How do you feel about your privacy? Last week, Apple released their new update ios 14.5 that has a range of new features. These include better FaceID unlocking when wearing a mask and Apple watch (thanks COVID-19), new emojis and the ability to teach Siri which music app is your favourite. However, it is the new App Tracking Transparency that really has the tech world in a spin.
Despite our embrace of social media, we still like to have a sense of control over who knows our details … but God is in the business of revealing himself to us.
While I’m in no way a techy, my understanding is that prior to this update, app developers could use certain tools to track our data and usage patterns which could be shared with advertisers to build a profile for us as a user and better target us with their advertisements. Facebook particularly has become notorious for collecting and selling information about its users.
In the latest Apple release, users can opt-out of apps being able to track and share our data and usage profile. And millions will. Despite our embrace of social media, we still like to have a sense of control over who knows our details, our likes and dislikes and our patterns of life. We want to make sure we are only presenting a side of ourselves to the world that we are happy with.
A God of Revelation
In contrast to ourselves, God is in the business of revealing himself to us—progressively unveiling more of his purposes and character through history and Scripture. In Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV), we read:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
We see God revealing himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; then to the prophets and then ultimately through his Son, Jesus. He allows, invites, and enables us to know him.
As DA Carson writes:
God is so wonderfully generous in his self-disclosure. He has not revealed himself to this race of rebels in some stinting way, but in nature, by his Spirit, in his Word, in great events in redemptive history, in institutions that he ordained to unveil his purposes and his nature, even in our very makeup. (1998, For the Love of God, IVP)
What a glorious gift to have a God who reveals himself to us!
Psalm 19 – From the Sky Writing to Scripture
God’s revelation begins with the created world. In Psalm 19: 1-6, for example, David urges us to look up to the heavens and see that they “declare the glory of God” and proclaim his existence. Each and every day and each and every night, they are revealing God to us—“their voice goes out into all the earth … to the ends of the world.”
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
God has given us the sky to proclaim his almighty power. Everything and everyone can look to the sun and hear wordless speech urging each one of us to look at and gaze on God’s Son.
But God has more to say. In the second part of Psalm 19:7-11, we read:
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold, they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
God has revealed himself to us through a word that is perfect, trustworthy, truthful.
God has revealed himself to us through his word—a word that is perfect, trustworthy, truthful. It refreshes the soul, gives joy to our hearts, gives light to our eyes and is firm. Unlike social-media clickbait, God’s word endures forever and is pure. It is more precious than pure Gold and sweeter than honey. It warns us and when we keep them there is great reward.
God has given us a gift in written form—and with it, he offers us himself. In the first 6 verses, the form of God used is ‘El’—a generalised term for God appropriate to a general revelation of God. However, as we move into verses 7-11, the word choice changes to the “Lord” or Yahweh. David uses the name he told Moses to call him—the name that speaks of his love and the promises he makes to his people.
A Relational God
In creation and, much more, through his spoken words—and finally in his Son—God has revealed himself beautifully, wholly and without restraint. He issues us with an invitation to look up and seek him and look to his word to find him. I can’t help but thinking that if I really believed that, my phone would have less data to mine, simply because I would be spending far more time mining the truth of my Bible, I’d be less worried about my privacy being breached and more concerned with making his name fully known. As I read Psalm 19, I marvel at the magnificence of God and like the Psalmist, recognise my own folly.
Psalm 19 concludes with beseeching God to discern our ways and forgive our sins. It then finishes with a glorious epilogue: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
What a prayer. May we behold the sun as we remember the Son. May our lives and hearts be transformed by the renewing of our minds through God’s words and may the output of these be pleasing in God’s sight—our God who is Yahweh, our Rock and our Redeemer.