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Posted: January 19, 2009 2:37 p.m.

Parson to Person

"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow." (Psalm 144:3-4, NIV).

I fear that we mortals often think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We seem to persist with the mistaken notion that God somehow needs us; that He craves our attention. We live with the quite childish notion that God was lonely (and somehow incomplete) without us.

The reality is God doesn't, nor did he ever, need us. God is "self-sufficient." That means that he is the only being who needs nothing outside of himself. The idea that God somehow needs us is both prideful and wrong.

David's observation in this Psalm is astute theology! The king of Israel got it: God doesn't need us, why should he care? I like the way Eugene Peterson translates our text, "I wonder why you care, God- why do you bother with us at all? All we are is a puff of air; we're like shadows in a campfire. " (Psalm 144:3-4, The Message).

"God why do you care? (Pearrell loose translation). Good question. Think about it for a minute. The God, who by his word alone created all there is (both visible and invisible) and did so in six literal days (He could have done it in six seconds but he was setting a pattern for us), this God who created it all and controls it all is interested in you! Amazing.

As I write this particular column we are getting ready to inaugurate our 44th President of the United States. There is much hoopla being made over this historic event - more than any I can remember in my short life-time, and perhaps rightly so. We've come a long way in racial relations (but we have a lot further to go).

Let's suppose for a minute that somehow you managed to secure a ticket to the inaugural ball. While at the ball you are introduced to Mr. Obama (soon to be President Obama). I am sure he would shake your hand warmly. He would treat you very graciously (that's what politicians do) but I would venture to guess that as soon as his back was turned on you he would forget who you were. No slight intended toward you or Mr. Obama, that's the simple reality of it. The President of the United States has far more important things on his agenda than remembering your name or your particular concerns.

Let's expand that picture. On a clear night, look up at the starry sky. Consider the vastness of what you are seeing. Consider that what you are seeing with the naked eye is minuscule in comparison to the created order.

Now, consider the One who runs it all. The Bible reminds us that what we know of the Universe does not simply run by accident or natural law, but that he himself holds it all together (see Colossians 1:15-17). Consider for a moment how insignificant that seems to make us when we compare it to a man who merely runs one small country and to whom, if we met him would be considered merely as some insignificant constituent.

It is here where our comparison breaks down. While the President may not have the time of day for us, the God of the Universe is infinitely and intimately interested in us! David sees this and marvels! (I do too).

Not only this-that he is interested and takes note of us-but that he is so interested that he even takes time to keep count of the hairs on your head! He knows you better than you know yourself! And he who knows you so completely, still loves you and desires (by his choice not by his need) to have a personal relationship with you! Amazing!

God desires (by want not need) to have a relationship with you. What could be better than that?

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016 or at john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org

 

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