The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

April 16, 2009

Deep Identity

At Bible study this morning, we looked at Psalm 21. It is one of those difficult, enemy-formation Psalms in which the writer cheers God on in the hopes that God will wipe out all his enemies.

Why is enemy formation so attractive? What is it in us that compels us to form enemies?

In the middle of Psalm 21 we found verse 6. The Psalmist, speaking of the king says to God, “you make him glad with the joy of your presence.”

We make enemies because we lack an awareness of God’s presence. We forget that God is at the centre of our lives. We experience a lack and so we try to shore up our faltering sense of identity by proving others wrong and winning adherents to our side.

Later in the day my daughter sent me Richard Rohr’s thought for the day. Rohr says, “We need to know, experientially, that ‘I am who I am who I am”, and THAT naked, undecorated self is already and forever the beloved child of God.” That is the whole thing!

When I rest secure in my deep identity as “the beloved child of God,” I no longer need to make enemies. I discover that my “enemy” is equally a “beloved child of God,” not different from me, not worse, not better. We are all connected. The differences that appear to separate us exist only on the surface.

In the depths of our true identity as children created in the image of God, we are one. This realization sets me free to truly love. I do not need to have all the right answers and to prove you wrong. I do not need to be seen to be successful, or even to be successful. Life ceases to be a threat. I no longer need to build up my fragile sense of identity by rallying the troops against some perceived danger. I no longer need to defend myself. I am not fragile.

In this deep identity I discover the only real freedom possible for any human being.


Bob MacDonald said...

Identity formation and enemy recognition are two sides of the inner coin.

Somewhere I read that Psalm 21 is the answer to the prayer of psalm 20 (my rough translation is here and shows many of the repeated words in each psalm and between these psalms) Who are the enemies of the king, the Lord's anointed one? (While we were yet enemies, ...)

Though this sounds 'theoretical' and is difficult to say without a lot of hand waving that you can't see on paper, [insert hand waving here] our reconciliation to God comes through the death of his anointed king - where we as his enemies are destroyed so we can meet with him in new life. Then we learn to recognize our own enemies that we form in ourselves in reaction to the 'natural life' - fear, or competition, or whatever - that we have known before and after we meet our Lord at the mercy seat through his death for us.

Rob H said...

It is interesting in the Old Testament that we as man seem to be at war with our God as he gets frustrated with us because we ignore his blessings and instructions. (my view)
Their is so much turmoil amoungst us as nations or should I say tribes as we battle to recogize who is the chosen tribe when in fact we are told one is precious to show favour.

Some can we be content and live together , seems not during those times as our so called self appointed leaders issue new commands that frustrate even God himself aside from ourselves.
One can say we have an identity issue and we are not looking at our comfort level which is to trust in God.

We now turn to his gift to us, Jesus Christ, that we can see God pure as our sins are now washed away for ever.
Yet we still harbour daily identity issues with our job, friends, family and the world.
It takes a lot of effort to finally feel that deep experience of Christs love for you and his comfort so you can take a deep breath that day and know you are truly what you are. Each move forward each day can be a satisfied experience even though you might be in pain, concern, worries because you have that deep love and support of Christ as he walks with you.