God, Both Exalted and Near

The same God who in his revelation limits himself, as it were, to certain specific places, times, and persons is at the same time infinitely exalted above the whole realm of nature and every creature. Even in the parts of Scripture that stress this temporal and local manifestation, the sense of his sublimity and omnipotence is not lacking. The Lord who walks in his garden is the Creator of heaven and earth. The God who appears to Jacob is in control of the future. Although the God of Israel dwells in the midst of his people in the house that Solomon built for him, he cannot even be contained by the heavens (1 Kings 8:27). He manifests himself in nature and sympathizes, as it were, with his people, but he is simultaneously the incomprehensible One (Job 26:14; 36:26; 37:5), the incomparable One (Isa. 40:18, 25; 46:5), the one who is infinitely exalted above time and space and every creature (Isa. 40:12ff.; 41:4; 44:6; 48:12), the one true God (Exod 20:3, 11; Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:19; 1 Sam. 2:2; Isa. 44:8). Although he reveals himself in his names, no name is adequate to the purpose. He is nameless; his name is a name of wonder (Gen. 32:29; Judg. 13:18; Prov. 30:4). Neither the hidden ground, the depths [×-ֵקֶר] of God, nor the boundaries, the extreme limit, the very essence [תַּכְלִית] of the Almighty, is attainable (Job 11:7; Sirach 43:31–32). In a word, throughout the Old Testament these two elements occur hand in hand: God is with those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, and nevertheless is the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15).

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