“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
The God of the Bible is very surprising. He is nothing like the theological figments of unregenerate man’s imagination. The Bible makes it very clear that fallen man’s unaided “wisdom” is utter foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Unless God guides man’s thinking, man’s best attempts to understand ultimate reality are doomed to fail. “The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man,” wrote the psalmist, “that they are vanity” (Psalm 94:11). Corollary to this, the wisdom of God, expressed in how He has chosen to govern the world and disclose Himself to man, is utter foolishness to the unregenerate (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23; 2:14). God’s people have always faced the challenge of resisting the prevailing “wisdom” of their age. The deception can be subtle but nonetheless devastating to our proper understanding of God. Throughout the church age, for instance, some of the most brilliant theologians were influenced by some branch or other of Greek thought. This was helpful in articulating, in clear and precise terms, and in a rational, non-contradictory way, difficult and complicated doctrines such as the doctrine of the Trinity. There is a temptation, however (to which many have succumbed), to exchange our basic, foundational beliefs from the clear declarations of Scripture to the opinions of so-called brilliant men. Man’s “wisdom” for instance, insists that God is so transcendent He surely would not involve Himself directly with the affairs of this world, nor would He be moved with emotions such as love, anger, hate or compassion. Some have gone so far as to insist that God only indirectly created the world, using mediators of one kind or another to bring the world into existence. Scriptural truth slashes through all of this errant nonsense. The holy, transcendent God of heaven is also the immanent, covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He created the world Himself, directly, without anyone’s help. “I have made the earth,” says the LORD, “and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded” (Isaiah 45:12). Our God is intimately involved in the world, moment by moment, being especially mindful of us His special image-bearers (Psalm 8). So far from being impassive, our God is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). His love, care, and concern for us came to maximal expression when He entered the human family in the Person of His Beloved Son to save us from our sins (1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 5:8). He is not distant or uninvolved (1 Peter 5:7). He is our very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1), the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.