Passage: Psalm 9
“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10 (NASB)
The front door opens and I hear four little feet running to it. “Daaaaaaadyyyy!” I smile as I hear the sounds of kisses and giggles. I turn around and my heart takes a leap. The three people I love most on earth are all smiles. It does not matter how hard the day was anymore. Problems with friends at school? Difficult homework? In a moment, they just know it – all is fine, for daddy is home.
I reflect back on my childhood and how I was absolutely crazy about my daddy (I still am). He was Super-Man! He knew it all. He could do anything. He was also the strongest, smartest, richest and most handsome man alive. If you were blessed by being raised by a loving dad, you know what I am talking about. If you asked us, daddy’s girls, we would not have any problem believing that our dads did hang the moon. Because we really believed they could.
The word “Abba” as a reference to God is an Aramaic word which literally means “daddy” or “papa”. Jesus cried out to His Daddy in the
, at a time of great distress, when He was about to give Himself as a ransom for mankind’s sins (Matt 14:36). The apostle Paul also used the expression “Abba, Father,” when referring to the fact that we were adopted by God when we accepted Christ as our Savior, and therefore we may boldly claim our heritage as children of the Mighty God of Israel: “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ ” (Romans 8:15 – NLT) garden of Gethsemane
Many of us have different names which people call us by. If someone calls me “Mrs. Holbrook”, unless they are 13 years old or under, the verdict is simple – they just don’t know me. On the other hand, different nicknames and loving abbreviations are normally a demonstration of how close someone is to me. I have this habit for as long as I remember: if you are part of my family or a close friend, I normally have a nickname for you. It’s usually one which most people you know don’t call you by. When someone changes from an acquaintance to a friend, most likely, they will receive a special name. It’s not something planned, it just happens and I know exactly why. The more I get to know someone, the more I love them, the more intimate we become. You are not just someone that I see and wave to as you pass by. You become special to me and so I give you a special name. You know me better than many people; I call you friend.
Intimate and true relationships are hard to find. There is a reason for that – it takes time to develop them. You cannot expect to be close to someone unless you spend time with them, unselfishly giving yourself to them; unless you are willing to put your own interests aside for their sake. True friends pray for you. True friends forgive. True friends admonish you when you are heading for disaster. True friends rejoice with your accomplishments and love to be with you. True and intimate earthly friendship… in many aspects mirrors the relationship we should have with our Heavenly Father. We should know Him – as a child that covers her father’s face with kisses as she sits on his lap, uninvited, because she knows him. We should know Him – as my husband and I know each other. We can look at each other across a room full of people and know what the other one is thinking. We trust each other because we know each other. Likewise, the more intimately we know God, the more we learn to trust Him.
What do you call God?
The way you call God may reveal just how intimate you are with Him (or not).
If you call Him “the Man upstairs”, chances are, you don’t know Him very well. If you are quick to carelessly use His name in every other sentence, chances are, you don’t reverence Him, and therefore you don’t know Him. The more you know God, the more you love Him; therefore the more reverent, yet intimate you become with Him.
“And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You” v.9-a (Amplified Bible)
According to the Eerdmans Bible dictionary, the Hebrew word for “know” (yada) in the original text means: to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with a person or thing.
Psalm 9 is a song of praise – a call to worship from David. In this Psalm he recalls how God has empowered him to triumph over the Philistines and other neighboring nations that fought against his throne (2 Sa. 5:8.) This is not a first-timer, new believer song of praise. It’s the song from a heart that searched God and found Him. It’s the song of praise of one who has tested and proved God the Deliverer, Redeemer and
, a Present Help in times of trouble. Strong Tower
You Too Can Call Him Daddy
What does a good father represent? He is, indeed, his children’s safe harbor. They run to him when trouble strikes because they know they can depend on him. A good daddy can be trusted.
I love the second part of verse 10. It gives hope to those who are yet to find true, intimate relationship with God:
“For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (V.10-b – NASB)
David reminds us that God’s grace and presence is extended to all who seek Him. Thanks to the new covenant established by Jesus on the cross, all who have trusted Him as their Savior can seek God and find Him in the most intimate way. But the key to this verse is the verb “seek.” You see, God is ever waiting for His children to come close to Him. He has never moved, or ever will. Like the prodigal son’s father, Abba is waiting for each one of His children to come back home as they wander away and into a life of rebellion or little communion with Him.
I can well relate to King David. He speaks as a man who has lived away from God’s presence for a season and with the passion of one who knows the difference. Yep, I know it too well.
About seven years ago, as I was home with a small child, I became a master in what I call “A.D.D. worship.” I would start praying and, as my prayers went up, a thought would cross my mind and I would quickly move my attention from God to whatever was on my mind. I could sense that my prayers would go up the room, hit the ceiling and bounce back down. Reading God’s Word was not different. I would start reading something and would get lost in my thoughts and preoccupations for the day. Quickly and steadily, my prayer life became dull and God became this distant Creator, whom I reverenced and respected, but whom I could not, in all honesty, relate to as a Father. Can you empathize? I believe that all Christians go through a phase such as this at some point in time. We allow the cares of this world to distract us. Or, worse yet, our fellowship with the Father is broken because of deliberate, known sin in our lives. If this is you today, my prayer is that this message will give you hope, confidence and practical insight to help you come back to a place of true communion with the Father.
Back to the Father’s Presence
Suffering from what I call PES (or Perennial Emptiness Syndrome), I knew that something had to change. I was thirsty and hungry. I was completely malnourished spiritually. So one day, as I cried out to God, with a huge list of complaints as to why I could not make more time in my crazy, hectic schedule to fit Him (I shudder just to think that I actually said that,) He mercifully showed me, step by step, how to come back to Him:
1) He whispered: “Pray – without – ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 – NASB)
God showed me that not having an hour a day to kneel down and pray is never an excuse for His children to stay away from Him. And so the journey back to the Father’s presence started, as I awkwardly prayed my way through each day… while doing the laundry, while warming the baby’s bottle, while preparing dinner. Pray without ceasing – in other words, talk to Me, as you do, when a friend visits your house for the weekend.
Seven years later, I’m still the crazy lady who “talks to herself a lot.” Or so some people think. I talk to Him driving down the interstate in the craziness of rush hour traffic. I am always listening, talking to my Daddy. Someone needs a prayer? I don’t have to schedule time on my busy day to intercede. I close my eyes and pray, right where I am. And I know He hears me, for I know His name.
2) Read His Word – every day
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.” John 17:17
God’s Word is His voice. It’s the most effective, trustworthy way to know that what you hear is true and coming from God, not from someone else’s interpretation or opinion. Every child of God should reach out to Him by reading the Bible, even if it means to meditate on one verse a day. On some hectic days, I read a verse and meditate upon it. I look up the original text so I know what He really said. Frequently one verse is all it takes to convict, encourage or admonish me. One whisper from God and I know His heart, for I know His name.
3) Turn off the World
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.” 1 John 2:17 (The Message)
Several years ago, in the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I used to listen to secular music a lot. As we paid attention to the lyrics we realized that most of them, although seemingly harmless, only exalted worldly desires, human understanding and passions. We both wanted to be closer to God, so we made the decision to stop listening to country radio and pop music. We started listening to praise and worship music and Christian singers and less of the world’s music. We also decided that some TV programs and movies are a waste of our time and money. They proclaim that man is lord, not God; they exalt promiscuity, heresy and violence. Therefore we try to fill up our minds with things that at least are not so bluntly against what we believe to be true. We still watch TV sometimes, but we try to watch those programs that do not promote ungodly agendas to our society. If you want a good place to find ratings and description on movies and programs you are watching, visit Focus On the Family’s Plugged In website at www.pluggedIn.com. I love this resource. It saves me a lot of time and money.
I know that for some people reading this post, these thoughts may be extreme. Well, you are right – they are. There is no middle ground in the Father’s House. If you want to be near Him, you must seek Him. And if you are to find Him and abide in His presence, you must seek Him with a pure heart and with a life that honors Him. For there is no darkness in the Father’s presence.
“O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.” 2 Sam 22:29
I have shared with you a small part of my journey back to the Father’s house. These were just the first steps. What happened next is that, as I intentionally sought Abba Father for comfort, wisdom and protection, I kept coming back for more. The truth is, the more your seek God, the more you’ll trust Him and the more you trust Him, the more you will seek Him and the more you will want to know Him. Before you realize it, being in His presence will no longer be an isolated event. It will become a way of life. And as you search Him and find Him, He will start revealing Himself to you in several different ways. He will become the Daddy who protects you, delivers you, guides you, exalts you, vindicates you, enables you and most of all, unconditionally loves you. That’s when you know it – you can call Him Daddy.