For You are my lamp, O Lord;
And the Lord illumines my darkness.
For by You I can run upon a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall
(2 Samuel 22:29,30 NASB)
I saw Star Wars when it first came out, and it was overwhelming. I left the theater feeling like I could have run all the way home (about 20 miles…and I was 11). Up to that point, and granted my experience was severely limited, I had never had a movie do that to me. I felt so inspired, I wanted to do what the characters had done, overcome the evil, defeat the unbeatable odds, and live to tell the tale.
The Glory of God Inspires
In that movie, the first scene is one I use to explain the ‘Glory of God’. When the movie opens, a small ship flies over the top, and flies away to the ‘horizon’, firing behind it, running from something. Then the Star Cruiser shows up. It seems to go on forever, and coming from over the top as it does, so close to our view, you involuntarily slouch in your seat, crushed down by the sheer size. That’s like the glory of God: That feeling of awe that gives you the feeling you’re about to be crushed under it. It’s so huge, it defies our minds ability to contain it, and so all sorts of ‘defense mechanisms’ kick in to maintain our sanity. In Hebrew, the word translated as glory derives from ‘heavy’ or ‘weighty’; so that crushing weight, or perception of such a crushing weight.
Without that sense of ‘glory’, the resulting feelings of awe, and the sense of inspiration would have been impossible. And I believe this is true with God as well. David, in writing his poem about his relationship with God (at least at the beginning of his reign) mentions this feeling. God illuminates him, but the result is that he feels like he can take on the ‘raiding band’ by himself. He can assault the city on his own, leaping the wall – he’s Superman. But instead of being ‘a strange being from another world,’ David is illuminated by his Lamp, his God. He’s a strange being from this world.
Seeking the Glory of God
So, how do I get this empowering illumination? What can I do to experience God as David says he does? I want it! Okay, but do I want it bad enough to be blameless before my God? Do I desire this closeness with God so much that I will be completely obedient? David goes on to say that God’s way is blameless and His word is refined (purified?). Am I willing to seek His way and search His word, and then do it? The quality of David that enabled him to experience this amazing inspiration, this feeling of invulnerability, this desire to take on the world, was his standing before His God. At least it was how he perceived his standing. The enemy eventually steals that from David, and he struggles to recover it.
Paul has this amazing description of his desire in Philippians 3. He says that he has counted everything he once thought of as important about himself as ‘rubbish’, and here’s why:
…so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8b-11 NASB)
Why did he consider the loss of everything worth it? Because he wanted to know Jesus. I believe that when my desire for my Master reaches that tipping point where everything else is like garbage, I will begin to experience that feeling of wanting to take on the entire world on my own. That sense that there are no longer limits to what can be done. And I live in a place where that is desperately needed. You may as well. So if I want to know Him, the power of His resurrection, then I probably also need to embrace the fellowship of His suffering, and take it all. Desire it all.
Keeping It Going
When I walked out of the theater in 1977, the feeling was temporary. I don’t think it lasted until I got home. I’ve felt it since, with other movies, but again, it never lasted. And I don’t know that this ‘feeling’ would last in my relationship with God, but I believe there would be another piece that would. The resulting faith, rock solid, foundational faith that unshakable conviction that I will win because my Master already has. That would or could remain regardless of feelings. That’s what I want, and it’s what I believe my enemy wants to steal from me.
For in You I can run [upon] a detachment, and I can leap a wall. Who needs to kick in the gates of hell, when we can leap the wall? We’ve got captives to liberate! Suit up!
So, what’s your view through the knothole? How do you get that sense of invulnerable warrior of God?