“Oh,the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Romans 11:33
When was the last time you looked into a kaleidoscope? Remember those long tubes, usually made of cardboard with hundreds of little colored beads at one end? Inside, a series of mirrors within the tube reflect the beads, creating beautiful symmetrical shapes that change as you turn the tube. I’m always amazed to think that even though the number of beads stays the same, the patterns change each time you look into the tube. It’s an amazing picture of harmony and order.
I thought about kaleidoscopes recently as I was thinking about the glory of God. I was thinking about the fact that we often only think about one aspect of God’s character. We may look at God’s Word, for example, with only the love of God in mind. We talk about how loving God is, praise Him for His love, and fixate on that one particular aspect of who God is. And, to be sure, God is supremely loving—more than you and I could ever possibly imagine.
But the problem with focusing so intensely on just one characteristic of God’s nature is that we then act as if that particular characteristic is set aside in certain contexts. For example, having focused on love, we turn to passages that talk about God’s justice, wrath, and rightful condemnation of a sinful, fallen world and think, “Hey, wait a minute, where did the love go?” Or having obsessed on God’s grace for a while (again, an infinitely worthy place for us to focus our attention!), we turn to God’s holiness and fail to see how it interacts with His grace.
The glory of God is that He reflects all of these characteristics, all of the time, all at once! He never ceases to be loving. He never stops being holy. He is eternally gracious, righteous, all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere. Like a kaleidoscope’s changing display, sometimes different aspects of God’s glory are brought to the forefront. As He poured out His righteous and just wrath on sin, for example, when Jesus was on the cross, we also see that God’s love and mercy in beautiful harmony was on display. Think of where you would be if God was just but not compassionate. All-powerful but not good. All-loving but not faithful. The hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” has a great line in it. It praises God as “merciful and mighty.” Where would you be if He was merciful but not mighty enough to exercise His mercy in your life? Or mighty but not merciful? That’s a scary thought!
Thankfully God is not a “one-man band”! His character and attributes march in perfect step creating a harmony of joyful praise to His Name! His attributes roll into one huge statement about the radiant expression of all that He is in all His unsurpassed, praiseworthy, stunning perfection.
Our joy is that we can spend not only this lifetime, but eternity, gazing into the kaleidoscope of God’s glory. Moment by moment, day by day, new reflections of His character and nature can captivate and motivate our passion for Him. I can’t think of anything more beautiful or worthwhile! Take a look for yourself today.
- If you’re a follower of Christ, think back to when you first put your trust in Christ. What aspects of God’s glory brought you to that point?
- Consider a few aspects of God’s glory. How does His grace interact in harmony with His justice? How does His holiness work in tandem with His love?
- What characteristic of God do you usually focus on the most? Spend some time thinking about how that characteristic is linked with the other truths that you know about God’s character.