A Personal God

When I peruse the religious landscape of America, it sometimes baffles me how people can claim to read the Bible, love the Bible, and follow the Bible while remaining completely oblivious to the true nature of the God of the Bible. Some see only a harsh, judging God who destroyed the peoples of Canaan, punished people for their rebellion, and allowed Israel to endure the destruction of their homeland and years in captivity. Others only see the loving God whose grace sent Jesus to the cross for the sins of mankind (John 3:16). The apostle Paul emphasized that both of these descriptions apply to God but should be viewed together in a balanced way (Rom. 11:22). However, more than this, some have allowed their view of Christianity to rely on ritual and habit rather than heart and commitment. Theologians then offer a doctrinal interpretation of God as if Yahweh can be parsed and defined like goodness or atonement. And while all these fall under the purview of God, appreciating how they unite together to provide guidance and hope both in this life and beyond this life is where we find the true meaning of all that God has done for us. 

Indeed, when we turn to Psalm 105 and consider both its placement within this inspired collection and its content, we should be humbled in both our understanding of the LORD and our appreciation for what He has done. Our God is not some impersonal deity who formed this world and then abandoned His creation. To the contrary, the LORD has supreme interest in every aspect of our lives, and He has acted accordingly to make a relationship with Him possible. Therefore, He not only established the laws of nature by His providence but then brought man into a covenant relationship with Him. Moreover, we can see this not only in the love displayed in Jesus in the New Testament but even in His care demonstrated in the Old. For this reason the psalmist could encourage the people to worship God, talk about all that He has done, give Him glory, rejoice, and seek Him diligently (Psa. 105:1-6). Everything that God has done is designed to draw us back to Him so that we can say, “He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth” (Psa. 105:7).

The LORD established His covenant of both the promised seed and the land of Canaan, renewed it in successive generations, and ultimately fulfilled it (Psa. 105:8-11). When Israel was but an insignificant family, wandering with other nomads throughout the land, He protected them from harm in keeping with His covenant (Psa. 105:12-15; Gen. 20). In His providence, He used the anger and sin of Joseph’s brothers ultimately to bring about their own provision, raising Joseph up from a slave and a prisoner to the viceroy of the Pharaoh (Psa. 105:16-22). The LORD then turned Jacob’s family into such a multitude that their Egyptian hosts grew to fear them (Psa. 105:23-25) and then enslave them, but God had greater plans for them. He sent Moses, and Aaron with him, to bring them out of bondage so He could fulfill His covenant, sending plagues upon the Egyptians as both proof and punishment for them and proof of His fidelity to His covenant(Psa. 105:26-36). He took a nation of slaves and gave them wealth, challenged a mighty nation and brought them to their knees, guided His people day and night, and gave them food and water as they had need (Psa. 105:37-41). He did all these things to keep the covenant He made with Abraham and with the design that the people would then keep the covenant with Him (Psa. 105:42-45).

God keeps promises to His people. God protects His people. God provides for His people. God prepares His people. God proves His faithfulness time and time again. God prevails over all worldly obstacles. God makes all good things possible. He provides personal care with personal attention out of very personal love for all of His creation (Rom. 5:8-9). Why? Because He wants us to respond to Him personally with loving obedience (John 14:15). The LORD is a personal God, and that is why we should take what He has done for us personally.

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