There are numerous conceptions of God in the world and many objects that men worship – virtually all of which are the product of man’s imagination and ingenuity.
However, there is but one God who has caused a record to be written stating how He brought us into the world, what He expects of his Creation, and what His plans are for the future, a God who is described in the Bible as :
‘The high and lofty One that inhabits eternity whose name is Holy’ (Isaiah 57:15), of whom Christ said ‘ The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord the God with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’ (Mark 12:29-30).
It is in that inspired record that He has been pleased to reveal Himself, His character and His nature; and it is on these Divine attributes that we wish to concentrate today. God wishes to hear from us at all times, whether the way be hard or easy, but it is important that we approach Him in a way that is acceptable to Him, in order to obtain the comfort and assurance that only He can give. So, let us begin our consideration.
In an earlier article, as a means of understanding the Bible message, we made a simple exploration of the word ‘man’ from which we gained important information about ourselves and the reason why the Bible gives us cause to hope for the future- a hope that is nonetheless conditional upon us taking certain actions.
Now, we turn our attention to discovering what the Bible tells about God himself and we do not need to search very far as the first line of the first book reads ‘In the beginning God…’. The God of the Bible has always been present and in humility we have to accept this fact, as the Psalmist declares
‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hast formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God’. (Psalm 90:2)
The early chapters of Genesis describe the immense power and wisdom that is His, for they show the logical way in which He set about ordering the earth, and creating firstly the animal kingdom, then man, that it might perfectly sustain life, everything being made ‘very good’ in the Divine estimation. That remains true today in many parts of the world – evidence that a great designer has been at work; but as wonderful and beautiful as the natural world is , a contemplation of this will take us no further in aiding our understanding of God himself; it is His word alone that will enlighten us .
At the beginning, man had a close relationship with his Maker, broken by man’s disobedience to God’s command, but it is clear from what is written, that despite this, God wants us to approach Him in the way He has appointed through Christ, but it has to be done in a reverent and respectful way, recognizing our own insignificance and mortality in His awesome presence. Also, He wishes us to have a correct understanding of His nature and attributes, but above all, we must believe in His existence as Hebrews 11 v 6 points out ; ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him’.
Over the centuries mankind has worshipped many so called ‘gods’, and this the Apostle Paul was at pains to point out to the men of Athens, recorded in Acts, when he saw the many idols the city contained. His powerful words that day gave the true situation as this extract explains :
‘Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For, as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare to you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything seeing he gives to all life and breath and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and find Him, though he be not far from any of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring’. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent’.’ (Acts 17:23-30)
Now this is a long quotation , but it is very informative , for it stresses the unity of God; is confirmation of His creative works , and the reliance we each have on His sustaining provision, in recognition of which we should be thankful and desire to ‘feel after Him and find Him’ every day of our short lives. It calls on us to repent, that is, to turn away from erroneous ideas and forms of worship, and to find the one true God who alone can save us. It is as Isaiah declares:
‘Before me there was no God formed, neither shall be after me’ .(Isaiah 43:10)
‘I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside me’. (Isaiah 45:4)
‘Look to me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; I am God and there is none else’ (Isaiah 45:22).
Such consistent words are to be found throughout Scripture; let us take an example where He is described as :
‘The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting’. (1 Timothy 6:15-16)
He dwells in unapproachable light in the heavens, yet as Paul declared to the Athenians, He is not far from any of us through His power, and he desires us to know Him and serve him. The Psalmist states :
‘The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy’ (Psalm 103:8).
He is merciful, but His mercy is conditional as the verses which follow show:
‘But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, ….. to such as keep His covenant , and to those that remember his commandments to do them’. (Psalm. 103:17-18)
It is clear that He loves righteous deeds, but hates iniquity for ‘the righteous Lord loveth righteousness (Psalm 11:7) but ‘… thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee’. (Psalm 5:4).
We can readily appreciate that, as a God of love and mercy He must hate what He sees happening in today’s world just as He did in the days of Noah, as we can read in Genesis 6-8 when he regretted ever creating man. It is often said ‘If he is a God of love why does He allow such pain and suffering to exist? – using this as a reason not to believe in God. The Scriptures are able to answer such questions as we hope to show in a later article. Suffer it to say that He will not allow the present situation to continue indefinitely, and His purpose with this earth will be worked out in His good time.
For it is His intention that the earth shall one day be filled with His Glory as the waters cover the sea, and when that happens the earth will be a vastly different place to the chaos we see today, and it is to a place in this glorious future order that we are invited in His Word.
So, let us make every effort to find God, and approach Him in prayer using the model prayer Christ gave his disciples as the framework for our devotions.
‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’
Above all let us believe in Him, and His power to achieve whatever we ask if it is in accordance with His will.
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