Thursday, May 12, 2016

The God that is knowable and incomprehensible

1 Kings 3:9-14 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”10 It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. 14 If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”

The relationship King Solomon had with God in the early parts of his reign as King in Jerusalem is most instructive to believers today. Two truths characterize the Christian's walk with God. The passage above speaks of that first truth: "knowability". Solomon knew His God - and His God knew Him. They talked, listened and communed with one another. Solomon was intimidated by his role in life. As king of Jerusalem - he had big shoes to fill - for David had been his father. Solomon's conversation with God shows how he was going to get the job done. Solomon knew God - and God knew Solomon.

Now we fastforward a few chapters later in 1 Kings. Solomon's major project of building the temple had been complete. The king was dedicating the temple. In 1 Kings 8:27-30 we read -  “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! 28 Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today; 29 that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place. 30 Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive." Here we see the second truth associated with one's walk with God - namely that God is incomprehensible.

When we say God is incomprehensible, we refer to how we in our reason, our thinking and our writing cannot exhaustively comprehend Him. I can know of light for instance - that it illuminates dark places. However the intricacies of the behavior of photons (the particles / waves that make up the light) at the sub-atomic level are still being attempted to be completely grasped. As the late physicist Richard Feynman once quipped: "He who says he completely understands quantum theory (the science of the really, really small sub-atomic world) as shown he does not completely understand it". 

Or take another more concrete example - one's relationship with their spouse. I know my wife. I know her likes, dislikes. I know from the tone n her voice or the gait of her walk what she is thinking. Yet, there is a mystery side to her which alludes full comprehension. I know her enough to want to draw closer and yet she has enough mystery as a woman to make me want to know more about her.

With God, He is knowable and yet incomprehensible. Per Solomon's words, he could hold a conversation with God and walk with Him in the decisions of the moment. Yet, Solomon also knew that the being and glory of God exceeds the physical confines of our universe. To know God is to experience His manifestation to us. Such an incomprehensible God is know by His written revelation and the fullness of His revelation in Jesus Christ. To be in awe of His incomprehensibility is to bow before His majesty. May we today aim to know God, whose incomprehensibility drives us to worship Him. 

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