Looking down on us? (Psalms 12-14)

November 12, 2010

The way the Psalms talk about God sometimes its no wonder we’re been picturing him as a big dude in the sky for so long.

Psalms 13 asks “how long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” as if God can remove His presence, can turn away, go and hang out in heaven for a while. Psalm 14 says “the Lord looks down from heaven on humankind”. Really?

These Psalms were written when people did think heaven was directly above them, somewhere past the sky. I often still look up when I sing in worship and when those of us who do that kind of thing raise our arms are pointing them heavenward? Hmm…

I, like many (most?) people, prefer to think of God not looking down on us but here with us. Looking down, up, across, through, into us. He’s not someOne who can look down, removed because He’s involved. Even that language is difficult; He’s not a He. He’s beyond gender, beyond name, but still accessibly present. In other ways the Psalms communicate this beautifully, but reading Psalms 12-14 I was struck that while God is very involved, he doesn’t seem always present. He must be appealed to, invited.

I have heard some of my friends use the phrase “God really turned up”. What? Did he take the number 72 bus from heaven, terminating as wherever you are? No, it’s us that turn up, us that leave. God is here. Where ever here is, so is God.

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