God Is. . .
People have varying ideas abut who God is. Some are superstitious about God - knock on wood. Others think God is a sweet old grandfather - can't we all just get along. Some wonder how a "good" God can let an innocent youngster die in a tragic accident - doesn't He care? Others think God is vengeful who will destroy any who cross him. Finally, some think God enjoys seeing His People suffer - Job, Jesus, Paul, Peter.
These concepts about God miss the mark. God describes Himself in the pages of the Bible. Let us see some of what He says about Himself.
God Is Not
Before we get to who God is, we need to know who and what God is not.
God is not made in the image of man, what is called anthropomorphism. People decide what God should be and create Him by their concept of who God is. So we should know what God is not to concentrate on who He is.
"God is not man," He tells us in Numbers 23:19. Well, man lies, and God always tells the truth, always keeps His Word. His Word never changes. His commandments, given on Mount Sinai and written in stone, stand forever. The promises for keeping the commandments and curses for disobeying them cannot change regardless of what some might wish.
Instead of people being concerned about the commandments written in stone (and later on the heart), they are more interested in making stone images and temples for their conceived concept of God. But God explains that He created everything. He does not need a shrine made by man; He does not need food or clothing; He does not need to be helped or served by humans; He has everything and owns everything. Idols need human help. The Earth, Erde, Ge, Mother Nature, or whatever people call the earth-god has to be supported by people - save the Earth! God, on the other hand, saves and helps people, because He is not a man or someone (something) created. God created everything we need for life and breath.
His judgement is righteous. When He said that the wages of sin is death, He meant all have sinned and will die for their transgressions. But, He allowed His sinless son to die for our sins, thereby keeping His righteous judgement and showing His loving kindness.
God is not a man who is wise in his own conceit. God's foolishness is wiser than people's wisdom. The weakness of God is far stronger then the mighty men or their weapons.
(See: Num 14:18, 23:19, Psa 7:11, Act 17:24-29, 1 Cor 1:25, Heb 6:10.)
God is the Father
The Hebrew for father is ab, for daddy, abba. In the Old Testament, God appears to be mainly concerned with defining Himself as Creator and Ruler. He mentions Himself as Our Father occasionally. Rather, it is in the New Testament that we learn a great deal about God as Our Father, which is the way He prefers to be addressed now. Our relationship with Jesus, who is Our Father's first born of many brethren, defines our relationship with Our Father. We learn that Our Father wants many children being adopted into His Family, the God Family. Through Jesus we become heirs and sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God. Our Father cares for us as much as He cares for Jesus. We are called children of God.
Since we are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our very hearts, which cries out to God in ways we cannot imagine: "Abba - Father (Daddy)."
(See: Psa 89:26, Mal 2:10, John 6:45-46, 1 Cor 1:3, Gal 4:6, Eph 1:2-3, 17, 5:20, Col 1:3, 3:17, 2 Thes 2:16, Heb 12:7, 1 John 3:1, Rom 8:15.)
The Father Is Love
The Hebrew for father is ab; the Hebrew for love is ahab. The root for love is father. So when John says God is love he is only expressing what the Hebrew already understands about the meaning of love. In the late twentieth century, the father is not really considered as the loving parent, but that is an anomaly for the father is indeed the fountain of love in the family.
God, Our Father, is the head of the God-Family, a loving head. Now, love is patient and kind. It is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, and endures all things.
God is Love. Let us substitute God for love:
God is patient and kind. He is not jealous or boastful; He is not arrogant or rude. God does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful. He does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right. God bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, and endures all things.
(See: 1 Cor 15, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16-21.)
Father Is the Creator
Our Only Father in heaven is the one and only God who created us. That is what fathers do, create life. Many billions of Earth years ago, God planned to have a son who would be the savior of the humans He would create on Earth. So He created a universe and a planet just for His Son and those who will be His adopted children through faith in Jesus. He created a planet fit for human life, the only planet so created. When the time was right, Our Father in heaven begot for Himself and us, a Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. To this Son, God made a savior for us and bequeathed the governments of the world. We are beneficiaries of God's creativity because of Jesus.
God rested after all He created, He established the day of rest, the Sabbath. He, later, put His Son in charge of the Sabbath and made him lord of the Sabbath. So the work of creation has a weekly pause, a rest, under the authority of Jesus. Soon there will be a millennium rest, a thousand year Sabbath. After that Sabbath God will begin a new creation.
Because Our Father is the Creator, He creates in us a new person made in His image.
(See: Pro 22:2, Isa 40:26-29, 54:5, Jer 33:2, Psa 100:3, Mark 2:28-29.)
Our Father Is the Provider
Obviously, since Our Father is the Creator, He becomes, perforce, our provider. Being a good Father, He does not just hand us everything we want, or even need. He expects us to work. He worked and knows that His children must act as He does. He even commands us to work six days. Most people think about the Sabbath rest, but there can be no rest without labor, as the commandment says.
Nonetheless, all that is necessary for life is available. The orange tree gives more oranges than we could eat during its growing season. We have enough to share. Our Father is the provider. In other words, Our Father has provided us with far more than we need from of His creation. More air, more water, more food, more building materials, more fabrics for clothing, more energy resources, more metals and plastics - Our Father provides more than we will ever need to live life and life more abundantly.
The greatest thing Our Father provides for us is life, and a mind to understand His gift of life to us. There are people who know about Our Father but refuse to acknowledge Him, for whatever selfish reason. Then His nature of providing lavishly is obstructed. Yes, He gives rain in due season, even to those who hate Him. Eventually, their evil deeds bring dire results. He also has cursed the ground and brought dangers to His People because of their faithlessness to "encourage" them to return to Him, so He can bless them in the way He likes.
More than life and life more abundantly, Our Father will provide Eternal Life to those who show by their faith and actions that they want it. In addition to eternal life, Our Father will provide citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
There is nothing Our Father does not provide for us, even chastisement when we need it.
(See: Deut 8:7, 9:5-6, Josh 1:13, Psa 21, 68:19-30, 84:11, 144:15, 2 Cor 1:22, 9:8, Rom 6:23, 8:31-39, 1 John 3:22-24, Heb 13:6.)
Our Father Is Merciful, Kind, and Good
The young man did not want his father to die, but he was nevertheless anxious for his inheritance. While he was dependent on his father, he felt he could never be his own person, be a man. He thought that with his inheritance, well the opportunities were enormous.
He decided to talk to his father. His father looked him strangely and a little sadly. He did not think it was a good idea. By now the young man could think of nothing else. He mulishly insisted that he wanted his inheritance now. His vision narrowed; he could see nothing else. A bit of saliva wetted the corner of his mouth.
If that is what his son wanted, the father acquiesced dolefully. Arrangements were made, too slowly for the young man, but soon he was off to make something of himself. As he was going off to conquer the world, his older brother and his father talked about the strange turn of events. His big brother was less happy than the father, much less happy. He scowled and wondered about his father's playing favorites. He sighed and went about his work, and tried to forget that brother of his!
The young man headed for the big city. The glitz and glamour significantly impressed him. He had money and those who discovered the fact became friends of his money and pretended to be his friend. A country boy, he was soon lost in fast lane of the city. He spent furiously spurred on by those who hoped to gain by his loss.
He forgot his plans of becoming a man, a "world beater." Women, wine and wildness became his three "W's." His fourth "w" became wiped-out. Everyone disappeared and left him alone without anything except his clothes on his body.
The owner of the bar and grill he frequented had some pity on him and let him do the slopwork for a few pennies an hour. Sometimes he found something extra he could eat; other times he could not bring himself to eat those horrid leftovers. He slept on the sawdust floor hungry and despondent. Every night he dreamed of his life at home. What a fool he had been. His father tried to warn him, but his stubbornness sent him into the trap he now lived. He longed to go home. Maybe his father would give him some work and a place to sleep.
One night acutely missing his uppity brother and his father, he headed back home. Anything was better than this life he made for himself. He trudged back over the next week. He begged a crust of bread here, a sip of water there, and a stack of hay there. Finally, he was coming home.
Some of his old servants saw him and ran to tell his father. Ashamed and not feeling too strong from lack of food, he could hardly face his father racing down the path with arms and clothes flapping to meet him. He expected his father to properly blast him for his excess and stupidity. Instead the man hugged and kissed him without limit. He called for the servants to set a feast for him. The young man's eyes were wet.
As the feast was in full swing the father looked out the window and saw his older son sitting on a rock staring out into a field. He went out to him. The son looked at his father. After all the grief that guy gave you, look what you do for him. Here I am your loyal son. What do I get?
His father explained that his son was lost and was now found. So give him a party. He lost more than they could imagine. But his older son, his father reassured him, was steadfast and faithful, and would receive rewards beyond his dreams.
(See: Deut 4:31, James 5:11. Hebrew for mercy is chanan: to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to favor, bestow.)
Our Father Is Our Teacher
Surely, Our Father who created us will instruct us how to live according to the way He made us. Few would ignore the manual for the car, television, VCR, or computer. Yet most ignore Our Father's manual for us - the Bible.
Our Father is the best teacher. He uses real life examples, tells parables, gives plain instruction, and explains everything we need to know and then some. For every situation, for every person of every age and gender, Our Father shows us the best way to go and the best thing to say.
We are made for love and Our Father's way. When we fill our minds with an alien agenda, from Satan, our minds and happiness are severely damaged. Our Father can heal us, but in the mean time we hurt and lose some sanity. When we return to Our Father's manual and follow it, our minds and body are healed
Our Father does not just teach, but as a good instructor and father, He occassionally must discipline us. But the discipline is quick and productive, while not very pleasant.
Our Father Is the Ruler of the Heavens and the Earth
There is a lot to be said about a ruler. He makes laws and enforces them. He has his army; in Our Father's case, his army is angelic. He has his eyes and ears on Earth. He rules fairly. The name of His land is called, naturally, the Kingdom of God.
Yet, people can refuse to be in Our Father's Kingdom, with all of its benefits and joys. Nonetheless Our Father still rules. Those who do not wish to be in His Kingdom will not be forced to live in it. Of course, the Earth will eventually be burned up with those who did not choose the Kingdom of God.
So whether a person believes in God or believes God or not, He is still the Ruler of all He created.
(See: Psa 11:4, Isa 33:22, 26:21.)
Our Father Is the Almighty God
The power of Our Father comes not from His strength, but rather from His Righteousness, Love, and Holiness. His justice, therefore, and abundant righteousness, Our Father will not violate. His is the greatness, power, glory, and victory stemming from the spirit of Light, Truth, and Faithfulness.
When we follow in Our Father's footsteps, He gives us strength as we give Him loyalty and fealty. He is our salvation. He is our majestic Father.
(See: Job 37:22-24, Psa 77:13, 93:1, 99:9, Rom 1:19, Josh 4:24, 1 Chron 29:11, Exo 15:3.)
God Is the Eternal Spirit
Another way God is not like people is that He is a Spirit Being. And being a Spirit Being, He never grows weary or faint. Thus, He is beyond time and space, even if He chooses to adhere to the time and space He created for us.
He is the everlasting God and Creator. All His righteousness and love remain forever. His salvation remains forever to those who want it.
All those who worship other gods will be swept away with them. Our God is king forever.
(See: Isa 40:20, Gen 21:33, John 4:24.)
God Is One
"I am the Lord your God." The basis for all Christianity is the first commandment of God - God is One. When asked which is the most important commandment, Jesus answered, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your whole heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." What made Israel different than all the nations in the world was they believed in one God. Jesus believed in one God, Our Father in heaven.
The one God we worship is the Almighty God; there is none other. The one God we worship is the Holy One who sits enthroned in the heavens. The one God we worship is the Maker of mankind, the Creator, the one from whom all things come, all things. The one God we worship is the God of all the earth. The one God we worship is the faithful God.
The one God we worship is the Redeemer of the world (through the saving act of Jesus). Who is it that begot Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit? Whose will is it Jesus lived to fulfill? Who is it that filled Jesus with the Holy Spirit? Who is it that made Jesus the High Priest? Who is it that gave Jesus the power to heal and work other miracles? Who is it that raise Jesus from the dead that he might be the first born of many brethren?
Only those who believe God is one get special blessings and promises. We get a mediator between the one God and man, the man Jesus. We get justice. We get His might to protect us. We get to be His temple of His Holy Spirit. We get a God who sustains us. We get a God who instructs and directs us in His Way. We get a God who alone can give us eternal life, none other.
Our God's glory is unique.
James tells that the demons believe God is one and shudder. These same demons have been lying to the world for almost six thousand years that idols are gods, that God is trinity, or duality, anything but one. They do not want us to know the God and Father of Jesus or receive the promises connected with that knowledge.
If we do not believe in the one and only Father in heaven, the one and only God who created us, we profane the covenant of faith.
For us, as Paul says, "there is one God, the Father. . .for whom we exist." To Him be glory, majesty, dominion and authority. Amen.
(See: Deut 6:4-5, 10:17-20, Mal 2:10, Rom 15:6, 16:25-27, 3:30, Gal 3:20, James 2:19, Mar 13:29-34, 1 Cor 8:4-6, Josh 22:22, Psa 50:1, 54:4, 113:5, Isa 42:6, 54:5, Hos 11:9, 12, Eph 4:6, Tim 2:5, Rev 11:17, John 17:3, 1 Thes 1:9, Jude 1:25, Deut 5:6.)
God Is With Certain People
Who is God near? Who belongs to God? God is with those who are righteous. God was with Abraham because Abraham believed God and was deemed righteous for that faith. Jesus did God's will from his heart, therefore God was with him and gave him the power to do all the signs and wonders. All who trust in and adhere to the authority of God depart from evil. The faithful keep the law of God in their hearts; so they do not stumble.
God is near to those who do all good things without questioning or grumbling. God is near to those who have no blemish of evil in the middle of an evil generation. God is near to those who take the Word of Life and hold it dear. God is near to those who reverence Him in word and deed. God is near to the brokenhearted. God is near to those who call upon the name (authority) of God.
God's presence or nearness to a person has certain positive effects. They will see little trouble; their enemies, who God will thrust them out, will be in dread of them. The faithful's refuge and strength is God; and they will be free from fear.
God loves and blesses those who draw near to Him. Whatever they put their minds to serving God will succeed. He helps them and upholds their lives. God deals with them as precious children. God's power at work within is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think. God works in His willing People to perform His will and His pleasure. What an honor to be following in Jesus's way in doing God's will.
When Jesus who was nearest to God glorified God by what he said and did, God glorified him. So God will glorify those who glorify Him by their imitation of Jesus. Amen.
(See: Gen 21:22, Num 23:21, Deut 4:7, 7:21, 33:27, Psa 14:5, 46:1, 34:9, :18, 37:31, 54:4, 56:9, 145:18, John 3:2, 13:31, 2 Tim 2:19, Phil 2:13-16, 90:1, Josh 1:9, 1 Sam 10:7, Gen 26:24.)
- Gil Kovacs
for the Sabbath Christian Church