To know the works of God is to begin to know God himself. We are constantly describing and defining things by comparing them to other things. This is what God does to reveal himself to us. When God seeks to explain what he is like, he cannot just say, “I am like God.” To describe what an apple is like, you can’t say it is like an apple. Everything you define you define it by comparing it to something else. To define a word you cannot use that word in its definition.
Therefore, to show the world what God is like, God has placed the world in the midst of a story. Everywhere we look there are stories playing out before us, time is ticking onward with things happening every millisecond, and all that exists is meant to point us back to God and help us understand the context in which we live.
God is like a protective father (1 John 3:1), like a tender nursing mother (Isaiah 49:15), like a lover with his bride (Song of Solomon), like a strong lion ruling over creation (Revelations 5:5), like a king ruling his subjects (Psalm 24:8), like a faithful husband to a wayward wife (Hosea), and like so many other created things created to show something of God.
In the book of Esther God’s name is never even mentioned. But it is clearly a story about the sovereignty of God. Through the details of what happens, you walk away learning something of how God is mighty to save. This fact is clear: without these stories there would be no understanding of what God is like. He’s made the world and everything in it as a way of revealing something about himself.
Life is a story meant to give each of us an opportunity to see what God is like. To miss the real point of creation (including our own lives), which is to reveal God, is to miss out on knowing God all together forever. The temptation in life is to think that the stories we live are centered on us. But they are not. All that exist is meant to reveal who God is.
God reveals himself most clearly through his relationship with us. The way God relates to humans is the way he intends to show his invisible qualities in a visible way, thus bringing glory to himself. When you first read Psalm 139, you are tempted to think it is a psalm about people. And indeed it is, but the main subject is not people:
- When the Psalmist explains that God knows his every thought before he ever thinks it (Psalm 139:1-4), this is really meant to reveal God’s omniscience (all knowing).
- When the Psalmist explains how God has ordained his every day before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16), he is really describing the omnipotence (all powerful) of God.
- When the Psalmist explains that he cannot go anywhere without the presence of God being there too (Psalm 139:11-12), he is really describing the omnipresence (all present) of God.
- And when the Psalmist describes how the Lord has delayed the slaying of the wicked (Psalm 139:19) and how he ask God to reveal any sin in him to lead him in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24), he is really describing God’s omnibenevolence (all loving).
In all that God does in his relationship to man, he does it ultimately for the expression of himself which leads to the glorification of himself. The purpose of man is to give God the opportunity to display all his wonder and magnificence for the glorification of himself.
You immediately understand the holiness of God when you read the story of Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6 when he touches the Ark and instantly dies. To read about the life of Peter explains the merciful character of God in a far greater way than the nine letters that spell “forgiving.” The Gospel story, ultimately is a story of God showing the full extent of God’s character in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Indeed, the highest revelation of God came to earth in Jesus Christ, God himself, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
God gives each one of us a story to live so that in the pages of our life and the different circumstances that we face, God will have the chance to reveal his character as he relates to each of us in our varying circumstances. To simply say that God is love, that God is holy, that God is all powerful, does not fully reveal the true meaning of these words that attempt to describe God. To describe and define himself, God gives us stories to live, stories that will bring us to our knees and to the feet of Jesus, the ultimate revealer of God because he is God in the flesh.
So as the clock ticks in our life and we experience different trials and circumstances, both up and down, we must look past the details on the page and look to see what God is seeking to reveal about himself to us through the help he wants to give in Christ.
All that is happening around us is God’s attempt to open our eyes to the reality of his greatness. Without a real story showing what God is like, all we have are meaningless words that move us to do nothing. God does not want this for us, therefore he lets us live a story, hoping we will see that this story should be leading us closer to him with every page that is turned.
Don’t live the plot of the story but miss the point. Everything that is happening is happening so we can know God more.