25 November 2008

Who is this God?

I remember reading this book when I was little called "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young. It's a story about seven blind mice who discover something strange one day. To figure out what it is, they take turns going out and exploring the matter. Then they come back and share what they have discovered. The Monday red mouse runs up and down the "strange thing's" leg and comes back saying, "It's a pillar." The Tuesday green mouse comes across the trunk and comes back saying it is "snake." The next, a "spear," then a "great cliff," then a "fan" (the ear), and a "rope" (the tail). The last mouse goes out and feels the entire "strange something," back and forth, top to bottom, and all around. The last mouse returns and exclaims, "It's an elephant!"

This morning in Bible study we asked the question "Who is God?" After an hour, we had barely scratched the surface, discovering that our God is so beyond our comprehension (Isaiah 55:8) that we tend to see Him in smaller parts at the time, for the wholeness of him is too great for us to understand. In Exodus 3:14, God identifies himself as "I AM." [The Hebrew word YHWH (sometimes pronounced "yahweh"), which is the verb "to be."] God is so big that a single attribute fails to thoroughly define Him.

How cool is it that God reveals parts of Himself to us in different ways, yet as a community of believers we experience them all. The same God who sees and provides (YHVH Yireh, Gen. 22:14) also is the Lord who makes holy (YHVH M'kadesh, Ezekiel 37:28). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "Elohim" (or "Elohay") is used 2,300 times. It comes from the Hebrew word for "strength" or "power."

I am in love with all attributes of God, but one that especially stands out to me is that God is approachable (Psalms 145:18). God invites us to talk to Him. He invites us to be in a relationship with him... just as we are. We aren't required to get our acts together before approaching the throne of God. Come just as you are. We don't have to be holy or theologically correct; we can talk to God conversationally. He is loving and accepting when we go to Him, and when we can't find the words, that's okay because he understands every aspect of your situation including the past and future elements. And he gives us the Holy Spirit to communicate with God when we cannot find words.

In our relationships with other people, we get frustrated because we spend all of our time trying to express to others, "This is who I am, and this is how I feel." And people continually fail to understand us. God does.

Like the seven blind mice, we can only see parts of God at a time. We can come together and share our experiences of Him to develop a greater picture of who our Lord is. We can piece together what He tells us about himself in his word and what he shows us in his creation. Like a blind mouse, I fail to see the whole picture. But every day is a new adventure, discovering the parts of my Creator and piecing them together to get a glimpse of something truly Beautiful.


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