How Well Do You Know God? (Part 4)
By Tommy Thornhill
“Thus says the LORD; ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For it these I delight;’ says the LORD” Jer.9:23-24.
In getting to know God better, we first must make sure we understand that the LORD God is the ONE and ONLY TRUE God. This is stated very clearly in the word of God. When God gave the 10 commandments, He began by stating, “I am the LORD your God … you shall have no other gods before you” Ex.20:2-3. He reemphasized this in Deut.6:4, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!” Later, the prophet Isaiah writes. “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God beside Me” Isa.45:5. The apostle Paul stated that our God is “…the living and true God” 1.Thes.1:9.
Keep this fact always foremost in getting to know God. He is the only God, and there is no other. There is nothing, or no one, with which to compare Him. Stop and take time to read Isa.40:12-31 In the midst of these verses the prophet asks, “To whom will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?” v.18. Then God asks the prophet, “To whom then will you liken Me, Or, to whom shall I be equal?” v.23. It is these verses that inspired Donald Alexander to write the hymn we often sing, “Saints Lift Your Voices.”
As we get better acquainted with this one true, living God, we marvel at His greatness and we realize that this great LORD God we serve is the majestic LORD. Actually, the word, greatness and MAJESTY, go together. When we ascribe majesty to someone we are at the same time acknowledging this person’s greatness. When we say, “your majesty,” we are recognizing the right of that person to be reverenced and respected. The LORD God is “Your “majesty.” “…Holy and awesome is His name” Ps.111:9b. He is our Creator, our LORD, deserving of all reverence, honor and authority we can give to Him.
Even God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, yielded up His authority to the majesty of His Father God. After Jesus finished His work of purging our sins, by His death on the cross while on earth, returned to heaven and, “sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high” Heb.1:3. He is “seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens” Heb.8:1. Even though Jesus possesses all authority Matt.28:18. as far as we are concerned, He is still subject to His majesty, the Father 1.Cor.15:24-28.
There is no one more worthy of worship than the LORD God. Note Ex.20:4-5. “You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For, I, the LORD Your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children of the third or fourth generations of those who hate Me.”
Another thing we need to know about God is that He is a jealous God. Note Ex.34:14 .For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God.” Yes, God is a jealous God. Is His jealousy inconsistent with His nature? Think with me for a little while on this. We have to keep in mind that God is not man. He is infinite while man is finite, so at times when He uses human terms to explain Himself they are subject to misunderstanding.
Since God has no sin, His jealousy and His wrath (judgment against sin) is His holiness, reacting in a judicial capacity against sin, and is both morally right and glorious. In a later lesson I will explore both the jealousy of God and the wrath of God more fully. At this time I am just pointing out that His jealousy is the reason for Him giving the 2nd and 3rd of the 10 commandments. “You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the LORD your God is a jealous God” Ex.20:4, 5.
In this commandment He was not just forbidding idolatry (the worship of false gods), He was also forbidding worshiping Him by the use of images, pictures, statues, crucifixes and other things that men devise trying to convey an image of God. It wasn’t long before Israel and all mankind in general since that time, violated God’s 2nd commandment. Rom.1:22-23, 25 states, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things…who changed the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” All such things dishonor God, for they obscure His glory, and mislead people into thinking God can be described in human form. We must be careful in using pictures in our Bible classes that we don’t leave the impression that the picture is actually a portrayal of God. No one can see the true God in the things man draws or makes. We can only see Him, as He desires, in His word, which describes Him and all His attributes. (to be continued)
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