Understanding and Knowing God
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23–24.
You will recall that yesterday I pointed you to you Bible, and spoke of the difference between knowing God and knowing about God. I suppose you could say that I was trying to draw a distinction between thinking about God as a concept, and relating to God as a person.
Ah, one might object, but how can we relate to God? After all, if God is infinite how can we as finite creatures know anything about him? Surely that’s as ridiculous as expecting a goldfish to carry out psychoanalysis on the owner who sprinkles flakes of fish food into the bowl!
In one sense, I would tend to agree. We must beware of simply making God a bigger version of ourselves at our best. God is other, which is why we have to allow him to disclose himself to us. This is why it is important to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves, and not filter them through whatever views our wider society holds.
However, as the verses from Jeremiah demonstrate, we should not simply push God so far above the heavens that we despair of knowing anything about him. As the LORD says: “let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me”. Knowledge of God is possible, and something we can strive towards. The gulf between the Christian and God is not so vast that it cannot be bridged. The all powerful God does, after all, have the power to communicate to us.
The key is to seek God humbly. To allow him to speak on his own terms. That is something worth more than human riches, strength or wisdom. That is something eternal.