May God grant that you find His Word in these devotionals, and that He would bless you and make you more like Him through them. May God grant that you see Him, not me.With so many sermons to read I have 20 years of church I can catch up on!
Who is God?
We kind of glanced at that a couple of days ago. In Exodus 3 God told Moses to tell the Israelites “I AM” sent him.
As you read through the Old Testament, there are at least four base Hebrew words that are used for God, along with a number of other names used to describe various attributes of God.
One of those words is אֱלֹהִים (’elôhîym) which is the generic name for “god”. In fact God uses that word to describe people who are made in the image of God in Psalm 82: 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 “Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.”
Think of that. God has called us gods, beings made in His own image. That means we have standing in God’s eyes. We have dignity. We have identity. We mean something to Him.
A second word is יְהוָֹה (yehōwāh), Jehovah. That is the proper name by which God calls Himself and we usually say “Jehovah”. It is closely related to the Hebrew word “to be”.
אֲדֹנָי (’ăḏônây) is a third word. The Israelites considered it improper to use God’s name Jehovah in everyday talk. They took that commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain” seriously. Every time they came across the word “Jehovah” as they read through the Old Testament they substituted Adonai.
And some of that needs to rub off on us. God wants us to call Him Abba, Father or Daddy, because He wants us to know Him and trust Him. He is not untouchable. We can come to Him, know Him. We can love Him; He loves us as a father loves his children, and we should love Him as children love their father.
But He is also holy and righteous and just, and we need to have a reverent attitude when we come to Him. He should fill us with awe. We should not take Him lightly.
When God told Moses by what authority he was leading Israel in Exodus 3, He said to use the name “I AM” (הָיָה hâyâ) and “I AM THAT I AM”, which, as said before, is closely related to Jehovah. “I AM” is the Hebrew word we translate “to be”.
I’m going to “borrow” from John Piper ten things he said about what it means that God is “I AM”.
1. He never had a beginning. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is. And always was. No beginning.”
2. God will never end. If he did not come into being he cannot go out of being, because he is being.
3. God is absolute reality. There is no reality before him. There is no reality outside of him unless he wills it and makes it. He is all that was eternally. No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God.
4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is.
5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. The entire universe is utterly secondary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God's decision to keep it in being.
6. All the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to substance. As an echo to a thunderclap. All that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies, is, compared to God, as nothing.
7. God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is.
8. God is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no law-book to which he looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.
9. God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth. All reality that is outside of him he created and designed and governs as the absolute reality. So he is utterly free from any constraints that don't originate from the counsel of his own will.
10. God is the most important and most valuable reality and person in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe.
Now, the bottom line for us is that God is not subject to what we say or do. God defines Himself. We cannot define God. If we try to say “my god would not do this” or “my god would not say that” we are defining god according to our own ideas, limiting Him to our own imagination and intellect and wisdom. We are trying to create gods after our own image.
We can and should claim God for our own, the way Ruth did in Ruth 1: 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
And as you read through the Old Testament you can see some people talking to the prophets about “my God” if they have a good relationship with God. If they are like King Saul or Ahab who rejected God, they talk to the prophets about “your God”. Watch for that. Can you say that Jehovah is “my God”, or is He “your God”?
If we are going to get to know who God is, we need to look into His Word, the Bible, and get our understanding of who He is, what He does and what He says, from what He has told us about Himself, not from our imaginations.
When people build houses, they like to get down onto bedrock because that doesn’t move. When we build our lives, we need to base them on the true God who doesn’t change with time. If we “imagine up” our own gods, those images will change with our feelings, with circumstances, with outside peer pressure, and all kinds of other things. We want and need to base our lives on a God who won’t shift.
When you read that God said I AM, think Psalm 90 : Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.