As children, we develop an image of what we think God looks like, often based on how the thought of God makes us feel. This picture is most likely shaped by the influences of our parents, our early church experiences, and the education we received in places like Sunday school and Vacation Bible School.
Growing up in the church, I saw my share of pictures that depicted God as an old man with long white hair and a beard, seated on a throne with a staff in hand. Those images did not help me feel warm or connected to God. They left me feeling that God was stern and unapproachable. That’s the kind of picture of God we might start to recall when we read Psalm 14, those childhood images of God rising from that large throne and using a staff to part the clouds and peer down on us to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God (v. 2).
The images of God that we carry with us into adulthood affect how we read this psalm. Hopefully, as we mature spiritually, we know God not as one who longs to catch us with our hand in the cookie jar, but as the One who pursues us with love and grace. Hopefully when we picture God, we recall the One who has been our refuge (v. 6).
Read the psalm again, imagining the expression of this God who is a refuge to all who call upon the LORD. Picture the God who loves you deeply and whose great longing is to bring you home.
What image of God have you carried with you from childhood? How has your picture of God changed since then?
God, open my spirit to see and know you as the One who continually, lovingly seeks after me. Amen.