Monday, June 27, 2011

How knowing about God has freed me to know God

I am currently in the midst of taking an Old Testament overview class working my way towards a Business Management degree. That may sound odd but Northwest University has a requirement of 15 credits of Bible classes. It isn't bad since I have a lot of Bible under my belt (get it Bible belt?!) and has actually been refreshing. I'm sure people don't often put the Bible and refreshing together, but I have found it to be that way. The different parts of what I thought were useless knowledge and facts from the Bible are coming together quite nicely. To be honest all my Bible knowledge has made me an arrogant prick at times, but I actually don't care how much I know any more. The beauty of these classes comes at a time when I no longer want to impress any person with how much Bible I know, and would much rather interact with the author.

Coming back to my thought in the title I have a very concrete example. When looking at the Old Testament sacrificial system (you sinned = kill a lamb) seems an odd way to go about things. An interesting point in a lecture, was that the blood cleanses, and the blood was not put on the person, but rather the different items in the tabernacle (Jewish portable temple). The atonement or payment for sin was multi-dimensional. Not only did it take some sacrifice (giving up valuable livestock, the time and effort it took to go through the process), but it was to make payment for the desecration of the tabernacle and by association God. When you sinned back in the day (time of Moses and the Exodus) it was all about restoring the holiness of the people of God, and atoning for your desecration of God's purity. It is a God centric focus rather than a man centric focus.

Knowing this about God is very encouraging! He took the best understanding of the day (common killing of animals as part of deity worship) and met the people where they were at. He didn't have to. He could have told them to do anything, but in His kindness he transformed their thinking to teach them who He was. He was actively sharing Himself with the Israelites, and restoring part of the functional brokenness seen in the end of the Genesis narrative. It seems God is interested in restoring holiness and rightness in a relational way even though humans have given God the finger since close to day one. I don't completely understand, since killing a goat because I lied doesn't seem normal, but that doesn't mean it is any less relational of God.

What I find really encouraging about this is that God meets people where they are at! You don't get a certain Biblical concept? That's okay God will work with what you do know! Have a few doubts about this whole faith thing? God is big enough to handle that too! Knowing a little bit more about God allows me to let go of my illusion of control a little more. Knowing about God expands my view and often shows me how small my concept of Him often is. The beauty of God is the He works with me in my small view of Him too! That is how good and relational, God really is. It is very freeing to trust in someone who meets you all the time wherever you're at in your understanding.

Knowledge for me these days isn't about believing I can know it all, (or even trying to) but rather letting go and trusting in a God who will constantly and consistently meet me where I am at, with what I know at the time. Knowing that simple obedience is enough, is slowly lifting the burden of the religious performance grind (what a drag!) and freeing me to enjoy a life in God. Even this small and tiny understanding gives God glory, and makes Him a little more, well real. Life can be a fun ride, but we only get to do it once. I hope it continues to be a relational one with God.