What is the highest goal of mankind? Banishing hunger? Universal peace? Loving our neighbours? These are laudable goals which, however, can never be achieved without first reaching another goal. Philosophers talk about the summum bonum, “the highest good, especially as the ultimate goal according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system.” Surely, that highest goal of mankind is coming to know him, that is, God, “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36).
But how can we know God; he is infinite, invisible, and incomprehensible? This is only possible if God takes the initiative and reveals himself. Fortunately, he has done so by revealing his character through comparison with things we see and know. One facet of this self-revelation is his use of members of the human body for purposes of comparison. Theologians call these metaphors, anthropomorphisms.
Ears: Since it is beyond our understanding how God could hear our thoughts even before we think them, (Psalm 139) listen to our prayers, hear our groans and whispered complaints; the Psalmist imagines God having an ear. ”His ears are attentive to their cry…the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; and delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted” (Psalm 34:15-18) “Hear O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer” (Psalm 17:1).
Arm: “The arm of the Lord is not too short to save….but your iniquities have separated you from your God [consider the spiritual state of our countries] “ (Isaiah 59:1,2). It is our sins, not God’s lack of ability to help us that hinder our national development and our individual salvation and growth in grace.
Hand: Imagine cupping your hand to hold a drink of water. Imagine holding the Great Lakes in the hollow of your hand. But more, imagine holding all the oceans and lakes! God “has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens” (Isaiah 40:12). Is God big enough to help us with our problems? Yes. “I foresaw the Lord always before me. He is at my right hand that I not be moved” (Ps. 16:8 ) “Some trust in chariots [and tanks and warplanes]…but we trust in the name of the Lord our God…the saving power of his right hand” (Psalm 20:7, 6). “Your right hand will seize your foes” (Psalm 21:8). Fearful? Trust in God’s almighty right hand.
Mouth: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven…watering the earth and making it bud and flourish…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire…you will go out with joy and be led forth in peace” (Isaiah 55:10-12). Not silent and indifferent, God is a Spirit who communicates through His revealed Word so that joy and peace may flower in our lives in the same way that snow and rain, water the earth, “making it bud and flourish”.
Eye: Since God’s ability to see everything in one moment throughout the whole universe is beyond our comprehension, the Psalmist makes it personal by imagining God‘s eyes are upon us. “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” to see their troubles and deliver them. “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:15, 19). [Remember, we will have troubles but we must trust God WHEN and HOW to deliver.] We are so precious to God, that David imagines God keeping us “as the apple of your eye,” that is, as close as the eye’s pupil. (Psalm 17:8).
Laughs: “The One enthroned in heaven laughs” (Psalm 2:4). Using human imagery, the Psalmist describes the utter foolishness—bordering on hilarity—of nations and rulers who conspire to destroy faith in “His Anointed One,” Jesus Christ, and the extension of His Kingdom, through their plots and conspiracies. (See Psalm 2:1-6) God has laughed at the conspiracies of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, and laughs today at ISIS, but with anger. Judgement will come.
As we use our mouths to speak and laugh, as we see with our eyes and hear with our ears, as we hold things with our hands let us lift up our praise to our great Triune God. “To the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).
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