Thursday, March 17, 2011

The god of Our Own Understanding

In an effort to show religious tolerance the phrase, “the god of your own understanding’ has become a frequent introduction for prayer.  It makes me cringe each time I hear it.  Why?  Because it reduces God to man’s level, which frankly screams with arrogance.

“The god,” to me, implies there’s more than one God.  If I think God is a rooster, then hey He’s a rooster.  If I think He’s a tree, then He’s a tree.  If I think He doesn’t exist, then He doesn’t exist.  The Word of God says there is one God…the creator of everything…the beginning and the end.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1)  It doesn’t say a god, some god, but THE GOD, singular, one, the only.  And just in case your understanding pushes Jesus out of the picture, please note, He was there too.  “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)

“Of your own understanding.”  Really?  What arrogance indeed to presume I can ever understand God.  “Who can understand the thunder of His power?” (Job 26:14)  “Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds, how He thunders from His pavilion?” (Job 36:29)  “Who gives ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?” (Job 38:36)

Here’s a big Ah hah for mankind – our understanding doesn’t define God.  God defines God.  “And God said to him, ‘I Am God Almighty.’” (Genesis 35:11)  God also said to Moses, “I Am the Lord.”  (Exodus 6:2).  “Who by His (God’s) understanding made the heavens.  His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:5)

God defines Himself and as much as we may want to mold Him into our own understanding we cannot.  He created us, not the other way around.  Charles Stanley in his devotional today entitled Expressions of Praise said, “People are created for the purpose of bringing glory to honor His name.”

We can understand what God expects of us and we can know His character, power, love, and grace.  “Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them.  I Am the Lord.”  (Leviticus 18:5)  But we (little humans) will never understand Him.  We aren’t smart enough or pure enough. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9) 

Watering down the awesomeness of God by suggesting He is the god of our understanding is nothing short of laughable and shows how very little we understand Him.  “I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God! Who is and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.”  (Revelation 1:8)

Note:  All verses quoted are form the New International Version of the Bible.

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