Finally over that cold! But I gave myself last Monday off from sharing my verse of the week. I was not only sick, but traveled 700+ miles with my husband to a middle school ministry workers’ conference which, while wonderful/encouraging/refreshing/inspiring, completely sucked the life out of this introvert. It was an entire weekend of people-time! Once the event was over we drove a few short hours to see my family in Tennessee, which was a special trip because my grandma was there visiting my parents and sister for a month. I enjoyed resting in safe fellowship with my family in the familiar place where I spent the majority of my growing-up years. There was eating, chatting, laughing, and even some shopping. Sidewalks were strolled upon. Backroads were driven. I was “home,” and now I am back.
I figure if anyone is following along and missed the verse last Monday they could have easily used the track list from Seeds Family Worship to find “God is Unchanging” on the album The Character of God. That song goes along with Hebrews 13:8 which says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I pinned a cute image for it to my Verse of the Week pin board, FYI. It was in a Tennessee home studio some 15-odd years ago that I committed this verse to memory… for money. I sang on an album of memory verses– from the King James, no less– with a few other young people. From that session I can recall the verse from Hebrews along with Romans 12:1, although any other verses we recorded have since faded from memory. Maybe those two songs took us the longest? If you want to memorize a verse forever, singing it a few dozen times in a row with the words on a music stand in front of you and someone modeling how he wants it to sound after each take will do the trick!
This week’s verse is the final track of The Character of God. It’s called “We Trust” and can be found in Psalm 20:7.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
I love that this verse is the last song on the album for a couple of reasons. First, a reasonable response to learning about God’s character is to trust him with our hearts, our feelings, our futures, and all aspects of our lives. Over the past 10 weeks the Scriptural passages I have looked at from The Character of God have pointed to God as Creator, Holy, Love, Light, Spirit and Truth, Wise, Faithful, Everlasting, Jealous, and Unchanging. While not entirely all-encompassing, this is an awesome list that I think does a great job of highlighting the most important facets of God’s character that have been revealed to us in Scripture. If we believe that God is all of those things, it only makes sense to trust him above anything else.
The second reason I love the choice of this verse on the album is that the name of the Lord actually carries with it descriptions of his character and deeds. This is something I learned yesterday in church when, as usual, I thanked God that my pastor reads all (and I do mean ALL) of the books so I don’t have to. 😉 He pointed to the time when Moses very boldly asked something of God: to show his glory to Moses. I love that story (found in Exodus 33 and 34) and enjoyed studying about it last year at Bible Study Fellowship. But the thought of the Scriptural term “the name of the Lord” actually referring to his nature and deeds did not crystallize for me until yesterday. God said he would come to Moses in all his goodness and declare his name to him, although God would not appear in all his glory because he needed Moses to stick around and lead the people (“you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” Ex. 33:20). God descended in a cloud, shielded Moses, and caused the glory of his goodness to pass by as he declared his name: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Ex. 34:6-7)
God does not describe himself in one word or name, but by telling about his nature and his deeds (which prove his nature). Once these thoughts connected in my mind, I though of another verse: The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). I’ve heard that verse many times throughout my life and thought it was just another poetic thing to say the name of the Lord is strong rather than just saying God is strong. But the words mean more than that: the sum of all of God’s parts equals a trustworthy and strong refuge for all who seek the Lord.
I want to say one more thing about Psalm 20:7. As I was listening to the song and working on the chalk lettering I noticed that there is a bit of an “us vs. them” mentality to the words upon an initial, surface reading of the verse. While there is some truth to that because some trust in God and some do not, it would be inconsistent with the character of God for the Christian to allow a feeling of superiority to take root from reading this verse. Even the faith it requires to trust God is a gift from God himself, and the other effects of trusting his “name” are also gifts– undeserved ones. It is not the ability of the believer, but the subject of our belief that allows us to trust in the name of the Lord our God who is Creator, Holy, Love, Light, Spirit and Truth, Wise, Faithful, Everlasting, Jealous, Unchanging, and more. Those who have accepted the free gift of salvation by Christ’s sacrifice can experience communion with God as he reveals himself to us by his Spirit through his Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.