Reading: Psalm 34:15-18
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the broken-hearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit (NIV).*
In yesterday’s discussion of Psalm 34 I asked the question, “What does God taste like?” Remember David invites us in Psalm 34:8 to “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
As this psalm continues David again invites us to take a closer look at God. He reminds us that, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil to blot out their name from the earth.”
In this passage David depicts the LORD as having eyes, ears and a face. I always have trouble picturing God. This inability does not stem from a lack of imagination. It comes from the knowledge that God is a spirit. How do you picture something that has no physical substance or form?
But picturing God comes with further difficulties. We are specifically forbidden to create an image or likeness of God. The God of the Hebrews sat on the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant between two cherubim. But there was no image or statue there. To create an image or statue would be blasphemous. For that reason I find Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel offensive. I am not offended by the depiction of a naked Adam. I’m offended by the portrayal of an old grey-haired man as God. How dare he create an image of God? I am similarly troubled by any artistic rendering of God the Father. God is so far beyond human that to render Him as having a human form demeans His Majesty.
But that’s what makes the incarnation so spectacular. This God of no fixed form took on material reality. In the person of Jesus, He became a man with eyes, ears and a human face. The God who sees all and hears all limited himself to a human body. The Creator took on the form and limitations of a creature—limitations that encompass betrayal, pain and death. In the body of Jesus, the Creator God, who sees and hears, experienced our reality—our humanity.
The psalmist, David declares, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
The LORD is close to the broken-hearted because in the form of Christ his heart was broken. He experienced the pain that touches you and me. His eyes are on you. He is listening when you cry out.
Response: Hear my prayer, Lord. I seek your face. Be my healer, my redeemer and deliverer. In Jesus’ name, who defeated death, I pray. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you have a picture of God? How does God look to you?