Loving God

In working my way through the Bible in one year, as part of my resolutions, I'm currently working through Ezekiel and Psalms. An interesting combination, and not one originally designed by the plan I am reading. To be honest, I got behind in reading Isaiah and Jeremiah, so I skipped ahead and read through the minor prophets, which consequently led me to Psalms. So now in an effort to catch up, I'm working through Ezekiel as well.

I've always been fascinated by Psalms, because there aren't many people in the Bible to be called a man after God's own heart, like David was. David loved God without restraint, even in the hard times, even when it might be embarrassing (his wife, Michal, hated his singing and dancing and praising God in the streets, but David didn't care! He had to let it out! 2 Samuel 6:16). But you know what else is interesting about David? He didn't have the New Testament, all he knew was the God of the Old Testament.

Yes, I know, He is the same God. But so often we take the qualities of Jesus and reflect on those as to why we love God. He is gentle, kind, loving, accepting of any kind of people, even if he rebuked their sinfulness. The God we see in the Old Testament is fierce, just, angry and full of wrath. How can we harmonize these two pictures?

Well, David did. He was able to see God's loving traits even through the sometimes terrifying picture we have in the Old Testament. And he loved God for every aspect of who He was, not just the parts that are easy.

Reading Ezekiel has put me face-to-face with this terrifying God. The visions that Ezekiel sees are enough to make anyone feel weak in the knees! His body is made of fire, for goodness sake! (Ezekiel 8:2)

But David says that God is our Fortress, He is our Refuge (Psalms 59:16). David is helping me understand how to love the terrifying God, as well as the merciful and loving God. The God that scares me so much is ON MY SIDE! I can run and hide behind his strength and power, and he will protect me, comfort me, and give me peace.

I feel very inadequate at trying to explain what I'm learning here. So I'll go to CS Lewis for a different analogy. In his Narnia series, Jesus is portrayed by a lion, about whom Mr. Beaver says, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe! But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

This God, who is all powerful and fearsome, is also good and loving, and on my side. Like David says, "In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalms 56:11) I should never fear.

So it must have been Providence that led me to read Ezekiel and Psalms at the same time, and not just my laziness at reading certain, more difficult, books! I'm learning to love God for all of who He is, and in doing so, I am able to trust Him more.