Thursday, April 14, 2016

1 Kings 8:39-40 -- On Knowledge, Fear, and Change

"Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers."
1 Kings 8:39-40

I read this today and I thought about how scared/vulnerable we can be sometimes with people that really know us inside and out.  With people who don't know us, we think, well, they don't have all the information, and so that judgment is easier to dismiss.  When people who really know us well judge us however, it can be awesome and validating, or it can be devastating, because they know everything, and if they judge us, it's more similar to our judgement of ourselves.  And I'm thinking that is what these verses are talking about... that kind of fear, and respect, and vulnerability, with God.

No one knows us like God does... not even our best friends or significant others.  God knows every thought, and he remembers what we can't.  And he loves us more than anyone else possibly could.  That's incredibly validating, or at least it can be, if we stay close enough to God to feel that.  He loves us and encourages us to do good and be better.  He's the best relationship in our lives, if we don't walk away from it.  And he forgives, and gives to all of us according to our ways.

I think where that vulnerability of God knowing everything about us turns into something a little more panicky is when we walk away from him and do bad things.  We don't want anyone to know our evil side.  Or at least we don't want to be judged for it.  We don't want to get "according to our ways" when our ways are bad, and we start thinking that God is suddenly unfair and judgy because he's doing the same thing he does with everyone else.  We're used to, in this life, being able to shut people out and not deal with them if we don't want to.  And we can do that with God to a certain extent, but ... he's God.  We can stop talking to him and refuse to listen to the spirit, but he still knows us.  We can't erase that.

Today, let's remember that God isn't going to stop being God, ever.  He's always going to know us better than anyone else.  So, let's treat God like a friend rather than an enemy and talk to him about our lives.  Let's get his advice, and tell him why we do what we do.  He will listen, and as we are humble enough to ask for help, he will help us learn to change and be better.  He can be the source of the most comfort and validation that we have ever felt, if we can stop running away... and if we're running away from that knowledge, then we're basically afraid of ourselves too, right?  Let's respect him and turn to him to get help in learning about and loving ourselves, rather than resenting him and running away from our need to change.

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