Not what you think, I promise. We often chide the Israelites for putting God in a box, either when they treated the Ark of the Covenant like a magic charm, or when they thought that as long as God dwelt in the large ornate box they called a Temple, they could do as they wished. The prophets are full of sermons teaching them otherwise.
But we often put God in another kind of box—our miniscule ability to understand Him. We define him by the “omni” words and think we have it down. But even those “omni” words put limitations on God. We come across a verse like Gen 22:12, “for now I know that you fear God,” and suddenly find ourselves having to explain away a clear statement of scripture to make it fit our preconceived notions.
So this class was about, not those “omni” words, but clear statements of scripture about God, many of them God’s very own words. The brother teaching this class is a respected scholar in our congregation. He regularly comes up with things you never saw before, even though you have read that verse a thousand times. He would also not like for me to plaster his name on all the blog posts he has inspired from me (I asked and he firmly refused), but anyone who knows him, knows exactly who I am talking about.
Many times, even though these were indeed familiar verses we were studying in the class, I found myself floundering around in the deep water desperately searching for a life preserver. I am certain you would love for me to share those times. But probably you are like me, much more comfortable splashing, not exactly in the shallows but somewhere closer to shore, and trust me, these “shallows” are plenty deep. In fact, you may never have ventured this far out before. Over the next few Mondays I will try to share a few portions of those lessons. Grab your inner tube and come along with me.
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Ps 139:1-6