Knowing God


“WOW” isn’t quite articulate enough, so let me try and put some thoughts on screen about my reactions while reading this classic by J.I. Packer.

I just finished chapters seven and eight: “God Unchanging” and “The Majesty of God”.

“God Unchanging” addresses the dismaying disconnect many of us experience when reading the Bible.

“But as we read, we get more and more puzzled. Though fascinated, we are not being fed. Our reading is not helping us; it leaves us bewildered and, if truth be told, somewhat depressed.…

“What is our trouble? Well, basically it is this. Our Bible reading takes us into what, for us, itsquite a new world—namely, the Near Eastern world as it was thousands of years ago…

“It is all intensely interesting, but it all seems very far away. It belongs to that world, not to this world.…

“But how can this sense of remoteness from the biblical experience of God be overcome?…

“The link is God himself.”

With scripture references, Packer explains the unchanging nature of God.

  • God’s life does not change.
  • God’s character does not change.
  • God’s truth does not change.
  • God’s ways do not change.
  • God’s purposes do not change.
  • God’s Son does not change.

Then Packer concludes the chapter with a challenge—it’s a challenge to me anyway:

“If our God is the same as the God of New Testament believers, how can we justify ourselves in resting content with an experience of communion with him, and a level of Christian conduct, that falls so far below theirs? If God is the same, this is not an issue that any of us can evade.”

Mouth agape, I turned the page to “The Majesty of God.”

Today the emphasis seems to be on the personal relationship with God. Packer and others point out that this view tends to limit God: make him small, make him seem too human.

I forget sometimes how majestic God is. He’s majesty personified. He is Majesty. Greatness. Unlimited.

Packer references God’s rebukes to us in scripture—essentially, “Don’t you understand who I am? Don’t you know the truth?”

“The rebuke is well deserved by many of us. How slow we are to believe in God as God, sovereign, all-seeing and almighty! How little we make of the majesty of our Lord and Savior Christ! The need for us is to ‘wait upon the LORD’ in meditations on his majesty, till we find our strength renewed through the writing of these things upon our hearts.”

Majesty unchanging, limitless.  This great hymn from my Lutheran childhood comes to mind.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

2 thoughts on “Knowing God

  1. First, I love that hymn so much. Next, I believe I might be the only one in my family who hasn’t read “Knowing God.” That should change, especially since I am pretty certain it is on a bookshelf in my home! Thank you for the nudge!

    Liked by 1 person

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