18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” 20 So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ 23 But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Sam 12:18-23
I use to have a “good theology” of God. But as of late, God has been destroying my understanding of Him. In stead of having an ironed out perspective of Him that nicely fits folded up in my mind, He has become more like a giant lion standing in the room breathing hot breath on my head. Somehow, as uncomfortable as this is, I’m finding great comfort in it.
In the passage above David, the man after God’s own heart, expresses this same sentiment. ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ David is not acting as if God is suppose to do anything. David is not quoting promises or “standing on the word”. David is submitting himself to God who does what He wants.
If we look at it, the scriptures do a really beautiful job of leaving room for God’s mystery. Every person who has a “good theology” has several “proof texts” for their position, and those with other perspectives have proof texts to counter that other wrong perspective. They find themselves unknowingly trying to wrestle down and unconquerable Opponent.
I wonder if our whole desire to understand God comes more from a place of fear of submission, than from just a good ol’ honest desire to know about Him. What seems so obvious is that if God is living and He is who the Bible says He is, then can’t we interact with Him? Historically some people have been heavily persecuted for saying that God spoke to them. But isn’t the Bible chalk full and overflowing with people conversing with God. Yet, God sets in place a rule of humility and brokenness. All of scripture points to it. We must revere and submit to Him to hear Him, and when we drift into self sufficiency and and pride in our own goodness He decides to quiet down.
Has He stopped speaking that we now can study Him like fossils of some historic animal? If God is real and is open for interaction doesn’t He supersede this world’s intellectual capacity? Will He be held captive in our own understanding? If so, can we give Him a new name, feed Him treats, and keep Him in a crate when we have to leave the house?
God is bigger. That’s what I’m discovering, and He is good. And that sits well with me.
One thought on “Lean not on your own understanding…”
, atlgouhh you said it so much better than I could have. I wish there was some way to communicate with you…