We are, indeed, a peculiar people. We take smug, devilish delight in creating stereotypes of all sorts of persons in positions of authority, typically casting them in gloom, if not some level of horror: the Boss, always demanding, but with a condescending smile; the school Principal, that personage whose existence finds its greatest pleasure in meting out the severest of punishments to the children in his/her charge; Mothers Superior of all convents, those mirthless souls with the ability, solely with a steely stare, to wither bones and resolve (sincere apologies to all those wronged by the printing of these horrid descriptions.)

Why do we do this? Why do we allow these longstanding ideas/myths to live on? Maybe it’s because they so conveniently fuel our dark need for a ‘them.’ You know, as in, they’re not us, they’re not like us, therefore we do not like them. Here, it is of no consequence to us what they are truly like, as long as we can fit them, uninterrupted, into the ‘them’ category. We are unaware of recreating Dickensian one-dimensional figures of these pre-judged individuals.

King David composed Psalms from his perspective of a lifetime of encounters with his God; as a shepherd, a musician in the royal court, a fugitive on the run from King Saul, and, finally, as Israel’s King. In Psalm 145 he wrote: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” I love that he makes the connection ‘slow to anger AND rich in love.’ For David, this is not a contradiction but an enhancement of God’s character. He is both. Unapologetically. In His imperial holiness, He doesn’t cease to be relational, even in the face of our abject unworthiness. In His heartache over the adulterous waywardness of His chosen people, He doesn’t cease to be the Mighty God of the Angel Armies, LORD Jehovah Most High.

Today, we need David’s enhancement of God’s character to resonate in our hearts. Our society needs to see a balanced view of the Christian’s privileged position, that of knowing intimate holiness and holy intimacy. We find our equilibrium through worship (recognizing his Worth-ship), reverence (holding in the highest esteem) of his person, and prayer (conversations with our friend). When these three are central to who we are, Jesus said the world would take notice. And what a noticing that would be!  PD

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