“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.”
Psalm 51: 12
King James Version
“Why God Loved David” Part XVII
“The house of my soul is too small for You to come into it. May it be enlarged by You. It is in ruins, restore it.”
Augustine of Hippo
What does the word “restoration” mean to me?
Is there a place in my life where I need to have my Father’s “restorative” care?
“God the Word restored in Himself humankind, His ancient handiwork, that He might…strip death of its power and give life to humankind.”
“The purpose of revelation is restoration, the renewal in us of that likeness to God which man lost by sin.”
My husband Jim is what some refer to as a “car nut.” Please, don’t think for a minute I’m denigrating Jim. He’s like a lot of men, who, he has totally convinced me after 34 years of marriage, enjoy the uniqueness and workings of mechanical inventions like watches, trains, planes, and yes, above all, automobiles.
Because our second date, which was many years ago and yet in some ways seems like yesterday, was to a car show, I can’t say that I wasn’t warned as to what lay ahead. Soon after meeting Jim, I’d seen nearly every type of car on the road and began to even recognize the names of Formula One race drivers, a real feat for a novice like myself. Over the years, Jim’s car buddies have at times been quite surprised at the knowledge about cars I’ve absorbed.
As I’ve gone to different events featuring very old and very rare automobiles or visited museums which have cars featured as show pieces on display, I’ve learned a lot more than I could have imagined about the word “restoration.”
The dictionary defines “restoration” as, “the act of bringing something back into existence or use, or to bring back something to an original state.”
Repeatedly, in the car world, I’ve watched programs through the years, where an old car is found in a barn in the middle of nowhere. Filled with pieces of hay; rust having corroded once shiny metal, and animals, of all varieties, having used the empty car as their abode, the once valuable vehicle looks like it is worthless – except to the trained eye. And this is what has intrigued me so much about car restorations. It is the eye of the expert, the one who knows exactly what the original car looked like in the first place, that is the perfect person to see the value in what you or I would think was a piece of junk. The fact is, even many of the owners of these old relics don’t know or understand the value of what they hold in their care. They too, may well feel that the heap in their barn is worthless.
Recently, Jim and I watched as one of these old cars, which appeared, both inside and out, to be less than nothing, found ourselves amazed, even shocked, when the restorer, a true automobile restoration specialist, put the finished product on display. You could not ever have guessed it was the same car as the barn inhabitant.
The fact was, the car looked even better than it did when it was brand new. Over time, the process of paint application along with better grades of paint, made it possible for the restorative process to include some of these new items and techniques into the restoration of the vehicle.
As I’ve thought about the beauty that came out of such a mess of twisted, old metal, combined with a time-worn interior, my thoughts came back to Psalm 51 which benefit so much from the lessons learned by the restorative process that I’ve been able to watch up close in automobiles.
In Genesis 1: 26, we find that our heavenly Father said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” It would be wise to look at two words in the Hebrew which are contained in the verse. The first is “image,” which means: Resemblance or a representative figure. The second word is “likeness,” which in Hebrew means model, shape, and again “resemblance.” Since the word resemblance appears in the Hebrew definition of both these words, I wanted to dig deeper. The word “resemblance” is used only once in the Bible, in the Old Testament in Zechariah 5: 6, where the Hebrew meaning is, “the outward appearance of the face.” But it also means, “the eye of the fountain,” and I want to bring us back to this thought in a moment. Furthermore, the dictionary defines the word “resemblance” as, “similar in nature, form, and appearance. To liken and imitate.”
The creation of man and woman was the part of God’s creative process which reached its pinnacle when God formed two perfect beings that were in His image. Adam and Eve were created to resemble their Creator.
In nature, form and appearance Adam and Eve reflected their Father’s purity, goodness and holiness. But when sin entered this perfect world, God’s perfect image was not reflected in this world of sin, in fact it became distorted. Try as God might to show His earthly children what His heavenly image was like, we find that all through the Old Testament, as we have studied the lives of some of the best people in the Bible as well as the worst, too often God’s children got the picture of God wrong in their minds. They didn’t get the clear and correct picture of what their Father was really like. In fact, much too often, they followed the lead of surrounding nations who made up gods to their own liking, that fit their way of life, and it was these false gods that our heavenly Father’s children chased after, even wished for.
As time went by, there was such a false view of God by nearly everyone, that many of God’s children no longer reflected their Father. They were more like the rusted out car in the barn. And when people saw the piece of dilapidated metal, they thought it was worthless --- and what’s so tragic – is that when these people who were rust-buckets said, “But I’m God’s child,” the “heathen” laughed their heads off and said, “You are telling me your God looks like you. Forget it. We can do better than you with our shiny, golden idols. We like the looks of our gods better than the God you reflect.” Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like the confusing message, some people, who call themselves followers of Jesus, give off today?
With this terribly distorted picture of God being the only message the world had, God sent the most precious gift heaven could bestow – He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. And it was Jesus, God’s Son who in His own words told His followers, “If ye have known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14: 7, K.J.V.). Through this gift of God’s Son, our gracious Father began the restorative process that once seemed impossible. When the Son came, He brought the vision of His Father, for He saw us as we could be, not as we were. When our Father looks at us, the eyes of our Creator see us as the perfect image created in His likeness, not the old beater, left by the side of the road like a piece of rubbish or left to rust in a barn. But what’s more, not only did the Father see us through restorative eyes, but He also gave us the fountain of life when He gave us the Son to restore us. Interestingly, the Hebrew word “resemblance” as I shared with you already, also refers to the eye as the fountain. I find this no coincidence that it is our Father’s restorative eye that sees what we can be. And then when we choose to plug ourselves into the fountain of life, Jesus Christ who was sent as a gift from our Father, the blood, spirit and life of Jesus becomes the fountain that refreshes, renews and restores your life and mine.
This is why we find in Psalm 51: 12, our text for today, that David asked God to restore him, because when God did this work on making David new again, the joy of salvation would return to David’s heart, soul and life. WOW! And thank God, this is the joy you and I can tap into as our Creator’s restorative eye sees us as we can be and most of all, He sees us as He planned us to be. Even when others may not recognize the value that you and I contain, our Creator will always see what our potential is – for He created us to resemble Himself. Now that’s something we can all be very joyful about today.
“The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our disposition being at one with his own disposition.”
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
“Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Hail Thee as the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou the Father, Christ our Brother,-
All who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the Joy Divine”
Henry Van Dyke
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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