Monday, October 3, 2011

"Be Still..."

Back in the day (you know you're getting old when you can refer to your college years as back in the day), my then agnostic brother and I had one of our frequent debates. He asked me that infamous question designed to silence the theist: "Can God build a rock so big that he cannot lift it?"

The answer is God can do anything that isn't impossible. Some will balk at this claiming that I have limited God. This is, of course, the objective of the above query; the agnostic wants to force the hapless theist into admitting that God has limitations, and therefore show there is no God.

But only God knows what is truly impossible because He created all things, including knowledge. From what He has revealed about Himself to us, one impossibility is God ever ceasing to be Himself; God will never contradict His own nature because God cannot not be God. We cannot add anything to this because who and what the boundless, incomprehensible God is forever remains beyond us; it is impossible for us to ascertain what an action might be that would constitute God contradicting Himself, except what He has told us: "God is neither tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone with evil."

Instead of despairing on account of the inscrutability of God, we should rejoice and heave a deep sigh of relief. Our biggest encumbrance as Western people is our need to explain everything. But God is infinitely greater than our intellect because He is truly God. We can be glad in this because we know the God we are confronting is really God and not some invention to placate our particular whims. The fact that God is unchangeable should comfort us because it means we can totally trust Him.

In order to put feet on the last point, I must remind us of a historical event critical to the restoration of Mankind and, ultimately, the cosmos. God freeing the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt was a pivotal moment in history because it, in objective terms, illustrated for us all 1) Mankind's plight that is its captivity in death, 2) that only God can save us from our plight, 3) that the means of liberating us would come through the nation of Israel, culminating in the crowning moment of history, the incarnation of God, Jesus the Christ, and 4) God's faithfulness to His promises. It requires the whole Bible to prove these points. I want us to see from them that we can trust God.

God chose Moses to be His instrument for leading Israel out of captivity. During the course of those events, Moses twice asked God for God's name. The first time, God answered simply, "I AM." This speaks to God's infinite, unchangeable, and inscrutable being that transcends existence. On the second occasion, God's answer regarded His character: "I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy, and compassion on whom I will show compassion."

The Hebrew word translated mercy is khanan. God will be gracious, particularly in forgiving sins. The Hebrew word rakham, translated compassion (above), means a deep, abiding love. The word's noun root means womb. God will cradle us like a baby in its mother's womb.

Therefore, don't wait to approach God until you have Him all figured out because that day will never arrive. Instead, simply admit you are lost because you have forsaken Him, and turn back to Him, confessing Jesus as King, and trust Him by doing what He says. And even though you cannot know all the whys, you can be confident that God will provide the grace to succeed and for the pardoning of your mistakes, and you will be forever safe--even should there be great affliction for a time.

Cherish in your heart these words from our God: "Be still and know that I am God."