Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Blazing God Consciousness

My Psalms Monk and I have been journeying through Book II (Psalms 42-72) since February, following the psalmist on a journey from a life of barrenness to one that is defined by the King. In Psalms 60-62, the psalmist (who is also our shepherd) has been teaching about a growing awareness of God, a growing God-consciousness. And then I read this Richard Foster quote in The Contented Soul by Lisa McMinn: “We are catapulted into something infinitely larger and more real than our petty existence {when we live with God in view}. A blazing God-consciousness frees us from self-consciousness. It is freedom, it is joy, it is life.”

It seems that so many of my struggles in life are tied to a too-small view of God. I begin to believe that my struggles and battles are my own to figure out, my longings are my own to fulfill, and God is either an accessory to getting what I want or He is absent, uninvolved with my life.

Which brings us to Psalm 60 (you might want to open your Bible to follow along). The historical context is 2 Samuel 8:1-14, in which David is winning victory after victory (verse 14 says, “And the Lord gave David victory wherever he went). So one would ask, why does he complain about feeling rejected by God in this Psalm (verses 1-3)? Jim (my psalms monk) supposes that David is just weary from fighting battle after battle and so he is crying out to God.

So on the heels of that complain, verse 4 says that God has unfurled His banner against their bow. Some commentators take that to mean bow as in “the front of a ship.” Some take it to mean bow as in “bow and arrow.” Either way, God’s banner is in the thick of the battle, within bowshot of the enemy or right at the front, leading the way. A banner in battle is a sign of the King’s presence, a sign that this is His army and His battle.

What does that banner say? There are 2 places that God uses His Banner in the OT. Songs of Songs 2:4 – His banner over me is love. Exodus 17:8-16, especially verses 15 and 16, where God give victory in response to Moses’ prayer. His banner is victory.

Back to Psalm 60 – in verse 5 David prays (like Moses did in Ex 17) and God answers in verses 6-8, saying He will triumph (word used twice) over all the areas of the world. In short – God wins.

So in verse 9, David says he is going to go against a FORTIFIED city (a tough battle) because God is with him – without God he cannot do it. David has moved from a place of complaining about his battles to going and engaging the enemy! And in the end, David has victory. He wins because God wins.

Sooooooo….. what the heck does this have to do with today?

Often times our lives feel much like Psalms 42-44 (start of Book II) – weary, thirsty, sucking dust (Ps 42:2, Ps 44:25). We are tired from the fight, and still each day there is another battle.

This Psalm says that right in the front of the battle, in the thick of the fight, God unfurls His banner, the banner of the King. And when you see that banner, it tells you three things: God is, God loves, and God wins. He is present, He is loving, and in the end, He will triumph.

For you and I to remember this truth each day, in the midst of our battles, can be very reassuring. The King is with me – I am not alone. The King loves me – no matter what I do or don’t do. The King wins – victory is certain and is the Lord’s.

Look for the banner – it takes eyes of faith, but it’s there. A growing God-consciousness is freedom, it is joy, it is life.

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