Knowing God, Chapters 7 and 8

Knowing GodWe’re continuing to read Knowing God by J. I. Packer along with Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together Series. This week we are in chapters 7 and 8.

Chapter 7, “God Unchanging,” opens with the scenario of reading the Bible but not getting much out of it because it seems so far removed from one’s own life. “We don’t live in the same world. How can the record of God’s words and deeds in Bible times, the record of His dealings with Abraham and Moses and David and the rest, help us, who have to live in the space age?” (p. 76).

Packers answers that it is true that we might experience a different “space, time, and culture,” but “the link is God Himself. For the God with whom they had to do is the same God with whom we have to do,” (p. 76), and He hasn’t changed in the meantime. He quotes A. W. Tozer as saying, “He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse.”

Packer then elaborates on the points that God’s life, character, truth, ways, purposes, and Son do not change. He lists a few texts where God is said to have repented, but those refer to “a reversal of God’s previous treatment of particular people, consequent upon their reaction to that treatment. But there is no suggestion that this reaction was not foreseen, or that it took God by surprise and was not provided for in His eternal plan. No change in His eternal purpose is implied when He begins to deal with a person in a new way” (p. 80).

While it is a comfort that “fellowship with Him, trust in His Word, living by faith, standing on the promises of God, are essentially the same realities for us today as they were for Old and New Testament believers,” it is a challenge as well. “How can we justify ourselves in resting content with an experience of communion with Him, and a level of Christian conduct, that falls so far below theirs?” (p. 81).

Chapter 8 explores “The Majesty of God,”and Packer asserts that “Christians today largely lack” the knowledge of God’s greatness and majesty, “and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby…Modern people…cherish great thoughts of themselves” but “small thoughts of God” (p. 83). The emphasis today is on the personal interest and care God extends towards His loved ones, and while that is a blessed truth, it can’t offset His majesty and greatness. The rest of the chapter is a wonderful walk through the Scriptures that give us glimpses of His majesty and a reminder that we need to “‘wait upon the Lord’ in meditations on His majesty, till we find our strength renewed through the writing of these things upon our hearts” (p. 89).

4 thoughts on “Knowing God, Chapters 7 and 8

  1. I enjoyed both of these chapters. I’m glad you brought out the point that nothing takes God by surprise. I like being reminded of that. Chapter 8 is worthy of a blog post all on its own–the majesty of God is amazing. I like how Packer encouraged us to compare it with what we think is majestic here, and know that God’s majesty far exceeds it all!

  2. What a pretty doily. I love doilies especially ones made by good friends. BRAVO for losing 2 lbs. It seems like such a small amount but it’s so hard to lose just 2 lbs. so bravo to you!!
    Hope you have a lovely Lord’s Day!

  3. Pingback: Knowing God, Chapters 19 and 20: Adoption and Guidance | Stray Thoughts

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Knowing God | Stray Thoughts

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