God: boxes, boundaries, & rules.

I was reading a post over at Alise…Write! and found myself almost breaking out in hives over a couple of sentences in her post titled “It Is Good.(okay, maybe not “breaking out in hives”… but somewhat irritated.)

Overall, her post was actually pretty good. My beef was with the following bolded sentences:

“…these projects point to God. Not to a neat, tidy, polite God, but to a wildly creative being. A God that refuses boxes and boundaries and rules. A God that understands hurt and pain and hope and love; a God that understands what it is to be human.”

The idea that “God…refuses boxes and boundaries and rules” makes it sound like He embraces chaos, disorganization, haphazard efforts. The idea that God is not necessarily a “neat, tidy, polite God” makes it sound like He Who spoke the worlds into existence is a caveman of sorts and not a gentleman.

What does the Bible say?

It’s interesting to note that the Old Testament has roughly 613 commands in it. Some were strictly for the Jewish nation, but some still apply to Christians everywhere today (hello, 10 Commandments).

It’s also interesting to note that the New Testament (wherein the “age of grace” begins) has roughly 1050 commands in it. That’s 437 more commands than the Old Testament had.

Oh, but I thought we’re no longer under the law, but under grace?

We are.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t rules we should be following. (more on this in a later post)

Christ never intended for His children to live their lives as a big, hot, random mess. We should have structure and organization in our lives.

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” – I Corinthians 14:40 (KJV)

Have you read the requirements for Pastors and Deacons? The list is extensive and non-negotiable.

Doing things God’s way.

“Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?” – II Samuel 6:1-9 (KJV)

This passage of Scripture tells the story of David’s desire to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem. And, while his intentions were good, he failed to follow God’s instructions – the result was tragic. Uzzah died while trying to keep the Ark of God from falling off the cart – a cart the Ark of God had no business being on in the first place.

The Ark of God was supposed to be carried by the Levites. That was God’s plan. That was God’s requirements – and He expected nothing less.

Even things like the Lord’s Supper and Baptism have rules surrounding them.

Baptism is to take place AFTER conversion. Baptism is to be done by immersion.

The Lord’s Supper is to be done with reverence – it’s not to be a big party or buffet-style meal. It’s to be a time of self-inspection. Christians who have unconfessed sin in their lives are not to partake of the Lord’s Supper until they get that right.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” – I Corinthians 11:27-31

Boxes, Boundaries, and Rules.

People have often told me that I shouldn’t “limit God by putting Him in the boxes I create for Him.”

Interesting enough, the “boxes” people usually accuse me of putting God in are actually boxes God constructed Himself.

Yes, we should be careful that we are not adding to God’s Word or taking away from It. But we also need to be careful to observe the character and commandments of God.

He has given us boundaries and rules to live by. He IS a neat, tidy, and polite God. And yes, He is also “wildly creative” – just take a look around at all of nature and all the people of the world.

He is not a random Being, nor should we be random in are living. Live on purpose – follow God’s plan. Strive to live your life so that everything you do is “done decently and in order.”

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Posted on October 17, 2012, in Christian Life, Doctrines of the Faith and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. If God wasn’t a God of rules and order, the universe would be in chaos. Gravity, tides, orbits etc are rules that keep all things in place and keep the earth livable for us.
    The order to “produce after its own kind” has never been broken.
    God said He cannot deny Himself or His own nature. He put Himself into a box – a box of purity and the inability to do wrong.

  2. I think I see God as both. While I acknowledge a level of order He also created the wild aspects of nature and describes Himself in such terms. His answer to Job shows this ‘wild side’. He is a God who tell’s us His thoughts and ways are higher than our own. But also what seems chaos to us might not seem that way to God.

    Also I think we all put God in boxes to some degree, the danger is when we assume our box is the ‘correct’ box above others.

    Ultimately? God cannot be confined to a box, humanly we do it all the time. Are we capable on this Earth of grasping the entire nature of God? I would tend to think not.

    (I would also say there is a difference between ‘messy’ and ‘wild’)

    Anyway I don’t think I am adding anything here so I’m off!

  3. Interesting blog. My wife and I once had an experience that left us wondering a lot about boxes – whose they were, especially when it was obvious God sometimes flat- out ignored them. Figured that meant they were ours, not his. The story’s too long to tell here, so I’ll send it to you in an e-mail. (If any of the rest of you are curious to see it, you can – click on my name, then go to the book at the top of the site, go into chapter 4, and look for the section “Do you consider each others’ needs?”) God bless you.

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