Perhaps it is fear of the unknown or maybe it is just man’s ego, but for whatever reason people like to keep God in a box. They want to know exactly what He will and will not do. There has to be a way to explain Him and/or understand Him. They want to be able to see Him or hear Him so that He can be real to them. This attitude is not new, it goes back to Moses and beyond.
Exodus 3:13&14: And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
Moses said that the people would want to know who God was and God said to tell them that He would be whatever He needed to be in the situation. The phrase “I Am That I Am” means that “I will be whatever I need to be”. But that is too big for people. They want to know what God looks like, does He have any limitations, where is He? Some feel that if they can’t figure Him out then He can’t exist.
If people can figure Him out then they can confine Him. If they think that God is in a church building, then they can relax. They know where He is, so be good when you go to church and don’t worry about it the rest of the week. If they can just pin Him down, then they can be comfortable. Again, this is not a new concept. In Isaiah, the prophet said that people wanted to make idols in the image of God. They tried but how do you make an idol to represent a God as big as our God?
They wanted a God that could be likened unto something they could understand. Then they could put Him in a room so He could not move and they could go about their lives. God asks Israel who they were going to liken Him to. Is there any being that could hold the Pacific Ocean in one hand and the Atlantic Ocean in the other? Quite an image and that is just one comparison.
If you are willing to accept God for Who He is and not try to put Him in a box, then maybe you will not keep your own life in a box. When it is time to change, you will be more willing to change.
In Acts we read that when Peter was praying, God showed him a vision of unclean animals and told him to rise and eat. Peter said no because it was against his past beliefs. But God showed him three times and Peter started to consider. Peter didn’t put God in a box, so this also allowed him to see his own life in a new light.
The Apostle Paul also faced a moment of change when he had to consider that maybe God was bigger than he thought. Paul had persecuted the church in the name of God, because that is what he thought God wanted. When he realized that Christ was the Messiah he was willing to change.
Unfortunately, there were others in Acts who were not as willing as Peter and Paul. James refused to believe that God could be anything other than what he had known from the past. God was in a nice comfortable box and James did not want to let Him out.
Those who try to put God in a box will limit their lives as well. My prayer is that we can see God as the limitless, magnificent God that He is and see ourselves growing more each day.