By Not Known
It’s easy to talk about God. His
name slips off our lips as we casually chat about him in Bible study
or invoke his help in our prayers.
But God is not as familiar to us
as the location of our favourite restaurant. As Isaiah reminds us, he
is beyond our understanding and counsel (Is 40:13-14). Or as Job
points out, none of us has a claim on him that he should pay us back
God is, in fact, beyond all human
comparisons (Is 40:18). We often try and explain one (unknown) thing
by comparison to another (known) thing. But this doesn’t work with
God, for he is so far outside the world of things familiar to us that
there is no comparison. He is the one from which our world derives
its identity (all is from God), who sustains it from day to
day (all is through him) and he is the goal of all things (all
is to him) – Rom 11:36. In the end, we can’t compare him with
anything, for God just is.
All this is on view in the first
of today’s Bible readings (Rom 11:33-36). The context is important.
Paul has just written about the knotty problem of the place of the
Jews in God’s plans, which in turn led him to talk about
predestination. But then the words of explanation stop and turn into
a wonderful doxology.
We must think and talk about God
with normal speech, for that is how God made us and that is how he
speaks to us in the Bible. But we must also know the limits to normal
speech and know when to step back in breathless and admiring wonder
for all that God is and does.
The God of Paul’s doxology is the
one whom we worship today and whom we serve through the Ministry Plan
of our congregation. Let us indeed talk sound and sensible theology
about God so that our worship is well-ordered and our Ministry Plan
well-shaped according to his will. But let us, like Job, Isaiah and
Paul, know when to stop normal speech about God and rise to doxology.
Our second Bible reading today is
the first words of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9). Jesus reminds us that
God is our heavenly Father. Ih other places the Bible explains this
image in terms of God’s care and provision for our needs.
Let us never forget that the God
who is beyond comparison is also a loving Father who cares for us 6he
by one. He calls for both our doxology and our childlike responses of
love and trust.