May 11, 2015
Our God Is A Personal God
In the summer of 1985, thirty-year-old Julie Gold, an aspiring singer/songwriter, was working odd jobs in New York City when she received word from her parents in Pennsylvania that they were shipping the family piano to her as a birthday gift. The day after it arrived, Julie sat at the keyboard and in two hours wrote a song that became a popular hit in 1990, especially among the American troops serving in the Gulf War. The song won a Minute Man award from the US Army for inspiring troops during the war and eventually earned a Grammy for Song of the Year. The song was entitled, “From a Distance.” Here are some of the lyrics:
“From a distance the world looks blue and green
And the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the oceans meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.”
While Julie Gold’s song won a Grammy, the message it sends is not the message God would have us hear. Julie’s song was about a distant God – and impersonal God – a passive God who watches but does not act. How different from the God the psalmist wrote about in Psalm 95.
And even the mightiest mountains are his.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over, the sheep under His care.”
Julie’s song is about a God who watches from a distance. The Psalmist’s God is a God who acts – who engages with us personally, who wants to relate to us intimately, and who wants to be our Father. Personally, I prefer the God I find in the Psalms. How about you?
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