never changing. He is immutable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever—the constant. As the Scriptures declare to us there are no shifting shadows in him.
But our knowledge of him, our knowing of Him, continues to unfold and enlarge. As we come into a deeper and deeper relationship with him more is revealed to us. Through intimacy we learn who he is. More and more I understand why the metaphor of marriage gives a limited, yet very beautiful visual of our relationship with the Father.
The revelation has to do with us—not him.
He is the same God Abraham knew, Hagar knew, Moses knew, Ruth knew, David knew, Ezra knew, Esther knew, Saint Francis knew, Bonheoffer knew, C.S. Lewis knew, Mother Teresa knew, Billy Graham knows, Beth Moore knows, Donald Miller knows, John Piper knows and Kay Arthur knows.
The very same.
They were and are not such saints that they have an exclusive revelation of who God is. They were not given an inside track, a back door or initiated in by special rites. These aforementioned people have not been given some special revelation the rest of us are not privy to know. These people were and are not saints as it is defined today. They were and are flesh and blood sinners. They were and are bought and brought into the kingdom by the blood of Jesus. We come in the very same way today. And the God they knew is the one we can know.
This is the God we can know.
There is something to this knowing. Often in the Bible this word was used as a metaphor for the sexual union of a husband and a wife—and he knew his wife. It is more than just informational knowledge, more than academic pursuit and more than head facts. This knowing is intimate. It is revelatory. It is exposing. It is baring. It is experiential.
Since I was seventeen this knowing of Him has been offered to me. God wooed me when other lovers attempted to turn my head. He chased after me when I strayed. He found me when I lost my way. He carried me when I was weak. He washed me when I was filthy. He fed me when I was starving. He pursed me when I ran from him.
And there is such sweetness in this. Such beautiful sweetness in the heart and character of God. (Sweetness has been connected with Shirley Temple, puppies, new babies, and newlyweds—this is not the sweetness I mean.)
This beautiful sweetness is the marrow of who God is. When you break open the shell of a pecan or walnut—the nut-meat is sweet. Not sugary sweet, but deep savory and nourishing sweet. This is why Scriptures says many times: Taste and see the Lord is good.
Even in this God is asking us to know him. To experience him. Taste and see he says. Participate. Engage. Enter.
God wants us to know him.
I have tasted this sweetness of him. And each taste of the reality of who He is and what He is sinks into the flesh of me. Burying and yet, unearthing.
Coming down from that mountain our hearts (mine and Terri’s) burned. Burned as we discussed the reality that there is no other God like this one. There is no other.
Listen, I have looked.
There is no other who will pursue us. No other who will seek us. No other who will come to rescue us. There is no other who will reach down in the filth of our human excrement and pull us out and up into his arms.
All other gods will ask, “What will you do for me?” All other gods will demand a sacrifice of us which we would not give if we could see it in its entirety, in its full length. Other gods demand a reckoning we do not immediately see. Other gods, idols, will be tolerant initially; but they will keep a tally—black marks of what you owe them. And they will extract it from you.
But, you see, our God wants to be known. He longs to reveal himself to his people. Did you catch that?
Longs. Not demands. Not commands. Not coerces. No, he longs to show himself—to us. We, these vile and ugly creatures (and yes, we are. We, the innards of us, can, might and will be ugly. Really, you don’t believe me? Read CNN for five days in a row.)
We are given the chance and choice to know him. Our race does not hinder us, our gender does not hinder us, our age does not hinder us, and our pasts cannot prevent us. Nothing can separate us from the love and sweetness of God.
When this truth becomes embedded in our hearts, when we realize he abides in the ugly place we just talked about, when this truth penetrates the stone flesh of who we are—it will change us.
The sweetness of God will change us.
Rules, regulations, laws and moral codes do not change us. They only momentarily alter our behavior. The law shows and points out where we do not meet the standard. It is a witness against us so that we might know our lack. That we might understand we are not holy.
But it is the sweetness and the grace of God which transforms us.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Please, just taste.