Friday, August 31, 2012

On Knowing God

“…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”  Phil 3:8 (NAS)

Each new day brings potential for surprise and bewilderment. Every morning offers an unmarked frontier, putting forward something uncharted, beyond yesterdays’ horizon, suggesting the un-surveyed. God’s desire is for us to come to know him, to engage the process of knowing, to enter into relationship, but there is more to know than we can know and there is a surplus of the Divine unexhausted by all our powers of exploration and observation.

There is a knowing only experienced by way of divine and gracious revelation. It is bequeathed – a gift to be received and will not be owned by vigorous pursuit. Some things will only be known by the exercise of Divine sovereignty and will not be captured or possessed by way of determined ambition. We can know him, but our knowledge is never comprehensive. We learn, but learning should be taken with large doses of humility for there is no end to the learning, the knowing, the discovery.

Although we cannot exhaust the Scriptures, they do not exhaust the whole of God. The Scriptures are a faithful, steadfast and authoritative guide for the community of faith. God chooses to be known in the Scriptures, yet they do not wholly house, contain or limit him. They do not create boundaries for him so much as they create boundaries, limitations and the like for us. Although we pursue God by way of the biblical narrative, knowing the Scriptures is not always synonymous with knowing God. Scripture memorization is not equal to intimacy and Biblical verse quotation is not always indicative of worship or relationship.

We may be people of the Book, but as Christians we do not worship a book. Our Bible is an inspired means of knowing God, that is to say, a means to an end. It is not our God, an idol, or an object of worship. It is an inspired window allowing us to view of the Almighty, to focus in on his majesty and points us to the One we adore.

The Word of God in scripture invites us more to dance than academic endeavor, to romance as much as rigorous reading, to a kiss as much as critical encounter. It is alive as it comes off the page and into our lives now, incarnate, and whisper fresh. A full embracing hug, it is a lovesome song, enticing our soul, romancing our heart.

More than dry data, it is courtship, a poem, passionate encounter, deep with feeling and intimate lure. The Word is love calling to lover, gestures of love by God the great lover, creating connection points of ancient, innate familial knowing, bridging deep impassable places of the soul, transcending a purely rational encounter. Bypassing the arrogance of presumptuous reason, it catches us off guard with a humility and vulnerability that breaches the fortress of reasoned inquiry.

Hear the love song - a song of betrothal, pleading with distant lover - God pursuing us, inviting us into him, into his house, into a marriage covenant. It is a proposal, God on one knee, humbling himself in ways we do not expect, come off his throne to meet us where we are and to say, “I love you… Will you marry me?” God is putting his heart out there where we can fully reject him. It is willful vulnerability of the Divine and it is astonishing. How could he humble himself so? What else but love?

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