The Flea and the Elephant
“The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man.”
My wife couldn’t find her way out of a paper bag. Unlike our daughter, who can intuitively find her way through cities she has never been in before, my wife is lost the instant she leaves our neighborhood. How she chooses which way to go is beyond my comprehension. No matter how hard I try to understand how she got lost, or where she ended up, I find it nearly impossible to follow her explanation. Nonetheless, she always ends up where she needs to be.
Scripture also can be so absurd, it seems unintelligible. Whether Yahweh’s people are called to walk around a fortified city, playing musical instruments, or use their tithes to throw a wild party for themselves, God’s thoughts are far different than ours on almost every subject. And, yet, He gets the job done every time.
When the LORD desired intimacy, the first thing He did was separate Himself from man. Tearing Adam out of His own soul, Yahweh placed him within the unclimbable walls of time and space. In building a home for His bride, a place where He could walk in intimacy with His children, God made sure to place a tree so dangerous, eating from its fruit would kill His family, tearing apart their relationship with Him in the process. He then allowed an intruder entrance, a creature who purposed to open the door to deception, temptation, sin and death. At first glance, it seems the LORD is as directionally challenged as my wife. What in the world was He thinking?
Incredibly, His first thought was “Emmanuel, God is with us.” When Yahweh created space and time, He imprinted His image on every inch of space and in every second of time. This is because the purpose of all creation is relationship. In what seems the greatest mismatch in history, the God who holds the Universe in the span of His hand for eternity has wedded humans, creatures so small and fragile they occupy virtually no space, for even the merest fraction of time. And yet, everywhere we look we see the image of God and hear His voice calling to us.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Psalm 19: 1-6
Truth can be counter-intuitive. There cannot be intimacy without separation, because one cannot have intimacy with oneself. In creating Adam, a man who lived in space and time, Yahweh created a lover able to withdraw himself from the One who birthed him. The story of God’s eternal romance with man began with the Word Emmanuel. It is a word that tells us everything about our past, our future and our purpose. Most importantly, it tells us what we need to know about God: He is Emmanuel, the God Who is with us.
The Jewish holiday of Sukkot is the most joyous day of the year. It is the only holiday designed specifically for the gentile as well as the Jew. It is the time when Yahweh, Himself, comes to dwell with us in our tents. It is a time when the immense and eternal comes to dwell with the weakness and mortality of man. It is as if an elephant fell hopelessly in love with a flea.
In Leviticus, we are told to make wave offerings to Yahweh. We are to take our gifts to God and wave them before Him, as He beholds the earth from the vastness of the Universe and beyond. During Sukkot, we are to stand under the heavens and wave the Lulav, a simple bundle of four plants, before the eternal Living God of Jacob. In that moment, Yahweh reminds me my heart is large enough for Him to dwell in, and His heart is empty without me. In the smallest of places, for the briefest moment of time, the flea and the elephant come together and find the Universe is not large enough for their love, and eternity is far too short.