“I’m a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the Potter is like.” Francis Chan
I came upon this Francis Chan quote the other day. For me it had the ring of truth. It was in a short video of him talking about the topic of Hell. It reminded me of one of my pet ecclesiastical peeves–that of Christian writers “explaining” God to us like we’re a bunch of ignorant proles. In pretty much any Christian bookstore there are dozens of titles about knowing God, experiencing God, describing His attributes, explaining what He’s up to and telling us how to summon Him like some kind of a genie in a bottle–what kind of worship and evangelism makes Him happy, etc. Hmmm, I think we need another book about grace. I know, most of these authors are trying to be helpful. They want us to understand their experience of God and in most cases to share in their joy. Now, I’m more than ready to admit that some of these writers are wiser, more learned than I, and that they have been walking with the Lord for much longer. But I’d still bet that they only know a fraction of the whole YHWH story.
I think of Paul in Rom. 9:20 echoing passages from Isaiah: “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God. Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, Why did you make me like this.”
Maybe we know the whole story. Maybe not. I think scripture tells us what we need to know–not all there is to know. I think there’s a hint of narcissim and OCD in those of us who demand from God that He explain Himself–that He answer all of our questions. In Exodus 33 Moses asks God: “If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.” God doesn’t directly answer his question at that time: “The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” I find that interesting. Give us rest from what? Probably freedom from our anxious striving and questioning when we are truly open to His Presence. In the following verses God indicates that He is pleased with Moses and that His Presence would go with the Israelites. Then Moses says, “Now show me Your glory.” Was he asking or demanding? In any event God gives him a glimpse of his back as He passes by, and I think that’s what we get as well. God the Father, YHWH, is pretty much unknowable by us. We get just a glimpse. Who is knowable is Jesus. One couldn’t go wrong in reading and rereading dozens of times all of the “red letter” passages in their Bible.