The Knowledge of the Holy

Patrick’s reading The God Delusion. I’m reading a book that could be (loosely) described as the yang to that book’s yin…The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. I borrowed it from Lex…what…maybe four months ago, Lex? Something like that. And I’m sorry to say I’m still only on Chapter Six.

They’re not exactly long chapters, either. One of the main reasons it’s taking me so long to get through it and give it back to my oh-so-understanding friend is that it’s not a book to breeze through. It’s no summer fluff novel. But it’s not Dostoevsky either. It’s a doctrinal dissertation on who God is. The truths laid out in it are giant and incomprehensible, but beautifully simple. I’ve never encountered a book on doctrine that made the truth of who God is so clear, while demonstrating His vastness and splendor. Our finite minds simply cannot get a grasp on the greatness of God.

Chapter Six, The Self-sufficiency of God, opens with a prayer…

“Teach us, O God, that nothing is necessary to Thee. Were anything necessary to Thee that thing would be the measure of Thine imperfection: and how could we worship one who is imperfect? If nothing is necessary to Thee, then no one is necessary, and if no one, then not we. Thou dost seek us though Thou does not need us. We seek Thee because we need Thee, for in Thee we live and move and have our being. Amen.”

Think about that.

He seeks us, even though He doesn’t need us. We seek Him BECAUSE we need Him. This blows me away. This should raise some questions in your mind…”Why do you seek me, God?” “When was the last time I sought someone out, even though I didn’t need them for something?”

Then check this out. He goes on to say, “The life of God…is not a gift from another. Were there another from whom God could receive the gift of life, or indeed any gift whatever, that other would be God in fact. An elementary but correct way to think of God is as the One who contains all, who gives all that is given, but who Himself can receive nothing that He has not first given.”

I pretty much lost it when I read that, because this thought came to mind. Being a parent, I often see the things of God from that perspective. I compare how my children see me to how I see God. It occurred to me that my kids pretty much don’t have anything that was not given to them by us (other than some birthday gifts, etc.). But my boys will periodically present me with a gift. Not from a store or something they went out and got for me, but still something THEY see as special…sacred, even.

For my birthday this year, for instance, Liam gave me a package he had clearly wrapped himself. He hunted down and found some Christmas wrapping paper in the storage closet in the basement and wrapped a baby wipes box in it (with a gift inside). I opened the wrapping paper to find the wipes box. I opened the wipes box to find a little Hello Kitty storage container. I opened the Hello Kitty container to find that it was stuffed to the top with cherries that he had carefully washed and packed in the container, because he knew I liked cherries. He had wrapped this gift three days before my birthday, and I wasn’t allowed to open the gift until my birthday. So you can imagine that I was a bit hesitant to eat a cherry then and there. But his face was beaming. I could tell he really was proud of his effort.

Here’s the thing, though…I bought the wrapping paper. I bought the wipes container (where did those wipes go, anyway?), I bought the cherries, Patrick and I pay the water bill (while he happily washed the cherries one by one under what was probably a full-blast running faucet). But the gift was a BEAUTIFUL thing. I didn’t need him to give me that gift. The cherries already belonged to me anyway! The beauty of the gift was in the giving…in the heart of the giver…and in the relationship.

That’s how God feels when we give Him what was already His in the first place…whatever that might be. It all belongs to Him. But when we choose to love Him because He first loved us, clearly God sees all the sacrifice as well worth it. He doesn’t need us…yet He seeks us.


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