Understanding God

Is God like me?

Our friendships are built around common interests, goals, etc. But God says "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8, 9). How can we be friends with God when His thoughts, interests, etc. are so much greater than ours? How can we be friends when the friendship is unequal?

How do we carry on an unequal friendship?

How are we friends with our children? We certainly do not pick up a baby, unload all of our adult joys and heartaches before it and expect it to understand and give suggestions! No, we come down to their level. Does God come down to our level? Yes! He shares our flesh and blood. Jesus became God living among men.

Yet, just because God did something for us in the person of Jesus does not mean we will automatically be friends. Just because any other person gives me a gift it does not guarantee friendship. We can appreciate benefactors, but they are not by that our friends.

Nor is coming down to our level in the past sufficient. I am not friends with Alexander the Great or Napoleon. We can be friends of the historical Jesus through the Bible today no more than we could befriend Alexander the Great through the writings of the historian. How can we be friends with God today?

What is God like today?

God is very different from us. This makes it more difficult to understand Him, for we notice best what is like us. When we read the Bible we tend to notice the accomplishments, experiences, and failings of humans. But that book is intended as a revelation about God and not just man. We need to consciously look for God in every passage we read, and in every experience we have in life. Fortunately God is also partially similar to us. Let us look for Him.

Let us approach the topic carefully.

There are three ways to react to God. Notice the result of each.

  1. God blesses when He is approached humbly: Ex. 3:1-6 and 6:2,3.
  2. We lose His blessings when we approach scared: Ex. 20:18,19 and 32:1-8. Deuteronomy 5:23-29.
  3. It is very risky to approach Him pre-sumptuously: Lev. 10:1-11.

God Is Personal. He interacts with us on an individual basis. Acts 17:24-27.

God is Friendly. He always listens to the sincere, He understands, He is committed, involved. Acts 17:24-27; John 6:37; 1 John 5:15; Isaiah 49:14-16. Numerous Bible stories also illustrate this.

God is Superior. Isaiah 40:12-18,22-26,28, &29.

  1. He is who He chooses to be. Exodus 3:14
  2. He knows everything. Isaiah 46:9, 10; Psalm 139:1-5.
  3. He has power to do everything. Jeremiah 32:17; Revelation 19:6; Matthew 19:26; Daniel 4:35.
  4. He is present everywhere. Psalm 139:1-12; Hebrews 4:13 (Jeremiah 23:23, 24)
  5. He is eternal. Psalm 90:2; Revelation 1:8

God is Creator & Sustainer

  1. Creator. Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:6, 7; John 1:1-3; Psalm 51:10
  2. Sustainer. Psalm 147:7-9; Matthew 5:45; Luke 12:22-31

God is three united beings.

  1. Trio: Genesis 1:1-2, 26; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19; 1 John 5:7; Revelation 1:4, 5
  2. United: Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Jewish Publication Society Translation) (Hebrew: dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems, shama‘ Yisra’el Yehovah ‘elohiym Yehovah ‘echad) cf. Gen. 2:24 & John 17:21.

God cares for me. Isaiah 49:14-16 (ch. 26:1 & 60:18) Matthew 6:25-33

  1. Physically. Matthew 5:45 & 6:25-32.
  2. Mentally. Proverbs 2:6 James 1:5,6
  3. Spiritually. 2 Corinthians 9:8. Ephesians 2:8-10.
  4. Gives all things. Romans 8:31-39.

When Can I Expect God to Act?

  1. God is not partial.
  2. God acts on conditions:
    1. Sincerity
    2. Humility (which is gained through prayer).
    3. Determination

  3. When God hears there is action. 1 John 5:14,15; Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:8-10 Luke 43,44; Matthew 8:5-13; John 5:8,9; Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 33:6 & 9

Satan attempts to obscure each of the above blessings.

God is love. 1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13; Exodus 34:6-7. Love includes justice and mercy.

God hates only one thing - harm, also known as sin. Romans 1:18; Rev. 14:9,10

How does God handle anger?

Psalm 103:8-18; Joel 2:13; Nahum 1:3; 1 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23

God does not change. Malachi 3:6; Psalm 33:11; James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8

Conclusion: God is very different from us, and far superior to us, but He is similar enough to us that we can know Him, and be friends with Him. And He consistently loves us individually and makes it worth knowing Him. Will we?

Something to think about:

How much do I want God to be like me?

How much do I want to be like God?

How much does God want me to be like Him?