Things beyond my ken

First things first: Does anyone else recognise the above title as a quote from The Sound of Music?

Secondly – and rather more importantly – I would like to share with you some quotes not from Rodgers and Hammerstein but from Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Morning and Evening’ devotional (evening reading for September 5th).

“Some things in nature remain a mystery even to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. …Universal knowledge is for God alone. If this is true in the things that are seen and temporal, I can be certain that it is even more so in the spiritual and eternal matters.”

Spurgeon goes on to berate himself for “torturing his brain” with speculations on truths that while stated clearly in Scripture for us to believe and enjoy and submit to are beyond our ability to understand, take apart and then put back together.

“Do not let me strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love. What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and that should be enough for me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthy breezes that sweep across it….The simplest act of obedience to Him is better than the profoundest knowledge.”

It seems we need to avoid two errors.

Firstly: We need to make sure we don’t shrink from the breathtaking views of God’s awesome, mighty, majestic nature that he gives us in his word. Let’s not avert our gaze from his glorious plans for glorifying his Son and all that he intends for the people he has given him. Let’s go right to the edge of the mountainside as it were and breathe deeply of these truths and feast our eyes on the view they give us that we might live obediently and joyfully in the light of them.

And secondly: Don’t fall off the edge! Don’t get lost in speculation or get distracted and frustrated by a desperate need to have it all worked out. Amazingly we know what God wants us to know:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.   2 Peter 1:3

We can know God! Not as a scientist knows the rat he is dissecting, but as a child knows his father. When Paul writes of knowing God in 2 Timothy 1:12 he isn’t boasting of an A* in a recent theological assessment. No! Paul is delighting in who he knows – resting in a knowledge that leads to trust and perseverance.

As we continually read the whole counsel of God we will know God better – not because we are examining him ever more thoroughly, but because we are revelling in all that he wants us see and experience of him.


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