16 August 2013

Who Is God?

Well, PragueBlog readers, believe it or not, someone has requested that I write and post something about the character of God. So, in three installments (naturally), I will share some thoughts based upon Exodus 20:3.

The starting point for a satisfying and obedient life in Christ is our relationship to God, the Father. A correct understanding of His character is what’s necessary for a full life.

God Must Be Our God. Exodus 20:3 states simply and declaratively, "You shall have no other gods before me." God, in this verse, is making a claim on our allegiance. “I am your Lord and God,” He has already told us in v. 2. Now, this verse is an explanation of what that means.

He declares that He already is our God. Whether we acknowledge it or not, God is still God, He already is God. He doesn’t need our approval. He doesn’t need us to “create Him in our own image,” as so many have tried – which, in fact, all of us have tried to do at one time or another. There are a lot of more or less standard views about God circulating. You can be an Atheist, who claims to believe in no God, then spends a lot of time and energy debunking the God he/she says does not exist; a polytheist, who believes in many gods; a pantheist, believing that God is IN all things like in the trees they hug and the rocks and the mountains; or even an agnostic, one who is confused and undecided (as though it is up to him.her to decide on the existence of the Creator of the universe!). 

None of these stances change the truth a bit. Believing hard enough in something won’t make it real. I often use the illustration of the rungs on a ladder. If one believes that the third rung on the ladder is not rotted - although it is - it does not matter how fervently this person believes in the soundness of that rung. It will probably break under his/her weight.

No matter what we believe about God it does not change the fact that He is; and that he has been active. He’s the creator and sustainer of the universe. He’s the owner of the universe.

To Know Him is to Love Him. This is the title of an old song in the US.  IF you can’t love the God who is revealed in Scripture, then you do not know Him. You can’t; because He is lovable. What often gets in our way is the faulty perception we have of who God really is. Instead of reading, studying, searching the Scriptures for ourselves, we let others create for us our understanding of who God is and what He is like. But friends, to worship a made up God is to worship a false God.  

Psalm 9:7-18 reads this way:

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.9The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.11Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!12For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.13Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,14that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.15The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.16The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah17The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.18For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
 Next time: "God must be our only God."

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