In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, one of the children asks Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan the Lion, who is a figure of Christ:
“Is Aslan quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver. “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just plain silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God is good. But until we understand the truth that He is not safe, that He is not under our control, until we come to grips with His holy majesty, transcendence, and utter independence, we will never begin to appreciate His fascinating and awe-inspiring character. Indeed, we will find Him boring—as all man-made gods are, and as the one and only true God is anything but.
In his article “Stop Apologizing for God,” Tony Reinke hits on this vitally important subject as presented in a book by Drew Dyck. Tony is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books and Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ. (He also hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts.) I love the way Tony thinks as he analyzes Dyck’s book:
Stop Apologizing for God
When I got my hands on the new ESV Reader’s Bible, I opened first to Ezekiel. I’m not sure why, except I’d long neglected this book, and it seemed like a good one simply to read straight through, unhampered by headings and chapter and verse numbers.
When I came to the end of the Ezekiel, I started over. And then I read it a third time.
Each time I was more struck by the rawness of the book. The prophetic books (like the prophets themselves) are jagged. Ezekiel is abrasive. The images of God are forceful, even when they are sometimes too incredible for the human imagination to picture. Some scenes seem like something out of a sci-fi movie. Other scenes are unvarnished street theater. At all times the book startles with symbolism and heartbroken laments, weighing the reader down under the weight of God’s holy transcendence, almost to the point where we will shatter. And, then, in the turn of a moment, God’s steadfast love draws close, promises to dwell with his people, even to dwell inside his people.
I finish Ezekiel a third time, my mind still swirling, look over at my stack of new books fresh off the printing press from Christian publishers, page through a few of them, but nowhere find a glimpse of the God of Ezekiel I had only a moment beheld.
Except for one. There’s one new title that reads differently. Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God So Stop Trying, is a new book written by Drew Dyck, the managing editor of Leadership Journal. It’s a book that reclaims the awesome God of Ezekiel.
Photo by Rafael H, via Unsplash