Friday, August 5, 2016

How to apply scriptural meditations on God's eternal attributes

Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the Lord and said, 2 “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” 4 ‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;
6 Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”

These last several meditations on scripture have featured the eternal attributes of God that we find in Psalm 139:

1. God's omniscience. Psalm 139:1-6
2. God's omnipresence. Psalm 139:7-13
3. God's omnipotence. Psalm 139:14-16
4. God's goodness. Psalm 139:17-24

Today's post will aim to meditate on these meditations with respect to how we ought to respond to such magnificent truths. Job's words above capture perfectly the proper response one has in light of such powerful insights into God's character.

I'll never forget my seminary days. At the end of the semester, our professor had been teaching a course on systematic theology - with specific emphasis on the doctrine of God. On the last day of class, he had us focus almost the whole time on the unfolding of Job 42. His basic word to us then young seminarians was to ever be in awe of God. In as much as our theology and preaching will convey truth about God, we can never hope to capture in a comprehensive or exhaustive way the totality of God in His being. If God ends up being nothing more than an object of speculation or a Being of fascination, then we have failed in the theological task. Instead, God ought to ever be the God of our adoration. True theology, it seems, ought to drive us to our knees and our hands raised up in the air. 

Certainly our meditations this week on Psalm 139 have been mind-expanding and hopefully, heart enlarging. With that said, our response ought to be nothing short of worship. We ought to be overwhelmed by the power and majesty of God. From Job 42:1-6, let me suggest four proper responses to what we have gleaned in our meditations on God's maximal excellencies in Psalm 139:

1. Confidence that God can do all things. Job 42:1

2. Knowing God better. Job 42:2-3

3. Dependence on God. Job 42:4

4. Exercising greater faith and repentance towards God. Job 42:5-6

When we express these four attitudes, we are positioning ourselves to receive further insights about God's character and being from His word. Paul learned this in 2 Corinthians 12 in light of his insights and illuminations from God, wherein in 2 Corinthians 12:9 God told him that His power is made perfect in weakness. Or again, in Revelation 1, we find the Apostle John falling at Jesus' feet as one who was dead, with Jesus touching him and encouraging him in Revelation 1:17  "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last". What was the outcome of that encounter? John gets to hear the explanation of what he had just witnessed in the opening vision of Revelation. 

As we close out today, I want to end with a practical note from A.W Tozer on the value we gain from meditating on God and sharing what we glean in the context of our dealings with other people. A.W Tozer writes in page 116 of his book "Knowledge of the Holy": "(A)s our knowledge of God becomes more wonderful, greater service to our fellow man will become for us imperative. This blessed knowledge is not given to be enjoyed selfishly. The more perfectly we know God the more we will feel the desire to translate the new-found knowledge into deeds of mercy towards a suffering humanity. The God who gave all to us will continue to give all through us as we come to know him better."

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