by Farley Sanderford
January 22, 2016
Last year, I studied the life of Moses. And yes, I read through and studied in their entirety the books of Deuteronomy and Numbers. During these weeks and even months of wading through genealogies and overwhelming details, I was continuously wondering why each of these pieces of information were included in the scriptures. And yet, I was also struck by the omniscience and loving care of our God.
One of the most memorable parts of the study was the description of the Ark of the Covenant, particularly the very specific way in which it was to be constructed and decorated. Even more amazing, each of the rubies and emeralds and sapphires that adorned this Ark were loot from the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt. (Check out Exodus 25-30 if you’d like to read about the building of the Ark of the Covenant). If God cares so much about the place that would be His place of residence on earth, something made of temporary materials, then how much more does He care about the details of our lives, His children, His precious creation?
When I think about God and how He cares for the intimate details of our lives, it makes me think of the detailed woodcut prints of Albrecht Dürer. Dürer’s handling of every little line in his prints, and the care with which he presents his subject is fairly remarkable. The attention the artist takes to each line, is a mirror to the creativity and attention the Creator takes with His creation: people, nature, and orchestrating all these things together for His glory. Two of my favorite Dürer prints are the Rhinoceros (1515, The British Museum) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (ca. 1497-1498, Metropolitan Museum of Art).
We are made in the image of God, which means that we are in His likeness, and so we also have many common characteristics, including our desire to create. For some, that translates into skill with the visual arts, for others culinary creations, and still others music, dance, or performing. I truly believe each of us has been given a creative spirit by God, and we can choose to engage with these gifts and talents in a way that is both fulfilling for us and glorifying to the Lord. Not only is He a creative God, but He also loves and cares deeply for us. He cares about the details of our finite lives. The words of the David in Psalm 139 come to mind when I think about how much God cares about each one of us, individually and personally:
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
Each of us is deeply known and deeply loved by our Creator. He knows the number of hairs on our heads, every thought that enters our brains, and the deepest desires of our hearts. Even in His infinite knowledge and understanding of all the universe, He delights in the smallest detail of our lives. The intertwining of these two ideas is incredibly comforting to me. Unlike me, God neither gets lost in the details, nor loses sight of intimacy by only seeing the big picture. I am so thankful that God is both all-knowing and all-loving. Although it is scary to be known completely by the God of the universe, the fact that He is also the embodiment of perfect love gives great ease to my heart.