I constantly find myself wishing I could describe God, but He is indescribable. No amount of words can properly ascribe to Him His glory, declare to Him His kingship, magnify His excellencies, exalt His holiness or project the measure of His love. He is altogether separate from human definition. We are created in His image, not the other way around.
My finite and limited intellect dreadfully desires to complete His psychoanalysis, to explain His ways, to contain Him within an algorithmic equation, to articulate His reason and purpose behind and within the circumstances of life, but this desire affronts the very nature of His being. Above all, my King is holy. His attributes are the various extensions of His core, that being holiness. Because He is separate (holy) by nature, His standards will not match my conclusions about them.
God loves, but out of holy love. He is merciful, but His mercy is holy. He is just, wrathful, compassionate, and gracious insomuch as they are reflected from His holiness. My claims to what is fair are laughable at best when my contentions are brought before this transcendent God who is Creator of the universe, King of kings, Lord of lords, whose ways are higher than mine and whose thoughts are purer than my own. While my desire to intellectually visualize Yahweh defies His very nature (holiness), so His answers, even if they were given, would trample the margins of my understanding. I was not created to understand, but to marvel in wonder. Job teaches this to me.
His crops, livestock, children, home, and health are all taken from him after God approves of Satan’s testing of the faithful follower. Without hesitation, Job is driven to worship his God as he sits among the ashes of his life scraping the painful sores covering his body with a shard of clay. His wife and his three friends all begin to reason over his circumstances in order to bring a sense of understanding to the situation.
For 22 chapters this continues, Job praising God for granting him both blessing and sorrow while his friends try to piece together the puzzle that is the action of God. Chapter 23 poses a turning point in the tale – Job is driven to question. He begins to call on God Himself to account for His doings. And the Lord responds in doing just that. However, it is His response that is so interesting. The King of kings calls out to Job from a whirlwind not with an intellectually satisfying explanation as to the purpose behind His actions, but with questions of His own – four long chapters worth.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? (38:4)
Do you know the ordinances of heaven? (38:33)
Who can number the clouds by wisdom? (38:37)
Is the wild ox willing to serve you? (39:9)
Do you give the horse its might? (39:19)
Will you condemn me that you may be right? (40:8)
Job’s response? Repentance (42:6). This is mysterious because Job had a laundry list of questions that were given no answer by this Divine Voice. God just shows up in a tornado, proceeds to ask questions of His own, and Job responds in repentance.
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know (42:3).
Job found himself in the presence of a Holy God and his drunken need for reason was sobered as the Voice calling out to him was the Answer Itself. He called into question the motives of his Holy Transcendent King only to realize he had stepped into a conversation that awarded more wonder than he could fathom in a thought, a word, or the entirety of his mind. His repentance came from being in the presence of the Answerer, not simply an answer.
God is wholly separate from my fallen, sinful, finite mind. He is holy. Therefore, I do not understand Him better by learning what love, justice, mercy, wrath, compassion, are grace are. Rather I learn those attributes by learning who God is. It is not the answer I seek, but the Answerer. He is a loving lamb and a ferocious lion. He is unexplainable and unpredictable. To be in His presence is to be complete. No amount of human intellect, which is intrinsically fallen, can satisfy the deepest desires of the soul.
We were created to wonder at the mysteries of God; to wander into things too wonderful for our minds that we might be met with the awe of a powerful, righteous, majestic God who is actively orchestrating the events of our world, propelling it towards the return of His Son, the final battle of the cosmic forces of light and darkness, and ultimately to the eternal cries of victory attributed to His Kingdom over that of the devil. We lose something when we abandon the wonder of God. He is bigger than our answers and our thoughts.
He is holy.
And in the words of SM Lockridge, “That’s my king!”
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”