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Who is this Awesome God?

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Why is it that so few people have any desire to seek the Lord? The answer must surely be that they have no idea what God is really like. When we begin to understand who the Lord is, our hearts will begin to long for him. He is the most beautiful, the most holy, the most amazing being in the whole universe. We must begin to understand who the Lord is. The truth about God must break through to our minds and influence our hearts. The world could not contain the books that could be written in an attempt to describe him, nor can the human mind comprehend his fullness.

Psalm 113:4-9

The Lord is high above all nations,

     His glory above the heavens.

5     Who is like the Lord our God,

     Who dwells on high,

6     Who humbles Himself to behold

     The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

7     He raises the poor out of the dust,

     And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,

8     That He may seat him with princes—

     With the princes of His people.

9     He grants the barren woman a home,

     Like a joyful mother of children.

     Praise the Lord!

Isaiah 40:9-18

O Zion,

     You who bring good tidings,

     Get up into the high mountain;

     O Jerusalem,

     You who bring good tidings,

     Lift up your voice with strength,

     Lift it up, be not afraid;

     Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

10     Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,

     And His arm shall rule for Him;

     Behold, His reward is with Him,

     And His work before Him.

11     He will feed His flock like a shepherd;

     He will gather the lambs with His arm,

     And carry them in His bosom,

     And gently lead those who are with young.

12     Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

     Measured heaven with a span

     And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?

     Weighed the mountains in scales

     And the hills in a balance?

13     Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,

     Or as His counselor has taught Him?

14     With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,

     And taught Him in the path of justice?

     Who taught Him knowledge,

     And showed Him the way of understanding?

15     Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,

     And are counted as the small dust on the scales;

     Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

16     And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,

     Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.

17     All nations before Him are as nothing,

     And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

18     To whom then will you liken God?

     Or what likeness will you compare to Him?

  • Remember that Jesus is the revelation of God to us.

John 1:14

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 1:1-4

    God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

Colossians 1:15

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Here are some truths about God:

Let’s briefly note some things about our great and awesome God that ought to evoke worship and desire to know him:

Meditate on the revelation of God that is recorded through the Scriptures. This revelation, this truth will grip our heart and draw us after him.

1.     Love

God is love. There is something ultimate about this. This is the basic nature of God.

 

1 John 4:16

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

To love is to always act in such a way that it brings the highest good to another person.

It is a choice to live so that others are blessed.

 

1 John 3:16

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

In the nature of God there is a fundamental selflessness; a desire to bless, a compassion and tenderness, a willingness to take suffering on himself so that we are freed from suffering.

2. Grace:

Acts of kindness based on the inner beauty of God.

The concept of grace is a unique feature of Christianity.

We normally think of grace as God’s favour extended to those who don’t deserve it. The Greek word, charis is rich in meaning. The basic idea is of ‘beauty’.

Charis, the Greek word for ‘grace’, is derived from a root char that indicates things which produce well-being.  Charis means grace, favour, beauty, thankfulness, gratitude, delight, kindness, good turn, benefit.

Grace’ denotes inner beauty of character that expresses itself in appropriate actions. Thus God is the source of the river of grace. It originates in his inner being and is natural to him. He is utterly beautiful and harmonious, and out of his heart flows love, goodwill and generosity. Grace is his being, and grace is his attitude. Of course, attitudes are expressed in actions, so God does gracious things. His gifts (charismata) are expressions of grace.

The flow of grace goes even further. The outflow from the source influences the recipient. Grace changes the one who receives it and produces its beauty in him. God’s grace is to make me graceful and full of grace in turn.

  •  
  • Beautiful in his inner being
  • His thoughts and desires for us are beautiful
  • His actions are gracious
  • The results in our lives are grace           

Is there anyone else like this? As we consider his beauty we are moved to love. We fall in love with someone so lovely.

The Hebrew word Shalom, which is usually translated ‘peace’, means more than the absence of conflict. It has the idea of ‘harmony’. It includes the idea of well-being­. It is God’s will for his people and his creation to exist in a fullness of well-being and harmony. His grace produces ‘shalom’ in his Kingdom.

Here is the compassion and love of God expressed. When Israel had turned again and again from the Lord, when they had broken the Father’s heart, he still struggles with the thought of judging them;

 

Hosea 11:8,9  “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?

How can I make you like Admah?How can I set you like Zeboiim?

My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.

9 I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim.

For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.

In John’s Gospel Jesus is described as charitos kai aletheias, full of grace and truth. Barrett links this to the Hebrew expression chesed we emeth. (See Ex.36:6; 33:22). [If this is true, then Jesus is being identified with Yahweh here! Christ is the source of grace for all Christians, as God is the source of all grace.] Chesed is translated eleos (mercy) in the LXX, but Barrett says that that chesed underlies the NT concept of grace. 

Note the linking of grace with truth. These must go together. 

2.     God of Truth

Jesus is full of grace and truth.

God has no distortion in his perception of reality. He sees things as they really are.

This is a reassurance to us because God never misjudges and can convey to us the truth that he knows.

It is the truth that he gives that sets us free.

God loves truth because he knows that living according to truth, living truthfully brings us into harmony with reality. 

3.     Holy God

God’s absolute righteousness and holiness.

Exodus 15:11  “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?

The words holiness and wholeness are related. Holiness is moral perfection or moral wholeness. God is utterly pure in every action and motive. His love for us, for you, is without any impure motive or selfishness. Even when we respond in rebellion, hatred or in ugly self-will, the Lord’s desire is to heal, forgive and make whole. His desire to redeem and restore means that God is swift and enthusiastic to bless, and reluctant to punish or hurt.

His righteousness goes far beyond merely keeping the moral law – for the law simply expresses what God knows is wholesome and helpful for his creation – it looks for ways to do more than the minimum. This is why the righteousness of God is never satisfied with mere justice. True goodness looks for ways to set wrong things right. God demonstrates his righteousness when he loves, for love fulfills all righteousness.

How do we reconcile God’s delight in love and forgiveness with his role as Judge?

God is grieved by evil. Although he is patient and kind, yet he becomes angry with those who persist in evil, because their evildoing hurts others. The judgment of God is an expression of his holiness, just as his love is. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.

Judgment is part of God’s Grace. God is not vindictive, nor does he delight in punishment, but he judges because he loves.

His love for his creation compels him to deal with evil and its consequences.

His judgment in our lives is intended to drive us to repentance and restoration.

Isaiah 26:9

With my soul I have desired You in the night,

     Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

     For when Your judgments are in the earth,

     The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.   

4.     Sovereign & Responsive God

God’s dynamic responsiveness to Man.

 We know that God is all-powerful and sovereign over all things. What a security to know that God is in control.

Traditionally theologians have pictured God as remote and powerful. Perhaps he sits far away in heaven, watches the affairs of men and controls all things by his command?

Some Christians have thought that absolutely everything that happens is because God wills it and decrees it to be. But this picture does not fit the God portrayed to us in the Bible.

God does not delight in evil, nor is it his will in any way. How can the evil and suffering in this world be God’s will?

We must affirm that God does not decree or cause any of the evil that is in our world. There are some things that happen that are not the way God wants them to be. The God of the Bible is involved with mankind. He interacts and responds to his creatures.

God created us with free-will. He longs for us to respond to his love and grace, yet he does not force us to follow him.

The Biblical viewpoint is that God is truly in control and he sets the limits beyond which evil men cannot go, but that he also allows us a true and real freedom.

There is a wonderful example in the book of Jonah of God’s flexibility in his relationship with us. Even though God had planned and spoken to Jonah that he would punish Nineveh for its wickedness, (and the Assyrians were notorious for their cruelty), yet when they repented, God changed his mind about judgment. The lesson in this is that no matter what our history is, not matter what we have done, the Lord is willing to begin afresh with us, if we respond to him..

If we are to correctly understand the gospel, we must understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. God is sovereign in the sense that he knows everything that happens and has the power to control and restrict events, yet he has sovereignly decided to limit or hold back his own power, by allowing us free choice to love him and obey him or not. If it were not so, the universe would be a mere machine and we would be puppets with God pulling the strings. We are not machines. God will never force or cause anyone to be saved. Salvation can only come as we freely respond to God’s gracious offer.

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Meditate on the revelation of God that is recorded through the Scriptures. This revelation, this truth will grip our heart and draw us after him.


 

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