Three blind mice explore an elephant: One, on the elephant’s ear, described the animal as being floppy, like a sheet swaying in the wind, sometimes gently, sometimes with great violence. A second, exploring the trunk, described the elephant as a great long tube, highly flexible, sometimes touching the ground, sometimes flinging itself high in the air. The third mouse explored the tail, describing the elephant as being like a great long, vertical piece of rope, also highly flexible, especially at particularly odorous moments.

Of course, each of the mice was giving an accurate account of what they were discovering, but each was only becoming aware of one part of a much larger whole. The elephant is not just a like ship’s sail blowing in the wind, nor is it like a gigantic vacuum cleaner hose. Neither yet, is it akin to Rapunzel’s braided tresses flowing down from her turret window.

In many ways we are like those blind mice. We attempt to describe what God is like – from our perspective based on what we’ve read, what we’ve heard, and what we’ve experienced. The sum of all those things is helpful, that is until we hear someone else talking of him from their perspective, from their theological understanding, from their church’s teaching. It is then that we take into account that, putting all of our knowledge and understanding together, continues to give us but a woefully incomplete insight into the fullness of majesty and power of this Creator God of ours.

King David’s writings present us with exquisite imagery to expand our viewpoint. His earthy, honest, bold words carve deep wells full of emotion, surprising us with his candor one moment and his heart meltingly childlike trust another. Even as the King of Israel, he doesn’t shy away from admitting his dependence on his God Who cares for every intimate detail of a king’s life. Even David’s greatest sins serve as templates for how to maintain a solid relationship with the God of the Universe. His confessions are cringingly forthright. You almost feel the depth, the pain, of his contrition. And you rejoice with him as he rejoices in his awareness of God’s total, only-by-grace forgiveness as it sweeps over him. Truly, what a great God we serve!

In the end, then, it isn’t about a contest, trying to wax eloquent about God. But rather, it is about giving testimony of the ‘personal’ God who has come close. It isn’t about theological correctness or honed exegetical skills. It isn’t about mastery of original languages, wowing audiences with profundity or professorial astuteness. On the contrary, it’s like being ushered in to a five-star banquet, where we rave on and on about the chef, the beauty of his presentations, about his delectable meal, expertly prepared, his over-the-top precision of the placement of every sprig of parsley, every drop of béarnaise. And that’s just the starter course! God’s like that and more, y’all! Savor your feast this week!  PD

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