“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” Psalm 62:11.
What comes to mind when you think of God? Maybe you have an image of God as a cosmic police officer watching for evil doers and writing heavenly tickets. Or perhaps God is a doting grandfather, a nice old guy who hands out blessings here and there, but is really out of touch. For so many years I saw God as a severe disciplinarian, watching and waiting for me to make a mistake so He could smack me. Maybe – God doesn’t exist in your mind at all, or if He does, He has no bearing on this world or your life. Philosophers and theologians have gone to great lengths to try to define God, or to prove He doesn’t exist. But I think the great Psalmist David has the best understanding of who God is. Look again at our key verse.
More than half of the one hundred and fifty Psalms are attributed to David who identifies God as his Shield, his Refuge, his Rock and Fortress, his Shepherd, and so much more. He used so many beautiful and powerful expressions to describe his God. Yet in these two simple words, I believe David paints a picture that comes the closest to the true essence of who God is in relation to man. Strong and loving.
David first says, “One thing God has spoken.” What is that “one thing”? David doesn’t say, but I believe it is the same thing that the Lord spoke to Moses: “I Am”. When God said “I Am” He identified Himself as “I Am” everything you will ever need. The Israelites, at that time needed a Liberator and Defender – and God said “I Am”. Abraham needed a Provider – and God said “I Am”. David, a man of many battles, needed a strong Shield and a place of Refuge – and God said “I Am”. Ruth needed a Redeemer – and God said “I Am”. Daniel needed a Protector – and God said “I Am”. Even Jesus needed a Father – and God said “I Am”. Who do you need today? God says “I Am”.
David first said that God is strong. This strength is beyond any human strength – far beyond what a mortal body-builder can attain to. This is not strength that lifts massive barbells – yet He is strong enough to lift the weight of all your burdens. This is not strength that bends rods of steel – yet he bent the bars of the prison of death to set us free. This is strength that breaks the power of sin, strength that overpowers the enemy of our souls and strength that raises the dead back to life – and not just life, but eternal, everlasting, unending life! It is strength that overcomes my weakness and enables me to do things beyond my abilities. I need a God who is strong, because my burdens are heavy, my weaknesses are many and I can do nothing on my own.
David also said that God is loving. Do you believe that God loves you? That is so hard for us to fathom, but over and over in His Word God proclaims His love for you and me. Look at the Hebrew definition of love – hesed – and God’s affirmations.
- Unfailing Love – “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken” (Isaiah 54:10).
- Loyal Love – “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6).
- Devotion – “By day the Lord directs His love, a night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8).
- Mercy – “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion” (Numbers 14:18).
Paul tells us “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). That is the kind of love that I need. A love that never turns away, never dies, never gives up, a love that lasts for all eternity. This is the love that God has for you and me. His love is steadfast and sure – you can’t make Him love you more, and you can’t make Him love you less. He loves you because He is love. His is the perfect love, because He is the perfect lover.
God’s love was perfectly expressed at the cross of Jesus Christ. His power was perfectly revealed at the empty tomb, through the resurrection of His Son – our Savior. We can never know all there is to God, for He is holy and righteous and beyond our finite understanding. But we can know this about God: He is strong and He is loving. And that’s a very good place to start.
Holy Father, You have revealed to us the most important things we need to know about you: You are strong and You are loving. This is where our faith begins. From here we come to know you in deeper and richer ways, but what a wonderful foundation on which to build our relationship with You.