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!

Knowing God: The Glory 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).

If we are to know and understand who God is, we must recognize that He is glorious. Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

To a certain extent, Scripture teaches that human beings do reflect the glory of God (I Corinthians 11:7; 2 Corinthians 4:17). This certainly was the case with Moses (Exodus 33-34). Yet, Isaiah 42:8 teaches that God’s inherent glory is unique to Him and Him alone.

The context of Isaiah 42 is the doctrine of salvation. God opens the spiritual eyes of the blind and frees people from their spiritual bondage. Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The glory that is revealed in God’s work of salvation He will not share with others. It is His and His alone, and any attempt to take away from that glory by giving sinners a meritorious role in their salvation is a grave sin against the Lord.”

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). Therefore, to say God is glorious is to say that God’s character is truthful, righteous, pure and holy.

It stands to reason that to live for the glory of God is to be truthful, righteous, pure and holy. Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “If God’s highest aim is the furtherance of His own inherent glory – and ultimately everything He does is for His own glory – then that must be our aim as well. Our entire lives must be spent working to make much of His name, not our own. No other goal of ours should be greater than to see the Lord’s glory magnified and proclaimed everywhere. To be a true servant of God is to seek His glory.”

How may you seek to glorify the Lord today at work, at home, at school and with your friends and acquaintances? We do so by being truthful, righteous, pure and holy.

“How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! … You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.” Augustine

“God would be unrighteous (just as we would) if he valued anything more than what is supremely valuable. If he did not take infinite delight in the worth of his own glory he would be unrighteous. For it is right to take delight in a person in proportion to the excellence of that person’s glory.” John Piper

I encourage you to check out monergism.com. Free e-books available on the glory of God. Worth a look!

Soli deo Gloria!

Knowing God: The Decrees of God!

“ ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’” (Acts 15:16-18).

God makes decrees. A decree is defined as a ruling, an announcement, or a declaration. It can also be an order, law or command. The decrees of God are His purposes regarding the future along with His commands regarding the present.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines the decrees of God as follows. “The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”

Theologian and author Arthur Pink writes, “The decrees of God relate to all future things without exception: whatever is done in time was foreordained before time began. God’s purpose was concerned with everything, whether great or small, whether good or evil, although with reference to the latter we must be careful to state that while God is the Orderer and Controller of sin, He is not the Author of it in the same way He is the Author of good. Sin could not proceed from a holy God by positive and direct creation, but only by decretive permission and negative action. God’s decree is as comprehensive as His government, extending to all creatures and events. It was concerned about our life and death; about our state in time, and our state in eternity. As God works all things after the counsel of His own will, we learn from His works what His counsel is (was), as we judge of an architect’s plan by inspecting the building which was erected under his directions.”

 We witness the decrees of God in the life of the Old Testament Patriarch, Joseph. Joseph’s life, (Genesis 37-50), is the embodiment of Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”Joseph understood the decree of God in four specific ways.

First, Joseph saw his life as ordered and controlled by God. In speaking to his brothers concerning the events which led all of them to Egypt, Genesis 45:7-8 says, And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.”

Twice Joseph says “God sent me before you to preserve life.” Joseph recognized that God’s sovereign decree is carried out by human instruments.

Second, Joseph understood that all which happened to him was pre-determined by God and not the reaction by God to circumstances beyond either His or Joseph’s control. Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Thirdly, Joseph asserted that God was even in control of the bad things which happened to him. This perspective parallels Job’s own assertions to his critical wife. Job 2:7-10 says, So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Finally, Joseph understood that it wasn’t just for his benefit God worked in and through Joseph, but for many people including his family. Circumstances which break our hearts sometimes blind us to the truth that God knows exactly what is best for us.

God is in control of everything: even to smallest detail. That is pretty awesome to consider and humbling when understood. Take the time to read Genesis 37-50.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Knowing God: The Eternal Self-Existence of God: Part 3.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” (Ephesians 1:3-5).

Not only is God solely responsible for creating the universe, but He is also solely responsible for redeeming fallen sinners. Believers in Christ readily acknowledge this truth, but the question of “when” God chose to redeem sinners becomes controversial for some.

The perspective of many regarding the unfolding drama of redemption is that God chose to redeem sinners immediately following the fall of man into sin (Genesis 3). In effect, God reacted to Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey Him by providing the means necessary for them to be justified, or declared righteous.

However, Ephesians 1:3-5, along with other passages of Scripture, clearly indicate that God planned to redeem sinners prior to even creating the world. In His foreknowledge, He understood that man would sin and prior to this act of rebellion in time and space, chose to save sinners before the foundation of the world.

God was under no obligation to create the universe. Additionally, God was under no obligation to save sinners. That He chose to do so, even before mankind was created, was for His own glory. The Apostle Paul refers to this as “according to the purpose of His will.”

John Calvin writes, “The foundation and first cause, both of our calling and of all the benefits which we receive from God is here declared to be His eternal election. If the reason is asked why God has called us to enjoy the gospel, why He daily bestows upon us so many blessings, why He opens to us the gate of heaven, – the answer will be constantly found in this principle, that He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. The very time when the election took place proves it to be free; for what could we have deserved, or what merit did we possess, before the world was made?”

Calvin continues by stating, “How childish is the attempt to meet this argument by the following sophism: ‘We were chosen because we were worthy, and because God foresaw that we would be worthy.’ We were all lost in Adam. Therefore, had not God, through His own election, rescued us from perishing, there was nothing to be foreseen.”

Titus 1:1-2 says, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”

2 Timothy 1:8-9 says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

Dr. John MacArthur explains, “Through God’s sovereign will before the creation of the world and, therefore, obviously independent of human influence and apart from any human merit, those who are saved have become eternally united with Christ Jesus.”

God’s sovereign work to save, prior to the physical creation and its inhabitants even existing, should result in us praising and glorifying Him. This is what the Apostle Paul does in Romans 16:25-27 when he writes, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

This is the self-existent God who we seek to know. Praise Him today for He knowing you before the foundation of the world.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Knowing God: The Eternal Self-Existence of God: Part 2.

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1).

Before anything and everything existed, God existed: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before heaven and earth, angels and humans, cattle and all other creatures great and small on earth, in the sea or in the air, God existed. In short, God was, is, and always will be. He is eternal. He is self-existent.

The self-existence of God is documented in the praises of God’s people. The self-existence of God is also documented in His most personal name: Yahweh! In English translations, the Hebrew name Yahweh is identified by the English rendering LORD.

The name Yahweh is the most personal name for God. The name focuses on the self-existence and faithfulness of God. When Moses asked God in Exodus 3:13-14 Who it was that was sending him to Egypt, in case someone asked, God replied, “I AM WHO I AM. And He said, ‘Say to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you’.”

This self-identification or self-existence by God is also important when we read the words of Jesus in John 8. In His adversarial discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus makes this climatic statement in John 8:58: “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” The Pharisees response is striking. “So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:59). Why would the Pharisees want to stone Jesus? The reason must be is that they knew He was calling Himself Yahweh by using the phrase “I AM.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “This is a clear reference to Jesus’ eternal preexistence. Since this is an attribute of God alone, this text is a forceful statement of Jesus’ deity. The present tense of the verb suggest the eternal present of God’s eternity. “I am” is also reminiscent of God’s name in Exodus 3:14.”

The name Yahweh shows us that God’s character is unchangeable. He is what He is and He never changes. God does not become anything more, or less, than what He is because He is always complete in all that He has ever been and ever will be.

Dr. Sproul continues by explaining, That Yahweh means “I Am” tells us several important things about God’s identity. First, it shows that the Lord’s character is unchangeable. We can say of ourselves, “I was x last year, but now I am y, and next week I could be z,” but not our Creator. Yesterday He says, “I Am,” today He says, “I Am,” and tomorrow He says, “I Am.” He cannot learn any new information or become more holy. None of God’s perfections can be subtracted or added to. He can never be anything other than what He is today. There is absolutely no shadow of change for our Creator (James 1:17). Importantly, Jesus speaks of Himself in similar terms (the “I Am” sayings of John; see 8:58, for example), which reveals that He is one with the Father and worthy of worship and praise.”

Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “A vital difference between God’s essence and our own is also revealed in the name Yahweh. Human beings and the Lord both possess the attribute of “being-ness” — we both exist. Yet our being is derivative, as we have not always existed. On the other hand, God is self-existent: He has always been and can never cease to be (Psalm 90:2).

 Every one of us is changing: either for the better or for the worse. We change our minds, our clothes, our cars, our allegiances to sports teams, while making and breaking promises. God is different. He is faithfully the same, all the time.

Meditate upon the name of Yahweh by reading these corresponding Scripture passages: Psalm 102:25–28; Malachi 3:1-6; Matthew 28:18–20; Hebrews 13:1-8

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Knowing God: The Eternal Self-Existence of God!

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).

“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2).

Before anything and everything existed, God existed: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before heaven and earth, angels and humans, cattle and all other creatures great and small on earth, in the sea or in the air, God existed. In short, God was, is, and always will be. He is eternal. He is self-existent.

Theologian and author Arthur Pink writes, “In the beginning, God. There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but from everlasting. During eternity past, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied, in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they also had been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Malachi 3:6), therefore His glory can be neither augmented nor diminished.”

The self-existence of God is documented in the praises of God’s people. Moses, in Psalm 90, writes:

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.” (Psalm 90:1-6).

Creation has a beginning and an end. Not so with God. Creation depends upon God (Acts 17:22-28; Hebrews 1:1-3), not the other way around.

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “When the Bible declares that God is the Creator of the universe, it indicates that God Himself is not created. There is a crucial distinction between the Creator and the creation. The creation bears the stamp of the Creator and witnesses to His glory. But the creation is never to be worshiped. It is not the Supreme.”

To contemplate upon the self-existence of God results in my finite mind becoming overwhelmed by the thought and ramifications of He who exists from all eternity. Everything which exists can be traced back to its origin.  Not so with God. There is no origin with God. There is no greater being that created God. God always was, is and always will be.

Meditate today upon Psalm 90. Praise the One who created you and who saved your soul. Praise the One and Only who is eternally self-existent.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Knowing God: The Attributes of God!

God has chosen to reveal Himself in order that He may be known. The purpose of us knowing God is so that we may understand, submit, worship and serve Him, resulting in Him being glorified.

We have seen that God has revealed Himself as the creator and sustainer of the universe. God also makes Himself known in His Word, The Bible. The Scriptures contain a treasure of revelation concerning the person and character of God.

Another word describing the character of God is the word attribute. An attribute is a quality, trait, feature or characteristic of a person, place or thing. An attribute explains what a person is like and why  he/she does what they do.

For the purpose of our journey to knowing God, knowing His attributes will be invaluable. To know what God is like, and what He therefore does on the basis of what He is like, will be our focus for the next several weeks.

Some of God’s attributes are familiar to us. Other attributes, not so much. Some of God’s attributes are pleasant to us. Other attributes, not so much. However, we must understand that we cannot pick and choose what attributes of God we will accept while rejecting those we find objectionable. In order to fully know God, we must recognize and accept Him for Who He is, and not what we would like for Him to be.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 says, “Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Theologian and author Arthur Pink writes, “The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, not worshiped. Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments.”

Ask God to help you submit to knowing Him for who truly He is, rather than what others would have Him and like Him to be. To do otherwise, is to fashion an idol of our own making. Let us resolve to not commit this sin.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Knowing God: Biblical Revelation of God!

God has chosen to reveal Himself in order that He may be known. The purpose of us knowing God is so that we may understand, submit, worship and serve Him in order that He may be glorified.

We have seen that God has revealed Himself as the creator of the universe. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Psalm 19:1-6 also describes the creative work of God, which reveals His glory. This is what God says about creation, through the psalmist David.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

How often have you paused to see the brilliance of a sunrise and responded in awe and wonder? How about a sunset on the shores of Lake Michigan? What about the darkened sky and clouds during a violent thunderstorm, which is suddenly illuminated by a flash of lightening? Do you cower when the lightening appears? Of course you do! We all do.

All these meteorological occurrences, and many more besides, declare the glory of the One, True God who is the creator. This is where knowing God begins, but it is not where knowing God ends.

In Psalm 19:7-11, David continues to share how God reveals Himself, thereby making Himself known. God not only is known by creation, which is referred to as general revelation, but God also is known by Scripture, which is specific revelation.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

There are six descriptions of the Word of God listed in Psalm 19. All point their origin and sole ownership to the One, True God by the phrase “of the LORD.” These include (1) the law of the LORD, (2) the testimony of the LORD, (3) the precepts of the LORD, (4) the commandment of the LORD, (5) the fear of the LORD, and (6) the rules of the LORD.

The statement “the fear of the LORD” may seem curiously out of sync. However, Dr. R.C. Sproul explains, “In a list with law, testimony, precepts, commandment, and rules, the ‘fear of the LORD’ seems out of place. But here the phrase is used objectively; that is, it refers to the body of knowledge about God, in keeping with the fact that to fear God starts with knowing God.”

Let me encourage you to read Psalm 119. List the many ways God’s Word is described. I believe you will be amazed at the length, breath, depth and height of the LORD’s Word.

Thank God today for His holy Word, in which He makes Himself known.

Soli deo Gloria!