God of My Salvation (Part 2)

This is part 2. If you have not read part 1, you can find it here, God of My Salvation (Part 1)

“O Lord, God of my salvation…” (Psalm 88:1a)

He Is Lord

The first words of this broken man’s cry draw us to the throne, “O Lord.” How often have we said those words? How often have we addressed God in this way? How often have we done so not realizing what it is we are saying? Heman is recognizing the lordship of God. Notice that for all of Heman’s sorrows he still put God in His rightful place. The previous point had to do with God’s role toward us. He is and always will be who He has revealed Himself to be no matter what is happening in our lives. This point challenges our position toward Him. He is Lord. But do we recognize His lordship in our lives? A.W. Pink said, “He must be God in fact as well as in name.”[1]

Words matter. They have consequences. They have meaning. If you have been a Christian very long then you may already notice that “Lord” is a pretty common term in our vocabulary. It is in the worship songs we sing. It is in the verses we read. We liter it throughout our prayers. We hear it thrown around in sermons. Yet it is so much more than just a common word. Many of us think that “Lord” is just a general title we use to address God. We use it in the same way we would use “boss” to describe our superior at work. “Lord” is not who He is. It is just the role He fills. The consequence of this mentality is that we begin to throw “Lord” around as if it has no meaning. In the process of doing this we lose something of the reverence of how we ought to view and approach God. We’ve seen how easily people can lose their reverence for a title. There are many who would address a president as “Mr. President” while having no respect for the very man they are referring to. They do this simply because that is the appropriate title.

But God is not filling the role of Lord. The Lord is who He is. Our English Bibles use “Lord” in place of “Adonai” or “Jehovah.” But this is a replacement name as well. The Jews used the pronunciation, Adonai (Jehovah was the Latinized form of this), as a general way to address God so they would not have to use His revealed name, Yahweh. They did this because they were fearful that they may mistakenly use the personal name of God in a less than reverent way (Exodus 20:7, Lev. 24:16). God’s personal name, “Yahweh”, comes from Exodus 3:13-15 where God reveals His name to Moses. It is the Hebrew rendering of the phrase, “I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

So what does all of this mean and why is it relevant? Every time you see “Lord” in all caps in your Bible you can read that as “Yahweh” or “I AM.” That is God’s personal name. Not only that, but it is who He is. It is His very nature. He needs nothing. He has no source. Rather, He is the source for all things. His holiness is so great, His dominion is so far above all things, and His power is so superior to all power that the most accurate description human language can find is the one He gave to us – “I AM.” When Heman is referring to God as Lord it is more than just a title. It is a recognition that the One he is addressing is absolutely supreme, pure, and holy. He is addressing the ruler and owner of all existence. He is addressing “I AM.” When you address God as Lord, do you realize this is what you are confessing about Him? This has great importance for us just as it did for Heman. This is a sure place for our feet in the middle of sorrows if we would cling to it. Viewing God truly as Lord does two things in the middle of your trouble.

First, it changes your attitude toward your trouble. Our footing in the area of suffering can tend to be more like a surfer in the middle of a Tsunami. Maybe we can get through one or two small waves of trouble, but then the big waves come and the board is blown out from under our feet. Why? Because the waves are bigger than the board. But imagine your feet firmly planted on a mountain larger than any wave that Tsunami can generate. Your foundation outlives the storm. Therefore, you do as well. If we truly believe that our God is the great “I AM”, the One who far surpasses the storms of life, and the One who breathed out all of creation with the sound of His voice then we have an unshakeable mountain that laughs in the face of the waves. Try this. Begin your prayers with confessions of the greatness of God. Don’t say anything about your circumstances until you have done this. It will change your perspective. It may not change your experience. Suffering will always be suffering. But it will give you the strength and ability to endure.

Second, it changes your attitude toward God. Christopher Ash said it bluntly, “The glory of God is more important than your or my comfort. It matters for the glory of God that there should be a man who worships God because He is worthy of worship, and for no other reason.”[2] This is a hard and challenging word, but it is true. We were created for the glory of God. Strip it all down to the core of your existence and you will find that you were made to worship and glorify God. This means that literally everything in your life and everything about you is designed to glorify Him. Every thought, action, word, and deed is meant to worship Him. Of course, this is easy to grasp when all is sunny and well. But when the night comes and we are in agony of soul it becomes much more difficult. Once again, this is why conversion is a new birth. The world’s way is to live to our own comfort. God’s way is for us to live to His glory. Heman’s soul is at rock bottom, but he still confesses God as Lord. He still worships in this way. This is what he was made for. This is what we were made for. If we allow suffering to stop us from worshipping and glorifying God, then we are not just giving up on religion. We are giving up on our very reason for living. You and I were created to worship God. Even in our dark night. Especially in our dark night. It is our very identity and purpose. Remembering who you are made to be and what you are made for can save your life in the darkness. So cry out with Heman in the middle of the horrors you are facing, “O Lord!”

[1] A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God. (Chapel Library, 2013), Kindle Location 156

[2] Christopher Ash, Job: The Wisdom of the Cross. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), Pg. 54.

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