How are we to understand God? After all, God is the great mystery, the vast unknown, and the great debate of modern human existence. For those of us who call upon him as our Abba Father, biblical poetry helps us glimpse God's glory and catches us up in wonder at his infinite grace.
Job, as he wrestled with the problems of evil afflicting suffering on good people, recounted many of God's glories and mysteries, then spoke his great truth when he said:
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,and how small a whisper do we hear of him!But the thunder of his power who can understand?
(Job 26:14 ESV)
The apostle Paul, as he concluded his great treatise on God's grace and plan for salvation, was left with only words of insufficient praise as he contemplated God's greatness, glory, and incomparable grace:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!For who has known the mind of the Lord,For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?
(Romans 11:33-36 ESV)
James Nored gives us a beautiful allegory to help us better understand our dilemma in trying to understand God's greatness, glory, and grace in today's video:
How could God help us understand his faithful love for us yet call us to embody his righteous character and gracious compassion? After all, Israel overlooked God's call to be His servant to all the nations and ignored His Scriptures and powerful words spoken through the prophets.
How could God communicate His grace and mercy while still insisting that His people live righteous lives and practice justice? How does the eternal God who exists beyond space and time reveal himself to place-focused and time-bound people? How does the great "I AM" get people's attention focused only on the now? How does a multi-dimensional God reveal himself to flatlanders?
God communicates his multi-dimensional reality, his gracious and tender love, through Jesus!
Jesus is God's greatest Word and ultimate Message:
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high... (Hebrews 1:1-3 NRSV).
Jesus is the one who had made God known by living as one of us (John 1:1-19).
Jesus is the plan God had for reconciling the world back to himself and absorbing all the damage that human rebellion had brought upon creation (Colossians 1:15-22).
Jesus is the great example we are to follow as we live with each other and strive for the greatness and glory that He created us to share.
Notice how Paul uses Jesus as the template for our lives as Jesus' followers:
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.Though he was God,Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal's death on a cross.
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father(Philippians 2:5-11).
We cannot know everything about God, but Jesus came so we could know God — so that we can experience the Father's presence, love, and grace. Even though we are flatlanders trying to understand the nature of God's multi-dimensional glory, Jesus' incarnation helps us know the heart of God and the kind of God we seek. God loved us so much that he sent the Son who willingly "gave up his divine privileges" to share God's greatness, glory, and grace with us!
As we journey through Advent, our celebration of Jesus' first coming to us, let's not forget that in a world of flatlanders, we've been privileged to glimpse the glory of God in his multi-dimensional love, mercy, vulnerability, and grace. Because of Jesus, we know more than just the outskirts of God's ways. We know his heart, and we know that his heart beats to share his greatness, glory, and grace with us, FOREVER!