I love reading about those cases. I love reading how people who were raised with the pantheon of gods and idols go wide-eyed in the face of the all-powerful Yahweh. I love reading about how they fall to their knees before the prophets.
But so often their words are the same. "I know that your God is supreme," they'll say.
They recognize His omnipotence...but rarely do they claim Him as theirs. When they do, it's striking. When Ruth proclaims, "Your God shall be my God," that's huge. When a man returns to his own land determined to worship the Lord, that's really worth getting excited about. Because for a believer in many gods to grant that one is the most powerful...meh. It almost rates as a "so what?" But to serve Him--to count themselves as one of His children--that requires a complete shift in their thinking. God does not want to be served along with others. He wants to reign alone in our hearts. So when He is our God, my God, that means none other can claim the same.
|David Presents the Head of Goliath to King Saulby Rembrandt, circa 1627|
These pronouns really struck me when reading about King Saul and David. Never once does Saul call the Lord his God or his Lord. He refers to Him instead as David's God, or as the God of their fathers. Yet in the same passages, we see David crying out to Yahweh with those personal pronouns.
There are many nuances to David's story that I probably don't understand. But when I noticed this, it made a light go on in my head. That, right there, is a perfect illustration of where Saul failed and David succeeded. Whatever other successes or failures each had, the real issues of their reigns came down to serving the Lord.
To Saul, He remained always distant. He was someone else's Lord. To be feared but not understood. To be heard from the mouth of a prophet, but who Saul never approached himself.
Then there's David. To David, God was an ever-present Father. He was savior and friend. David called on Him directly, every hour, throwing himself at the feet of the Almighty as a child will fall into the lap of a parent. Knowing that though chastisement will come when he does wrong, it will be tempered, always with love.
David knew God. David loved God. He was his.
There's a passage in Jewel of Persia where Kasia notices this. Where Xerxes, king of all Persia, of all the world, it seems, recognizes the full power of her God...but still calls him hers. In that moment, she sees it as a step along the road. He at least sees Him. But when will he call the Lord his?
In today's world, we tend not to look at things in the way they did back then. People don't go around talking about my God versus your God very often. People don't serve (knowingly, that is) the Baals. But oh-so-often they worship their own creations. Their idea of God, or of some creator being they force into their own image. They serve their own desires, their own wants, their own lusts. Maybe they pay lip service to that God they see in church. Maybe they toss around the words God and Jesus.
But is He theirs?
Is He ours? I pray so. I pray that we don't look upon Him as distant, as better known and better loved and loving someone else. I pray I never look at another believer and think God loves him better...he knows God better. Because then I'll start to think of Lord as belonging more to that other person than to me.
I may be weaker. I may be of lesser faith. I may be a lot of things that need shored up and strengthened. But may I always know this--He is mine, and I am His. Our relationship is like no one else's.
And that's exactly as it should be.