The Concept of God; July 3, 2017

1 Kings 8:27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”

It may have been Solomon’s intelligence that enabled him to have this revelation of God’s infinity. Given the general theological concepts of the day, this seems rather remarkable. That said, we are back to the extreme irony of the idolatry he engaged in to mollify his foreign wives. He may have justified it by saying those idols weren’t real gods, which is true enough, but he was still engaging in expressly forbidden behavior, and the impact on others of his doing such a thing was immense. We are back to the simple fact that even though he knew how big God was, he forgot how small he was. That never works! Humility is absolutely essential, because pride will blind us in amazing ways. It is only when we get a glimpse of how small and sinful we are that we grasp how magnificent, how truly amazing, the grace and love of God are. We sing, Amazing Grace, but then turn around and take that grace for granted. We are indeed important, but only because God has chosen to make us important by focusing His love on us. Why He would do that is the greatest of all mysteries! We need the grasp of how big God is that Solomon had, and at the same time be fully grateful for the incredible miracle it is that He loves us.

Solomon’s concept of God is particularly lacking in Japan, where traditional Shinto has assigned deity to any and every impressive natural feature, from the sun on down to impressive trees. That makes it all the more interesting that Michio Kaku, the ethnic Japanese astrophysicist who is one of the main sources of String Theory, has come out clearly to say that the structure of the universe demands a Creator to have put it all together. That’s a far cry from animistic Shinto! Sadly, however, Mr. Kaku hasn’t been able to make the leap of faith to believe that this Creator cares about and loves each human being. I deal with people’s concept of God all the time, seeking to help them understand how big and great He is and how absolutely amazing it is that He would love us enough to send His Son to save us from our own sins. I recall the blank look I got from the CEO of the company that operates the wedding chapel where I do weddings when I read this verse in the dedication ceremony they asked me to hold for the chapel building when it was built. I had him promise, in front of the assembled guests, that he would not put the chapel to any use that would dishonor the name of Christ. I’m not sure he’s kept that promise! It all comes down to simple, childlike faith that God is my Daddy, and He loves me. That is the Gospel I preach.

Father, I have demonstrated abundantly that I can’t get through to people by my own strength and wisdom, so I ask You to do so by Your Spirit. Open their eyes to You and to themselves, so that they may indeed repent and believe, for their salvation and Your 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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