God; June 24, 2019

Exodus 34:5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord.

The more you think about it, the more remarkable this is, that the infinite Creator would manifest Himself in such a personal way to a mere human being. However, we know that He went even further, sending His Son to actually be born as a human being, to take the penalty for the sins of mankind. We really have a lot of trouble with the whole concept of God, because He defies all the categories we try to fit Him into. He Himself was constrained by human language in describing Himself to Moses, as He does in the very next verse. He starts out by speaking of His love and grace, which is certainly appropriate when He is Love, (1 John 4:8) but he goes on to give a strong word to those who would mistake love and grace for weakness. We tend either to picture Him as Santa Claus or as a cruel taskmaster, and both of those images are false to the point of being deliberate deceptions of the devil. One thing we need to be very clear on is that God is not some impersonal Force, nor is He the “Divine Watchmaker” posited by the Deists of a few hundred years ago and currently dressed up as “Intelligent Design.” He is the omnipotent Creator, which is certainly an infinite amount of force, but He is intimately concerned with His creation. He indeed designed the universe deliberately, out of His total omniscience, but He cares about it all, to a degree we can’t really imagine. He even pays attention to how much hair we have! (Matthew 10:30) Accordingly, He knows what is best for us and wants us to follow the path that He has laid out for us. That’s why punishment is part of His self-description in the next verse. Much of the mess we get ourselves into stems from our failing to grasp God as He is, because when we grasp Him in truth, everything falls into place.

It was just a few days ago that the Lord gave me a revelation that we indeed serve the Lord of Glory, appropriately enough from Revelation 1. With that so fresh in my awareness, this is a powerful reinforcement. I have been taught about God from infancy, attending worship in the womb, quite literally, and being raised in an environment of love and prayer and Scripture. Even so, I am as human as anyone, and I need occasional attitude corrections. That phrase applies both in the psychological sense and in the way an aircraft pilot would use it. I need to “straighten up and fly right!” As a pastor, a major part of my job description is presenting an accurate image of God to others, both through my words and my lifestyle. The saving grace in that is that though I am obviously very flawed, I serve a perfect God, and He can do the job in spite of my imperfections, if I will submit myself to Him. That is my part in the process: loving Him and yielding myself to Him in full trust and obedience. He is more than worthy of it all, and He will (and does) do things through me that I can hardly imagine.

Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness. Thank You for the joyful baptismal service we had yesterday. I’m sure everyone was very blessed, and I saw distinct signs of spiritual growth in several people. Help me trust You more and more fully, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You so that You alone may receive all the glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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