God Math

3-12-13 numbersDuring my attempt at sales, the motto was “It’s all about the numbers.” While I worked in education, the question was, “What do the research numbers indicate?” When goal setting was my intense draw, the idea that “what you measure grows” was the driving force behind SMART goal setting.

While math has never been my strong suit and numbers and statistics don’t flow easily through my thinking, I get the meaning behind each of these sayings. But, I don’t completely agree with them. Some part of me always felt like the numbers weren’t always getting at truth.

On a more personal, even intimate, level, numbers sometimes consume my thoughts and really distort my perspective. The number on the scale. The numbers on my blog’s stats page. My running mileage. My running time. The credit card bill. The bank account. Even the number of pages I read. And, the weight of numbers grows heavier when I compare my numbers to other people’s numbers. Never good enough.

They say that numbers don’t lie, but they sure don’t always make any sense in guiding my steps. But God math does. God math may not add up with man’s numbers, but it sure makes sense when viewed in light of eternity. That’s because God math gets at the truth. God math is as real as it gets.3-12-13 numbers 2

When God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorra, He agreed to not destroy it if there were just 10 righteous people living there. (Genesis 18:16-33)

God continued to reduce Gideon’s numbers until the total would clearly indicate that God, not man, won the victory. (Judges 7)

God cautioned David to not count the people. He warned Him that the numbers didn’t matter. David didn’t listen, and the consequences were devastating. David’s math certainly failed to line up with how God wanted him to think of the numbers. (2 Samuel 24)

Jesus encouraged leaving the 99 to seek the one who is lost. (Matthew 18:12)

And God sent His only Son to die for the sins of all mankind. Just One atoned for the sins of ALL (John 3:16-17).

Nope, God math doesn’t make sense in human terms, but oh my does it resonate deeply in light of eternity.

Most likely, my thoughts will always feel like they are wading through mud when I try to do math and make sense out of numbers. Yet, God math continually makes more and more sense to me the more I decrease while He increases.

DISCUSSION: How do you feel about God math?

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17 thoughts on “God Math

  1. Kari,
    While I love what God did with math and all the intricacies of it
    I know he values other things more than math and numbers. I know he does not place
    Value on numbers; I know he can do more with the one than the many
    And cares for the one as if there were not a multitude. At times I think it is more important
    To take care of a few rather than reaching the many.

  2. I like God math because He doesn't compare my numbers to someone else's numbers. I am too prone to doing so and it is refreshing that He looks at my numbers and doesn't compare. When I was a teenager i heard someone say, and I wrote it in the fly leaf of my old Bible: God + me = majority. That is math only God can comprehend. Thanks for a good reminder today.Kari.

  3. Kari, I thought your Bible examples were so pertinent to blogging. I'm going to write those passages down and go over them more thoroughly. Recently God has convicted me to give up my "numbers" altogether – for both blog stats and app sales. So you can see why I'm curious to look at the Bible passages, the Gideon and David one in particular, but I think the lost sheep also applies. I feel like at this time in my spiritual (and blogging) life, it is sin for me – not for everyone else – to check stats because they're a temptation to make blogging about me and not about loving others and glorifying God. I'll keep at that indefinitely until it's not a stumbling block. It hasn't been that long, but it's already making a difference in my walk with God and peace of mind.

    • One reason I don’t look at stats much is because of how much I know I could get obsessed about them. I struggle with comparisons too, so I find it best to avoid that as much as possible as well. Like you, blogging gets to be about me rather than Him all too easily. It helps me to be reminded that God views numbers very differently than we do, and I want to pursue His heart in this (and every area).

  4. 40 is a number that represents a time of trial and testing, twelve disciples that was so important that when Judas took his life, he had to be replaced, 7 is the perfect number as in a complete week, and 3 is the trinity…. numbers all have a purpose and meaning in God's economy. I believe numbers have spiritual purpose and offer a message for us to take note of. Good reminder Kari…

  5. Math is the bane of my college existence! I struggled with Algebra and although I understand the concepts of statistics, I always struggled through the math formulas that were part of statistics. I see the reason for statistics, but feel that it is too subjective. With statistics, you can slant the results to support your way of thinking or beliefs. One easy example is to look at the last election! News media can slant a result to make the population THINK that something is leaning a certain way and I think that influences voting decisions, etc. Anyway – the point of my rambling is that God's Math is not subjective. It is not left open to interpretation. It is what it is and it makes life so much simpler!
    We compare each other at everything – weight, money, height – and we are judged by numbers as well. Look at credit scores! Again – I understand the reason behind having them, but again – they are subjective and may not tell the whole picture of a person. If you think about it – Man's numbers really do lie but I agree – God's numbers never do.

    • Such a terrific point, Angie! We have become masters at manipulating numbers (stats) to create a reality that best suits our purposes. Happens in every area from politics to medicine to marriage. But God math cannot be manipulated. It’s point is clear. We are even taught in college to manipulate statistics. But the Bible clearly teaches that man’s numbers do not reflect God’s reality, which is the ultimate truth.

      P.S. I am so glad you are back, my friend. Hope to connect more face-to-face.

  6. Kari, not only did I enjoy this blog, but your guest blogs this week as well! But I could not comment on that one for some reason. I do not do well at math, but I am coming to understand better each day God's math. The book One Thousand Gifts has a lot about humility and decreasing our self-will so we can be more like God. I think often of Jesus example of little children…..the poor, the humble, they will be blessed. Thanks for sharing your heart and your life with us! M

    • Humility and decreasing self-will certainly show up a lot as areas on which I need to focus. Becoming more like God, certainly my goal. Jesus' example always gives us a right focus.

  7. I think God narrowing Gideon's army down to a small number is a great example of God math. I mean, how wild and crazy is that? God will often make things look as bad as possible so that he will seem as great as possible when he rescues.

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