Wise and Holy

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Providence

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

“O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)

“The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17)

The Twentieth Century was one which saw its fair share of dictatorial regimes, and between two World Wars and a Cold War there has been a growing mistrust of power. On an April Tuesday morning in Cannes, Lord Acton once picked up his pen and wrote to Professor Mandell Creighton of Cambridge (later bishop of Peterborough and then London). The good Baron objected to the Professor’s rather rosy view of the past. Famously Acton gave the opinion that: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”.

The letter was sent in 1887 but many, casting an eye over the 1900s, might sagely nod and agree with the sentiment.

This gives us a problem when speaking of God. Surely there can be no more absolute power than that wielded by God. Does that mean that God should be more feared than trusted with this dominion? There are those who simply dismiss God as some sort of transcendental dictator, declaring that they can’t believe in such a figure.

The problem is, whether you believe in God or not doesn’t alter the fact of his existence. I might not believe in the existence of Archdeacons, yet still they appear. The great comfort in all this is that the God who exists is a God who both wise and holy, all knowing and all good. In fact Psalm 145 gives a most marvellous description of God - “kind” - and Luke’s Gospel repeatedly tells us that Jesus had “compassion” for those around him. Power may corrupt imperfect human beings, but fortunately for us God is not a bigger version of a human. He is good. His is not corruptible.

From the Greatest to the Least

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:29–33) - Never feel too unimportant to raise your voice to heaven, or think something is too trivial to bring before God. God may guide the affairs of the nations, but he also notices the individual. He is concerned with the greatest and the least.

The God who Foresees

After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’” (Acts 15:13–18) - From his vantage point in eternity God knows all things, and is not trapped as we are in the narrow tunnel of time. To trust in God is not to place your hopes in one who will be surprised by a turn of events. It is to trust in one who already knows. It is to trust in one who writes his great plan of redemption on the fabric of time, and who brings to fruition plans laid centuries before.

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