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The simple utterance of this word sends the mind into a chaotic frenzy. An odd way of describing something that is far too vast and complex to completely and adequately understand it. God. Three (3) letters dedicated to a mystery that spans the ages and reaches beyond the breadth of the cosmos. God. The irony is striking. Words themselves are intended to limit; designed to establish borders; employed to restrict; given to define; provided to include and exclude. How then could it profit to speak of the limitless…the infinite…the all-powerful…the all-knowing…the everywhere-present…the glorious…the beautiful…the creative…the perfect…with a single word. God.
Language cannot express that which is completely set apart from the present human experience, so we are left to association, simile, suggestion, metaphor, analogy and parable to . Knowing the implicit absurdity of his efforts, the Psalmist still strives to express the ineffable; endeavors to somehow explain the transcendent majesty of the God of the heavens—the Lord from whom everything that finds existence draws its origins—the one who is set apart from the world because he is not only its Maker, but stands above it as its sovereign ruler.
“The LORD reigns, let the earth shriek ecstatically
Let the many coastlands rejoice
Clouds and darkness surrounding him
Righteousness and justice supporting his throne
Fire goes from before his face
And it devours all around his adversaries
His lightning illuminates the world
The earth sees and trembles
The mountains, like wax, are melted before the face of the LORD
Before the Lord of all the earth
The expanse above gives report of his righteousness
And all the peoples see his glory
Let all who serve idols be ashamed
Those who worship worthless gods
Bow down to him, all gods
Hear and rejoice, Zion
Shriek ecstatically, daughters of Judah
On account of your justice, LORD
For you, LORD are most high above all the earth
You are highly exalted over all gods
The ones who love the LORD, they hate evil
The one who preserves the lives of his holy ones
From hand of the wicked he rescues them
Light he sows into the righteous
And to the right-hearted, joy
Rejoice, righteous ones, in the LORD
And confess his holy name.”
No man, no woman, no sage, no prophet, no icon can ascribe to God that which is truly due him. He is outside our categories; beyond our imagination; free of the restrictions given to him by those who seek some kind of comprehension…any thought of definition…or those who look to conform him to their image. He is pure, unadulterated goodness—fundamentally pure and without error. Operating in relationships with full integrity and the desire to see the other flourish.
So we resort to the very analogies that, in the end, cannot bring us anywhere close to the full portrait of all that God is. “We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God's power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.” No one is equipped to appreciate this “otherness” of God…this “holiness”…this “set-apartness.” But even in this, awe, wonder and worship is reintroduced in the soul.
God is perfect. God is loving. God is gracious. God is powerful. God is Sovereign. God is Mighty. God is not like us.
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