Miscalculations. We all make them.
“It will only take me 30 minutes to get ready” … but it took 45.
“We’ve got enough milk to last through Friday” … but the jug is empty on Wednesday.
“The bathroom renovation should only cost $____” … but the money’s already spent and we’re far from finished.
Miscalculations happen. Thankfully, most of them are relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things.
But in Psalm 50, “the Mighty One, God the LORD” diagnoses one of the most serious miscalculations any of us can make.
“You thought that I was just like you.” (Psa 50:21)
How might that happen? You thought:
- Things get hidden from me, therefore I can hide things from God
- Lots of people break their vows; God will understand
- I had a good reason, so God will be okay with it
- I forget lots of things; God must surely forget as well
- God will like it because I like it
- God will appreciate the end result, even if the means are a little messy
- It just felt natural in the moment; that impulse must be from God
- This will make me happy and God would want me to be happy
But hear God in Psalm 50:21.
“These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was just like you.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.”
God isn’t like us, and thinking so is a miscalculation of eternally-serious proportions. God is different. Otherly. The Bible word is “holy.” And rather than falling into the trap of thinking he is just like me, I am called to turn and be transformed into thinking just like him.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:14-15)
The standard isn’t me. It isn’t you. To fashion a “God” in our image is idolatry. On the other hand, to be transformed by the renewal of our minds and shaped into conformity with his will is good and acceptable and perfect.
How we think of God matters. It’s absolutely critical that my conception of him be informed by the revelation of himself, not the intuition of myself.