Faith Rule #3 – God Is God and I am Not

And neither are you.

You think we’d learn this somewhere along the way, but it is a rule that eludes us. The serpent in the ancient Garden of Eden tells Eve that if she eats of the fruit of the tree she and Adam will be “like God.” They eat it, of course, and learn the hard way that God is God and they are not, and no amount of forbidden fruit will change that basic reality. Moses tries to learn the name of God and is told, “I Am Who I Am,” which is a way of saying, “I am God and you are not – nice try though.”

And the futile human endeavor continues in our own day. There are those who like to speak of God with the familiarity that they might speak of their favorite uncle or a next door neighbor; some love nothing more than to explain to the rest of us why it is that God caused an earthquake in Haiti or sent two planes into the World Trade Center. If we are honest, we are all prone speaking for God to a greater or lesser extent. The other day at a church dinner, a little girl looked down the table at me and said to her mother, “Look Mommy, there’s God.” I have to admit, I kind of liked it. Which is exactly the problem. All of us would like our shot at a bite of that God-like fruit; all of us would like inside knowledge on the name of God.

I am not suggesting we should fall silent regarding God – though in some instances it might not hurt. At the very least, however, we could show some humility. Those of us who preach might do worse than ending every sermon with the words of Paul, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?'”

In other words, “God is God, and I am not.” And neither are you. Sorry about that.

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5 thoughts on “Faith Rule #3 – God Is God and I am Not

  1. These reminders are so helpful. Thank you, but thank you more for being with Tony today during his first chemo treatment. Many of us were praying, but your physical presence helped put a face with the prayers of the people.

  2. One of my prized possessions, which I think you've seen, is a piece of calligraphy Chip Dawson did for me years ago in response to something I had said in a sermon. The calligraphy says, "God's God, and you're not…Get over it!"It hangs just over my desk where I have or get to see it every day. Thanks for another reminder.

  3. Great rule! Your closing comments quoting Paul reminds me of a cartoon I saw. A pastor and elder were in front of a church attendance chart. The arrow was plunging downward. The elder said, "You know Pastor, maybe you should stop ending your sermons with ”Then again, what do I know?"

  4. I am selfish. There, I said it. No matter how many times you tell me God is God and I am NOT, I am like a disciple who just doesn't get it. I found myself last night during the Tenebrae Service thinking about my future. I immediately stopped and whispered those words-literally- to bring me back into focus. On one of the most important nights of the resurrection story I was thinking about my future plans. Extremely frustrating….wonder if I'll ever fully get it.

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