Delton spoke on Sunday. It was a simple message that spoke to me. I found his notes yesterday and read over them. Yes. So, here they are. May God's word and His heart minister to you...and change you.
To Be Known! Longing for Intimacy!
We were made for intimacy.
Intimacy. The word can bring the thrill of excitement and at the same time the grip of fear. On one hand it is possibly the deepest longing of the human heart, on the other the deepest fear of the human heart.
This dichotomy may point to the fact that we were created for the perfection of Eden and yet grow up some where east of it. Adam and Eve were created to walk in unbroken intimacy with the One that created them, and in complete openness with one another. They were naked and not ashamed, because there was nothing to hide, and no one to hide from. No fear. No shame.
But what was the first response when Adam and Eve fell into sin? They hid from each other. They made coverings of fig leaves. Then God comes walking in the cool of the day, and what do they do? They hide. Now there is something to hide. Now there is someone to hide from.
And ever since we have been covering and hiding. While we long to be known, to be embraced as we are, to be accepted, to be intimate, at the same time we are terrified to open up to anyone. We hide from our friends, our families, our spouses, from God.
True life is found in intimacy. True life is found in complete vulnerability before God – in John 17, Jesus says, this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." In John 15, Jesus tells us – “Abide in me, and I in you….my words abide in you….abide in My love.” These are not words of a distant relationship, a business arrangement, or of an acquaintance. These are descriptions of intimacy, of being completely known.
Psalm 139, I believe, paints a picture of this struggle of longing for intimacy and yet fearing it.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
(NAS: You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.)
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD .
To be known, understood, scrutinized, intimately acquainted with! To have someone that knows what you are thinking without you telling them, and can finish your sentences for you. When someone understands what you do and why you do what you do! Isn’t this what we all long for and run from at the same time?
5 You hem me in-behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
You have seen this with older couples – you know, the ones that have been married 40 or 50 years. And, not just married, but truly intimate friends. They know what the other is thinking, what they are going to say, what they are going to do. They got each other’s back.
And yet we know that is not automatic. You’ve seen the couples that have been married just as long, but you can almost see the walls of protection, offense, and bitterness that they have built.
But, like we’ve said, intimacy can be a scary thing. The psalmist says “God, you completely know me. This is to wonderful for me to attain.” I can’t take it!
How would you feel if I walked up to you and said, “_____I know everything about you.” It is frightening! And now, we are talking about a perfect, Holy God, that knows everything about me? What does the psalmist do?
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, F222 you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I run to the heavens, I go to hell. I leave early in the morning, I stay out late at night. But everywhere I go you are there!
You can’t escape God – Ask Adam and Jonah!
What did Adam and Eve do? They tried to cover up with figs and hid among trees. What are you trying to cover up with? Where are you trying to hide?
Just like intimacy in marriage is not automatic, intimacy with God is not automatic. You may have been sitting in church all of your life, and yet you’ve never allowed the vulnerability and honesty before God that is required for intimacy with Him. You have been hiding behind the fig leaf of religion. In fact, maybe the reason you are sitting here this morning is because you are hoping one hour in this building will be enough to keep God appeased but at arm’s length. You come before God with your little wilting fig leaf trying to act like everything is o.k. But in your heart you know it is not, because there is no life in your Christianity. Inside you are as dried up as dead man’s bones.
Or maybe you have been running and hiding. You have tried to bury yourself in your work. You have tried to bury yourself in entertainment. You have tried to bury yourself sin – trying to shut out the reality that you are really not living. You keep hoping the next paycheck, or the next vacation, or the next purchase, or the next taste of sin will make you feel better.
In all of our covering up, and in all of our hiding, why is it never enough to get us away from God?
It is not a religious ideology or system we are trying to escape.
It is not a cultural way of living you are trying to elude.
It is a Person you are running from – You are trying to escape the loving gaze of the One who Made You for Himself.
Caught by the Creator...
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
You cannot escape the One who made you – Because you were made for Him. He is not asking you to get your act together. He is not asking you to fix all of your problems. He is asking you to surrender. To stop running. To stop covering up. To stop hiding. He simply wants you to surrender. Surrender to His plan, His redemption, His love. Just LET HIM IN.
The psalmist, after being faced with the All Knowing, Ever Present God’s intimate knowledge of him, finally surrenders.
But first He rages against the evil around Him
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD ,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Isn’t that what we like to do? It is the old distraction ploy. Look at all those bad guys out there. Look at what THEY are doing. THOSE people do such BAD things.
In the end the psalmist prays one of the most vulnerable prayers possible
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
God – I surrender. Here I am, just as I am. I’m not making excuses. I’m not covering up. I am what I am. Lead me.