Now, to the topic at hand: What does this promise to be our God mean, thousands of years later?
To begin with, it means that God knows me intimately. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) If you are anything like me, this verse should freak you out. God knit me together. He knows all the intimate details of what makes me who I am. He has a purpose and a plan for my life. He knows how I am going to react and respond to each and every situation. And scarier still, He knows what I’m thinking--before I even think it. There are some things I don’t want anybody to know, especially an all holy God. But the incredible reality is this: given the fact that God knows all of these things about me, He is still willing to lay it on the line. He still offers himself as a sacrifice. And He still wants to enter into a relationship with me. If my closest friends knew some things about me, I’m not entirely sure they would want to be around me sometimes. Fortunately, that is not the case with the very God of the universe.
You see, for the longest time this scared me because I thought of God as this rule-maker; this fun-sucker; this celestial being waiting to strike me down for the stupid things I did (and trust me, I've done a lot of stupid things). It turns out that isn’t the case at all. When He says He knows me intimately, He’s really saying that He knows the ugly stuff and still chooses to accept me. That's a pretty sobering thought!
This also means that God will take care of me. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Often where we get confused is differentiating our wants and our needs.
His promise to be our God also brings to the fore-front His offer of unconditional love.
Now for the second and probably more important part of this passage; thousands of years after this promise, what does it mean for us to be the people of God? How does this apply to my everyday life? How does it change things?
To begin with, this means we must walk in faith. What is faith? “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Basically this is just a big word for trst. Do I trust God? When the Bible talks about faith and love toward God, this is what it comes down to. In the midst of all that is going on, do I trust God. A great quote of Brennan Manning's sums it up well, "Perhaps it means more to God when we say I trust you, than when we say I love you." Trust is a preeminent expression of love. I can love someone without totally trusting them, but I cannot trust someone without totally loving them.
It also means that we must be devoted. Tons of Scripture makes this point clear. God says we must be either hot or cold, he who is not with me is against me, no one can serve two masters, either you love God or you love the world—there is no riding the fence here. God will not stand for us to be fickle…we must decide to serve him or serve any other number of things. Basically, God is asking ‘will you be faithful?’
We must also learn to live sacraficially. There is this myth out there about relationships (well, actually there are a lot), but one of the bigger ones is this: a relationship will only succeed if two people are compatible. They say this is true of all relationships, but especially an intimate relationship. Let me clear things up and tell you that is not entirely true. There is no scientific equation or mathematical formula that will predict the likelihood of a realtionship succeeding. If there is I'm not aware of it and would like to see this. It would certainly save a lot of hassle. I wholeheartedly believe there is only one thing required for a relationship to succeed. And I'm going to let you in on the secret right now...it's sacrifice. For any relationship to succeed, both parties must choose to put their own wants and needs on the backburner in order that they may put the wants and needs of the other above their own (of course, there is always the risk they will take advantage of it, but that is a separate discussion altogether). In doing so, you find your needs will be met beyond your wildest imaginiation (at least with God). This is one of the paradoxes of the faith.
The whole idea here is one of mutual pursuit. As I pursue God, He will pursue me!