Friday, March 27, 2009

How Great Is Our God

One theme repeated throughout the Old Testament is the condemnation of graven images. The second commandment explicitly forbids the making and the worship of images. The prophets preach against it and condemn it in no uncertain terms. Yet Israel constantly succumbed to this temptation during the centuries of living in the land, from the time of the Judges until the time of the Babylonian exile.

It is not just Israel that had this problem. Throughout the world religion after religion makes images to bow down to and worship. From simplistic animistic religions of tribal people, to the complexity of a religion like Hinduism; even some forms of Christianity produce images to be ‘venerated.” Why is there such an attraction to images?

While many postulate that man simply needs a physical object to fasten upon, and that most are not truly worshipping that object, I believe that there is a much deeper thing going on here.

Creating an image to represent God is an attempt to reduce God to a manageable level; to “cut God down to size;” to put God on a plane where man can understand him; to control the deity.

Most Christians do not worship images. That is one of the commandments that seems to be a moot point in our modern and now postmodern era. Yet I think that we often violate the principle behind this command. We, in our attitudes and too often in our practice limit the infinite immensity of God. We limit the time that we ascribe to him, worshipping at only certain specified times, Sunday mornings or our devotional time in the morning. We limit the places we worship him, only in a church building. We limit our concept of him, thinking of him as a problem solver and only calling on him when we are in distress; or we think of him as a lawgiver, one to be obeyed or we face consequences.

He is all this and so much more.

We must meditate on the immensity of God, on his infinite being. We must marvel at the freedom of God, no one can rule him. We must bow before the majesty of God, he is more glorious than all creation. We must wonder at the might of God, the sovereign over all rulers. We must bask in the love of God, he sent his Son as the Savior. We must continually seek to know him, the unknowable, in a deeper and more intimate way.

C. S. Lewis reminded us that he is “not a tame lion.” We cannot contain nor control God, we can only worship him.

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