it is a matter of power. He has been exalted, set on high, over his enemies. Yes they do indeed surround David, but it is of no consequence, because He is the one with power and authority, not they. And David knows full well where that power and authority come from.

So here’s David, being set upon a rock by the Most High, given power and authority over his enemies. And what does he do? Worship. This is huge.

There were at least two distractions here, but David fixes his eyes upon the LORD.

He could have been caught up in his position.

He could have been caught up in being surrounded.

But his enemies we not an issue, not a concern. Rather he worshiped the LORD.

So he turned his back upon the circumstances and turned his attention upon the LORD.

There were three things David did in worship:

Offer sacrifices.

This is the literal act of offering sacrifices. I suppose these sacrifices could have been either the Burnt Offering or the Peace Offering. The former for commemoration or celebration; the latter as a means of thanksgiving.

Shouts of joy.

These shouts could actually be a cry for help, or a battle cry, a trumpet blast. And it is quite likely the surrounding enemies could have confused these cries. But only at the outset, not at the outcome. David wasn’t signaling his troops, he was offering sacrifices. He wasn’t pointing his troops for attack, he was looking unto his God. There were no war cries, and if they listened carefully, even his enemies would have heard the joy.

Sing praises.

This could be translated as to make music. Did David pull out his harp? Did he compose a new song on the spot? Maybe this Psalm? Did some of his warriors join in a male chorus? Or was he alone, singing a solo song of worship to the LORD? I suspect it was simpler rather than more elaborate. Just the king worshiping the King of kings.

Imagine the impact this should have had on his observers.

They had lost their advantage, had lost their power.

They see they are of no concern for David.

They see worship of the One True God.

They see the relationship that David had with the LORD.

They see the power of God.

What do you think their response might be? How many would understand, and how many would walk away in frustration?

Now, here’s the application for you and me. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, what do you do? Are you distracted by the disaster? Are you preoccupied by the predicament? Are you overwhelmed by the by the onslaught? Do not be. Intentionally choose to worship. Follow David’s example: turn away from the tribulation, and turn to worship. The following verse reveals that we too have been given the ability to turn away and also shows to Whom we should turn:

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”. (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

Singing with the KIng (3) – Blessed is the Man

Blessed is the man… (Psalm 1:1)

Blessed is the Man

The Hebrew word can also mean happy. It could easily be followed by an exclamation point. There are essentially three ways to receive God’s blessing:

  • The first is that we are blessed because that is in His nature, and is what He has done for us because of our relationship in Him, in Christ.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the LORD. (Psalm 144:13)

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

  • The second is that we are blessed because we do what is right.

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. (Psalm 119:1-3)

“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. (Proverbs 8:32-35)

So, the first is our relationship, the second is our righteous actions that accurately reflect that relationship, and the third is our righteous inaction, resisting to do evil: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

The great privilege of being blessed by the LORD is blessing Him.