Knowing God: The Holiness of God, Part 3.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Thus far in our study of Knowing God, we have stipulated that to know God is to know His attributes, which are His personal characteristics. These are those qualities which make God, God. Some of God’s attributes He has chosen to share with His creation. Some of His attributes, He alone possesses.

Thus far we have seen that God is self-existent, He makes decisions, He is glorious, omniscient, omnipresent and sovereign. The most significant attribute God possesses is holiness.

To truly know God is to know that He is, according to Isaiah 6:1-3, holy, holy, holy. I Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Peter refers us to Leviticus 11:44.

What does it mean when the Bible says that God is holy? Holy, or holiness, is defined as being set-apart. The word is found in Scripture to refer to a variety of people, places and things, but the word holy ultimately points to God as the one who is qualitatively different or set apart from creation. Holy may also be used to describe someone or something that God has “set apart” for special purposes. In the NT holiness takes on the sense of ethical purity or freedom from sin. Holiness is God’s “otherness” and “purity”, as well as to God’s prerogative to set people and things apart for God’s own purposes.

In Isaiah 6, we see one of the most striking accounts of not only the holiness of God but also the un-holiness of man.

Isaiah 6:1 says that the prophet saw the Lord. The prophet continues by saying that the Lord is “high and lifted up.”  Next we witness that the “train of his robe filled the temple.”

The following sentences focus upon the reality, the rejoicing and the resulting effect of the praise given to God by the Seraphim angels. “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.”

The Hebrew word Seraphim literally means burning ones. The Seraphim are specifically named angels whose task is to worship God before His heavenly throne. We do not know how many Seraphim angels there are before God’s throne, but we do know that there are more than one.

Dr. R.C. Sproul explains that, “Angels appear frequently throughout the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. In fact “angelos,” the Greek word that means “angel/messenger,” occurs more frequently than the term translated as “sin” (hamartia). Yet at the same time, Scripture does not give us much detailed information about these beings. They appear at key points in redemptive history to help God’s people, but the Bible says little about their appearance and origin. Still, the information we do have is sufficient for what we need to know about angels.”

However, God does give us information regarding the appearance of the Seraphim angels. To begin with, each one of these innumerable angels have six wings. Why six? The only reason given is what the Seraphim do with each set of wings.

With two wings, the Seraphim cover their face. Why do they do this? The reason is that the Seraphim have no inherent glory of their own which compares with God’s glory. Therefore, as created beings they cannot look upon the glory of God.

With two wings, the Seraphim cover their feet. Why do they do this? The reason is that Seraphim are created beings. As such, they recognize their lowliness before God even as they are engage in divine service. This is something which would be wise for humans to keep in mind regarding their own service for God.

Finally, with two wings the Seraphim fly. Why do they do this? The reason is that the Seraphim serve God in their flight. Fish swim, lion roar and snakes slither. Angels fly! That’s what God designed them to do.

The Seraphim have an all important task to perform. They call to one another in antiphonal praise and cry out “holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The threefold repetition indicates that this attribute of God is superlative. It is unmatched, untouchable, and unparalleled. There is no greater attribute that God possesses that holiness.

The title LORD of hosts refers to the most personal name for God: Yahweh. Yahweh, the self-existent One possesses divine control over the entire universe. He is the holy One.

Because the LORD of hosts is holy, holy, holy, all of creation is full of His glory. The LORD is ruler over all, and His glory, the truthfulness, righteousness and beauty of His character, fills creation.

The result of this anthem of praise by the Seraphim is that “the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” This symbolizes the wrath and judgment of God upon those who are sinners.

Dr. Sproul continues by saying, “That even the angels must shield their eyes in the presence of God shows the reverence with which we are to approach our Creator. He is our Most Holy Lord, so we cannot be irreverent in our worship. We come before Him knowing that He is holy by nature, and we can be holy only by grace. We trust Him to sustain us in His presence, remembering who He is and who we are. That is part of what it means to worship God in spirit and truth.”

To truly know God is to recognize and understand that He is holy, holy, holy, and that we are not. He is set apart from sin, while we belong and revel in sin. How then can sinful creatures ever hope to eternally be in the presence of this God who is holy, holy, holy?What hope then does any sinner have before the awesome holiness of God?

There is no hope in ourselves. Our only hope or confidence is in the gracious redemption by the LORD Jesus Christ.

Take the time today to meditate and consider the holiness of God.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Knowing God: The Holiness of God, Part 2.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Thus far in our study of Knowing God, we have stipulated that to know God is to know His attributes, which are His personal characteristics. They are those qualities which make God, God. Some of God’s attributes He has chosen to share with His creation. Some of His attributes, He alone possesses.

Thus far we have seen that God is self-existent, He makes decisions, He is glorious, omniscient, omnipresent and sovereign. However, the most significant attribute God possesses is holiness.

To truly know God is to know that He is, according to Isaiah 6:1-3, holy, holy, holy. I Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Peter refers us to Leviticus 11:44.

What does it mean when the Bible says that God is holy? Holy, or holiness, is defined as being set-apart. The word is found in Scripture to refer to a variety of people, places and things, but the word holy ultimately points to God as the one who is qualitatively different or set apart from creation. Holy may also be used to describe someone or something that God has “set apart” for special purposes. In the NT holiness takes on the sense of ethical purity or freedom from sin. Holiness is God’s “otherness” and “purity”, as well as to God’s prerogative to set people and things apart for God’s own purposes.

Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “God’s holiness! Exodus 15:2 says God is ‘Glorious in holiness.’ Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psalm 111:9 says, ‘Holy and reverend is his name.’ He is ‘the holy One.’ Job 6:10. Seraphims cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.’ Isaiah 6:3. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God’s holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil, and cannot look on iniquity.’ Habakkuk I: 13.”

In Isaiah 6, we see one of the most striking accounts of not only the holiness of God but also the un-holiness of man. Isaiah 6 does not apply to the Prophet Isaiah alone, but also to you and me.

Isaiah was a prophet during the kingly reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah in the Kingdom of Judah. He ministered for over 40 years. As Isaiah 6 opens, King Uzziah has died and it would be approximately the year 740 B.C. Although the king died of leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-21) as a direct result of disobedience before God, his death signaled the conclusion of a long period (52 years) of peace and prosperity.

It was during this period of time following Uzziah’s death, that the Prophet Isaiah encountered a theophany, or a Christophany (John 12:41), which is a visible manifestation of God. Such instances are often accompanied by earthquakes, smoke, fire and lightening (Isaiah 29:1-6; 30:27-31; Exodus 19:18-19; Psalm 18:7-15; 50:1-3; 97:1-2; Micah 1:1-4; Nahum 1:3-8; Habakkuk 3:1-15).

Isaiah 6:1 says that the prophet saw the Lord. The word Lord is the Hebrew word Adonai which literally means Sovereign One or Master. Isaiah describes the Lord sitting upon a throne. This symbolically means that the Lord is consistently ruling over heaven and earth in power and authority. A throne symbolizes power and authority.

The prophet continues by saying that the Lord was “high and lifted up.” The Lord’s throne was greatly elevated illustrating that this was the One and only Most High God. No one is higher or greater.

Next we witness that the “train of his robe filled the temple.” The hem or fringe of God’s glorious robe filled the temple implying supreme majesty. God is the central and only object of worship.

Dr. James Montgomery Boice wrote, “In any discussion of reformation in doctrine one must come to the realization that the real problem of our time is that there is hardly any doctrine at all to reform. So when we talk about reformation we must focus on a recovery of theology, period. Certainly in the liberal churches there is a lack of exposition of Scripture and sound doctrine, and unfortunately, this is rapidly becoming the case in evangelical circles as well. Now you might ask which doctrines are missing? I argue that primarily what we need is a recovery of the doctrine of God. You have to have some kind of starting point and that’s the point where I think we should begin. People have lost any real sense of the fact that when we come to church we come to worship and learn about God.”

“Years ago,” Dr. Boice continues, “I spoke at a conference and my topic was on a number of the attributes of God. Later I got some feedback from a gentleman who was listening to my presentation. He had been in the church for thirty years, and in fact was now an elder, and that was the first time that he ever heard a series of messages on the attributes of God. And after hearing this his friend asked him, “Well, whom did you think you were worshiping all that time?” But he hadn’t really thought about those things and I’m convinced that we have literally thousands of people in our churches today who really seldom, if ever, think about who it is they are worshiping, if they think about God at all.”

Do you realize that God is holy? Do you really know this One who the Bible says is set apart from and is the holy other? Does knowing that God is holy impact your life and the decisions you make on a daily basis? Does it impact your worship, or is worship for you all about entertainment? Meditate today on Isaiah 6.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Holiness of God.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

Thus far in our study of Knowing God, we have stipulated that to know God is to know His attributes, which are His personal characteristics. They are those qualities which make God, God. Some of God’s attributes He has chosen to share with His creation. Some of His attributes, He alone possesses.

Thus far we have seen that God is self-existent, He makes decisions, He is glorious, omniscient, omnipresent and sovereign. Today, we briefly begin to look at one of the most significant attributes God has: holiness.

To truly know God is to know that He is, according to Isaiah 6:1-3, holy, holy, holy. I Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Peter refers us to Leviticus 11:44.

What does it mean when the Bible says that God is holy? Holy, or holiness, is defined as being set-apart. The word is found in Scripture to refer to a variety of people, places and things, but the word holy ultimately points to God as the one who is qualitatively different or set apart from creation. Holy may also be used to describe someone or something that God has “set apart” for special purposes. In the NT holiness takes on the sense of ethical purity or freedom from sin. Holiness is God’s “otherness” and “purity”, as well as to God’s prerogative to set people and things apart for God’s own purposes.

Holiness is the only attribute God possesses which is repeated to the third degree. God is never described as love, love, love. Neither is He mentioned as just, just, just. However, He is stated as being holy, holy, holy. This indicates a possible reference to the Trinity, but it also may mean that all of God’s other attributes are shaped and influenced by His holiness. Therefore, His love is a holy love. His justice is a holy justice. And so on.

David Wells, in his book No Place for Truth, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology, writes, The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy is now manifested everywhere in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty terms. What depth or meaning, P.T. Forsyth asked, can these terms have except in relation to the holiness of God? Divorced from the holiness of God, sin is merely self-defeating behavior or a breach in etiquette. Divorced from the holiness of God, grace is merely empty rhetoric, pious window dressing for the modern technique by which sinners work out their own salvation. Divorced from the holiness of God, our gospel becomes indistinguishable from any of a host of alternative self-help doctrines. Divorced from the holiness of God, our public morality is reduced to little more than an accumulation of trade-offs between competing private interests. Divorced from the holiness of God, our worship becomes mere entertainment. The holiness of God is the [foundation of reality]. Sin is defiance of God’s holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God’s holiness, and faith is the recognition of God’s holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore the key to knowing life as it truly is, knowing Christ as he truly is, knowing why he came, and knowing how life will end.

Two magnificent books on the holiness of God are Holiness by J.C. Ryle and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul.

How can you today worship and serve God in the splendor of His holiness? How can you be holy and He is holy?

Soli deo Gloria!

Knowing God: The Sovereignty of God, Part 2!

“My Counsel Shall Stand, and I Will Accomplish All My Purpose” – – Isaiah 46:8–11.

The sovereignty of God is the truth that all things are under His authority, and that nothing happens in this Universe without His control or consent. He is a God Who works, not just some things, but all things after the counsel and purpose of His own will (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). God’s purpose is all- inclusive and is never hindered or prevented (Isaiah 46:11) by anything or anyone. Nothing takes God by surprise! God does as He wills, when He wills, to whom He wills, and always as He wills.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

An historical attack upon the sovereignty of God is the philosophy known as Deism. Deism (derived from Latin “deus” meaning “god“) is a philosophical position that speculates that God (or in some cases, gods) does not directly intervene or interfere with world events. While the Deist affirms God as creator, he rejects divine revelation (the Scriptures) or divine intervention by God. In effect, the Deist claims that while God created the world, He then let it be and does not sovereignly involve Himself in the lives of humanity.

Deism gained popularity among intellectuals during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, especially in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. Deists were raised as Christians and believed in one God, but became disillusioned with organized religion and orthodox/biblical teachings such as the Trinity, biblical inerrancy, and the supernatural interpretation of events, such as miracles. It is widely held that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were Deists.

Regarding the sovereignty of God in human events and lives, John Calvin writes, “It were cold and lifeless to represent God as a momentary Creator, who completed his work once for all, and then left it. Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world then in its first creation.”

Calvin continues by saying, “If one falls among robbers, or ravenous beasts; if a sudden gust of wind at sea causes shipwreck; if one is struck down by the fall of a house or a tree; if another, when wandering through desert paths, meets with deliverance; or, after being tossed by the waves, arrives in port, and makes some wondrous hair—breadth escape from death — all these occurrences, prosperous as well as adverse, carnal sense will attribute to fortune. But those who have learned from the mouth of Christ that all the hairs of his head are numbered (Matthew 10:30), will look farther for the cause, and hold that all events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God.”

One of my favorite actors is the late Rod Taylor. Australian by birth, he became a popular film star in the 1960’s with the television series Hong Kong and such film successes at The Time Machine, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and one of my favorites, Fate is the Hunter, which is a 1964 American black-and-white aviation disaster film from 20th Century Fox.

The film’s storyline concerns the crash of a passenger airliner that killed all its passengers, with only one of its crew surviving. Pilot error seems to be the cause, until an airliner executive ramps up the investigation, refusing to believe that conclusion. Taylor portrays pilot Jack Savage who is initially suspected of drinking prior to takeoff and causing the crash that leaves flight attendant Martha Webster (Susanne Pleshette) the sole survivor of the flight.

Early in the investigation, it is found that Savage was seen in a bar as little as an hour before the flight. The captain’s wartime buddy, airline executive Sam C. McBane (Glenn Ford), is convinced of his friend’s innocence and doggedly investigates. Flashbacks deal with both Jack’s past and Sam meeting him, plus others they used to know, as well as Savage’s ex-wife and current girlfriend Sally Fraser (Nancy Kwan).

Jack Savage lives by a philosophy known as fate. During the course of the film he says to another wartime friend, “When your number’s up, why fight it, right? And if it’s not, why worry about it?” Sally introduces the idea of fate to McBane, who rejects it.

Fate, is the philosophy which is defined as an impersonal power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. This is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed, impersonal, natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos.

The Bible says that the world is not ruled by impersonal forces such as fate or destiny. Rather, the Bible states unequivocally or plainly that God is in control of all that happens.

  • Exodus 4:10-11 – “But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”
  • Psalm 115:1-3 – “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
  • Isaiah 45:1-7 – “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
  • Daniel 4:35 – “all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

We may not understand why things happen the way they do, but we can place our trust in the LORD that He has a purpose for everything which occurs; even when we do not understand what that purpose is. This is because God is sovereign and he has determined that everything happens for a reason.

Oh, by the way, you may be wondering how the movie ended? Fate is the Hunter is available on You Tube. You may want to check it out. It is amazing how God can use seemingly insignificant items, like a simple cup of coffee, to play such a big part in people’s lives and to make a positive impact upon the lives of others.

Access monergism.com to find a host of free publications on the subject of the sovereignty of God.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Sovereignty of God!

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:8-11).

The sovereignty of God is the truth that all things are under His authority, and that nothing happens in this Universe without His control or consent. He is a God who works, not just some things, but all things after the counsel and purpose of His own will (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). God’s purpose is all- inclusive and is never hindered or prevented (Isaiah 46:11) by anything or anyone. Nothing takes God by surprise! God does as He wills, when He wills, to whom He wills, and always as He wills.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

Daniel 4: 34-37 says, “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”

The following is but a sample of the biblical examples setting forth the truth of the sovereignty of God.

  • God is sovereign over the entire universe: (Psalm 103:19; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11).
  • God is sovereign over all of nature: (Psalm 135:6-7; Matthew 5:45; 6:25-30; 8:23-27).
  • God is sovereign over angels & Satan: (Psalm 103:20-21; Job 1:12).
  • God is sovereign over nations: (Psalm 47:7-9; Daniel 2:20-21; 4:34-35).
  • God is sovereign over human beings: (1 Samuel 2:1-7; Galatians 1:15-16).
  • God is sovereign over animals: (Psalm 104:21-30; 1 Kings 17:4-6).
  • God is sovereign over “accidents”: (Proverbs 16:33; Jonah 1:7; Matthew 10:29).
  • God is sovereign over free acts of men: (Exodus 3:21; 12:25-36; Ezra 7:27).
  • God is sovereign over sinful acts of men and Satan: (2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Genesis 45:5; 50:20).

Pastor Charles Spurgeon said, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse of circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation – the kingship of God over all the works of His own hands – the throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne.”

Pastor Spurgeon goes on to say, “On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings (the world), no truth of which they made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. When God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth.”

What, if any, questions do you have regarding the sovereignty of God? Send them to me. I also encourage you to read Isaiah 46. I also encourage you to check out monergism.com for free articles and e-books pertaining to the sovereignty of God.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Omnipresence of God!

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:7-12).

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever been alone? Have you ever been lonely? The word alone means unaided, or to be by yourself. I’m sure that we all have felt alone for one reason or another. However, we must always remember that God is always with us.

What is meant by the omnipresence of God? As we have already noted, omni means all while the word presence means existence, manifestation and attendance. Therefore, the term omnipresence means that God is at all times present. He is everywhere present with everyone and with His creation.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “God’s personal presence is everywhere throughout His creation. The thought by these rhetorical questions (Psalm 139:7-12) is that there is nowhere the psalmist can go beyond God’s view. Jonah learned this lesson when he tried to flee God’s commission to preach to the Ninevites.”

As Puritan Thomas Watson writes, God is infinite. All created beings are finite. The Greek word for “infinite” signifies “without bounds or limits.” God is not confined to any place. He is infinite, and so is present in all places at once. His center is everywhere. “In no place is God’s Being either confined or excluded,” Augustine. “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain you.” The Turks build their temples open at the top, to show that God cannot be confined to them—but is in all places by his presence. God’s essence is not limited either to the regions above, or to the terrestrial globe—but is everywhere.

Think of the times Joseph, David, Elijah, Daniel, Esther, and others must have felt alone. Meditate upon the words from David in Psalm 22:1-11.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”Yet you are he who ltook me from the womb;you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.On you was I cast from my birth,and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.

David was a man alone. Or at least he thought he was. But God was and is always near. Meditate also upon the words God spoke to Joshua:

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:1-5).

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever been alone? Have you ever been lonely? Take heart that God promises to always be with you and to never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6). He is always present.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Knowing God: The Omniscience of God, Part 2!

Nothing relating to the future is in anywise uncertain so far as the actualization of God’s counsels are concerned. None of His decrees are left contingent on creatures or secondary causes. There is no future event which is only a mere possibility, that is, something which may or may not come to pass.”                                                                                  Arthur Pink

Omniscience literally means to “have all (omni) knowledge (science).”  Since God is eternally existent, He is therefore capable of knowing everything because His knowledge of everything and everyone is eternally existent. This is in contrast to our knowledge which is finite or limited because we are finite creatures. Let us set forth the following observations concerning God’s omniscience.

First, God’s knowledge is comprehensive. The word “comprehensive’ means complete, full, wide-ranging, far-reaching and thorough. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good.” In other words, God’s knowledge of all things, past, present and future, is completely complete. God is lacking nothing regarding His knowledge.

God’s comprehensive knowledge extends to all that is in creation. Psalm 147:4 says, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” Man cannot do this (Genesis 15:5). Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Second, God’s comprehensive knowledge extends to everything that happens in His creation. In other words, God knows everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. Proverbs 5:21 says, “For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He watches all his paths.”

Philosophers question the omniscience of God when evil events occur. For example, 9/11. The reasoning by many is that if God is all-knowing, why didn’t He do anything to stop the events on that tragic day? Their conclusion is that God is therefore not all-knowing and the events of 9/11 took God as much by surprise as it did everyone else. The Bible, however, says otherwise.

Daniel 2:21-24 says, Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. And said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

I John 3:20 says, “”For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”

Psalm 94:11 says, “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.”

Colossians 2:3 says, “in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Arthur Pink explains, “It should, however, be pointed out that neither God’s knowledge nor His cognition of the future, considered simply in themselves, are causative. Nothing has ever come to pass, or ever will, merely because God knew it. The cause of all things is the will of God. So God’s knowledge does not arise from things because they are or will be, but because He has ordained them to be. God knew and foretold the crucifixion of His Son many hundreds of years before He became incarnate, and this, because in the divine purpose, He was a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world: hence we read of His being ‘delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2:23).”

I do not know why God did not prevent the events from occurring on 9/11; or for that matter December 7, 1941, or even November 22, 1963. What I do know is that He is perfectly aware of all which has occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, and will occur in the future and He has a purpose for all of it. He is trustworthy.

This is the omniscient God of whom we are called to know. We should be filled with amazement and adoration.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Omniscience of God!

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:1-6).

Dr. J.I. Packer once wrote concerning the knowledge of God that “a little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him.”

There are two phrases the psalmist David uses in Psalm 139:1-6 which I want to highlight for you. They are, in referring to the LORD’s knowledge, (1) “acquainted with all my ways and (2) “you know it altogether.” Both phrases refer the reader to the omniscience of God. David was saying that there is nothing of which God does not know. In our study of knowing God, it is wise for us to understand that at the same time we are seeking to know God, God knows us completely: past, present and future.

Omniscience literally means to “have all (omni) knowledge (science).”  Since God is eternally existent, He is therefore capable of knowing everything because His knowledge of everything and everyone is eternally existent. This is in contrast to our knowledge which is finite or limited because we are finite creatures.

Theologian and author Arthur Pink writes, “God is omniscient. He knows everything: everything possible, everything actual; all events and all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell.”

King David said, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:6). One commentator explains, David’s initial response to this staggering knowledge was that he was troubled. Like many who respond to the fact of God’s omniscience, he thought it was confining, that God had besieged him and cupped His hand over him. Moreover, this kind of knowledge was out of David’s control—it was too wonderful for him. The word “wonderful” is in the emphatic position, at the beginning of the sentence, meaning “extraordinary or surpassing.” In other words divine omniscience is too high for humans to comprehend.”

If we truly know ourselves as sinners, then it stands to reason that God’s omniscience may cause us great uneasiness. He knows everything about us. However, the understanding of God’s omniscience should cause believers in Christ to have great comfort that God knows everything which is occurring in our lives. As Job said, “But he (God) knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).

God knows when I am weary (Psalm 103:14). He knows when I am filled with doubt and disbelief (Psalm 139:23-24). He knows when I am a failure (John 21: 16-19). Consequently, believers in Christ should be filled with holy awe, amazement and adoration of God in light of God’s omniscience.

As one commentator writes, “Omniscient” means “all-knowing.” Scripture declares that God’s eyes run everywhere (Job 24:23; Psalm 33:13-15, 139:13-16; Prov 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17; Hebrews 4:13). He searches all hearts and observes everyone’s ways (1 Sam 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 139:1-6, 23; Jeremiah 17:10; Luke 16:15; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23). In other words, he knows everything all of the time. He knows the future no less than the past and the present, and possible events that never happen no less than the actual events that do (1 Samuel 23:9-13; 2 Kings 13:19; Psalm 81:14-15; Isaiah 48:18-19). He does not have to acquire information about things; all his knowledge is immediately and directly before his mind. The authors of the Bible stood in awe of the capacity of God’s mind (Psalm 139:1-6; 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14, 28; cf. Romans 11:33-36).”

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4).

Soli deo Gloria!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Glory of God, Part 3!

“Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah!” (Psalm 24:7-10)

Let me ask you a question. Who, or what, is at the center of your life? For what, or for whom, do you live and derive the greatest delight, joy and satisfaction?

For the biblical Christian, it is God. God calls us to be Theocentric. That is to say, God calls believer’s in Christ to continually have Him at the center of their lives. The primary interest then for the biblical believer in Christ is the Triune God. We are to be dominated by the idea of God.

The Westminster Larger, and Shorter, Catechism puts it this way: Q. “What is the chief of man?” A. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” The question which follows answers how we glorify God. Q. “What rule hath God give to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?” A. “The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.” We, therefore, glorify God by being obedient to His Word.

Dr. Joel Beeke says, “The universe is ruled not by chance or fate, but by the complete, sovereign rule of God. We exist for one purpose: to give Him glory. We have only duties to God, no rights. Any attempt to challenge this truth is doomed. Romans 9:20b asks, ‘Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?’ God enacts His laws for every part of our lives and demands unconditional obedience. We are called to serve Him with body and soul, in worship and daily work, every second of every day.”

God is in absolute and total control of everything which occurs in life. God’s sovereignty brings Him glory. Therefore, we are to glorify and praise Him for His sovereignty.

However, we sinful creatures seek to take control, and receive the glory, which rightfully belongs only to God. We do so in two major ways. First, by denying that God even exists and placing ourselves at the center of our existence. We become our own gods. Second, while not denying God’s existence, we deny His authority to save and rule us according to the good pleasure of His will. Many would rather save and rule their own lives by the good pleasure of their own will.

One pastor writes, “The achievements of modern life – medicinal, technological, and otherwise – have given us an ever-increasing sense of control. Actually, more than a sense. We really do enjoy more control over more aspects of life than ever before in history. We’re so accustomed to a convenient, custom-designed, there’s-an-app-for-that quality of life that we’re more shocked when things are hard than when they’re easy. Addicted to what we can control, we extend the borders of our kingdom into realms we can’t control. We try to control circumstances, but trials rudely show up uninvited. We try to control people, but they don’t stick to our wonderful plan for their lives. We try to control our future, but He who sits in the heavens always seems to laugh (Psalm 2:4).

God calls us to live Corem Deo, which is to view all of life before the face of God. We are to see God in nature, in history and in His grace. In everything we are to see God in His mighty power, to feel His mighty power and to sense His mighty purpose. We are to see God behind all the things which happen to us and to others and understand that He is working out His will. We are to come to God in submissive and humble prayer depending upon His grace alone and rejecting the notion that we had anything to do with His complete work of salvation.

When we begin to live in such a way, we begin to get a taste of what it means to glorify God. How may you glorify God today?

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Glory of God, Part 2!

“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:8)

While there are many truths concerning God’s purpose in salvation (justification; redemption; reconciliation; adoption; propitiation; predestination) ultimately God’s purpose in the saving of sinners is so He will be glorified. His chief goal in saving sinners is His glory. This He will not share with another.

What exactly is meant by glory? God’s glory is often literally depicted as a brilliant light (Exodus 34:29-35). Biblically, brilliant light symbolizes truth, righteousness, purity and holiness. See Revelation 21:23; Psalm 43:3; Hosea 6:1-5; John 12:41. This is what the shepherds seen and heard on that first Christmas night (Luke 2:8-14). This is what the Apostle John meant when he wrote, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4) and “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). Therefore, to say God is glorious is to say that God’s character is truthful, righteous, pure and holy.

The word glory comes from the Hebrew word kabod which has as a root meaning “weight” or “heaviness.” It means that God is substantive. It means that God is not a lightweight. It means that God is important, distinct and honorable. The Greek word for glory is doxa. We derive our English word doxology from doxa. Its meanings parallel the Hebrew.

Often, an object’s value is measured or evaluated by its weight. For example, fresh produce, meat or a precious metal’s value is determined by its literal weight. This is the case when you buy lunchmeat at the deli counter. The price you pay for what you have ordered is directly proportionate to the amount or weight you requested.

God’s glory represents the truth that He is of infinite worth and value. God’s glory surpasses the glory of anything else which exists. Mankind continually seeks to glorify human beings by ascribing to them, be they politicians, actors, celebrities or athletes, a worth or value which is above other human beings and perhaps even comparable to God Himself. What foolishness!

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “When we are ascribing glory to God, we are ascribing worth to Him. We are telling others of His value and unsurpassed worth. This, in turn, should shape what we do in and for Him. Our worship should evidence great beauty and reverence, for the most worthy being deserves that kind of worship. The Lord’s perfections should be regularly on our lips, for if we truly value something, we will not fail to tell others about it. If God has infinite worth and value, we should speak of His marvelous character.”

I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Seeking to glorify God in all we do should impact the way we work, study, and treat other people. We glorify God by doing things well and treating people in a proper way.

Resolve today to do all for the glory and praise of God because He is worthy of glory.

Soli deo Gloria!