Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Fish Knows

A powerful man stands in his office, looking through the glass that makes up his wall, down onto all of his factory. The workers scuttle around packaging this, examining that, putting price labels on all of his ware. Of course, all of this is only his in the sense that he owns all of it. He didn't actually make any of it with his own hands. But at the end of the day, he gets the money for it, no matter whose hands toiled over it. He gets the money. He's the big dawg.

His eyes shift to a worker who skins the back of his hand on a conveyor belt. He cusses. He steps away from the belt. His mouth is moving; he's saying something. Or is he yelling it? He makes hand movements with motions stiff and jerky. His face is turning another color. He points up to the powerful man's office which, in the way of two-way glass, blankly reflects a crude, warped version of the factory around him. He yells something toward it which the powerful man barely hears, but to which he does not respond. The irate worker can't see anyone, but he knows who's supposed to be up there. He knows his position, that is, if he's ever even up there. A few workers turn their heads, but mostly, they just keep working.

The powerful man keeps watching. A counselor comes soon and gently sweeps the man away. He'll come back to work soon. It's all just a part of the business, taking care of his workers so they can keep making him money. If the measures he's set up for such outbursts don't work, he'll end up firing the irate worker. He doesn't want to do that. He'll have to find someone else to take the worker's place to do his work. But, no matter, he'll still get the money at the end of the day, because he's the powerful man. The powerful man uses his power to get himself money. He's good at it.
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His Sovereignty is easy lately. It makes sense. My whole God-view has been redone, it seems, but it's been over a long period of time, hair by hair. He gets the glory no matter what. He is omniscient. He upholds the truth, so the truth is upheld without question. And the truth is that He is the big dawg, that He is the only big dawg. So the only possible outcome is that His name will receive all the glory. There is no alternative. In the New English Translation, my favorite version lately, God says, "I am God, and I have no peer."

It doesn't have anything to do with us, really. We see our world differently from how it is. In our world, we are the center. We see everything from one perspective, our own eyes. Some part of our anatomy frames every view - an outline of our own eye orbitals, a nose down there somewhere. We're the origin. And we see how the world around us is affected by our behaviors. We see how others' behaviors influence the world we live in. This is all that we know. John Piper said: "A fish cannot know that he is wet. All a fish knows is wet." Just so, we are really not the center. God is the center; He is the origin. God will get all of the glory, whether we are cooperating with Him or not.

I think that's what the writers were talking about when they said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Your view is faulty unless you know who the big dawg is, unless you know that you're really not the center. There's a reason, though, that he says it's the beginning of wisdom. I'm convinced that it's because of love. Fear is the only response when we really get that God is supreme. But we know that perfect love casts out fear. And here is the bridge to this gap between two truths: His name, the one that gets all of the glory, is love. God is love.

Love gets the glory no matter what. Love is omniscient. Love upholds the truth, so the truth is upheld without question. And the truth is that Love is the big dawg, that Love is the only big dawg. So the only possible outcome is that Love will receive all the glory. And that is where we rest, where we dwell: in the paradox between trembling fear and sure love, all for the supreme benefit of His name. There is no alternative.

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