The otherness of God   Leave a comment

Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?
–Robert Browning

If Robert Browning’s quote is to be applied, the only valid interpretation that would do justice to the man what be to add the scriptural maxim “the just shall live by their faith.”

Apart from this faith it is impossible to please God, so the scripture continues to say, for they that come to God must be is, and that He is a rewarder of them who seek Him. Browning lived in an age where the God of the Bible was still held in awe, even skeptics of the day held some reverence for God in their hearts.

So when he says “a Man’s reach should exceed his grasp” this is not an encouragement to be more materialistic. While everyday living is a breeze for some, for most it is hard, faith in a God who never changes, encourages us to grasp for the strength to do what we need to everyday and to live out the divine command of loving one another.

If there is one thing that is out of our reach it is first a love for God, unless He gives it and a love for each other, which flows from that. History and even switching on the television teaches us one thing, that human nature is depraved to the core and without divine assistance we are self centered and driven. Faith in God turns that around, it makes us conform to God’s norm of love and sacrifice.

Our reach then if it is only for earthly comforts is in vain, for in itself it will pass, and we have eternity to then contemplate the vanity of chasing after such things. I speak to myself more than others, the god most have in mind is far too small it is an idol that we can compartmentalize. The God of the Bible is totally other to our thinking, and if we would reach our grasp in faith, we should see and taste His goodness.

I understand the rest of Browning’s quote with reference to heaven, heaven is where God is, and if we extend our grasp to walk in relation to Him, by following His decrees and purposes then heaven is just a breath away. It is hard for people to trust. And in most cases it is appropriate not to trust people unconditionally, but love them only unconditionally. God is to be trusted, that is how we show we love Him, and People are to be love unconditionally not always trusted. Because we are fallible creatures, prone to self-deceit and manipulation.

So here is the challenge for today. What you have reached for in the past, take the step in faith and grasp the hand of God, dare to be more than you are right now. And with the help of the one who has reached His hand to save you from your sin, walk by faith in God’s Word and let yourself be led by His Spirit, in your everyday affairs.

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Posted January 7, 2010 by Reformed and renewed in Uncategorized

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