Behold, Your God 2

Part 2

valeriy-andrushko-406365-unsplashIn the last article, I talked about the critical need for the church to emphasize theology – the study of the doctrine of God. I believe that the church has become so enamored with the gifts of God that we have minimized the God who gave the gifts.

God has made himself known through nature and the elements of creation, through the incarnation – the living Word, the person of Jesus of Nazareth – and through the written word, the Bible. All that He intended for us to know about Him is available in those 66 books of Scripture.

So what has God revealed about himself? Here is an example of what God has revealed from the writings of the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 46:8 Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 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…”

God revealed at least three things about himself in these verses.

“I am God, and there is none like me.”

God made this same or similar revelation about himself on multiple occasions in Scripture, many of them in the chapters that form the context of the verses above. [1]

Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god… 8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

Isaiah 45:5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God… 6 …there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Based on this singular truth, we must reach the conclusion that the god of Islam, Allah, is no more a god than was Baal or Jupiter or Artemis. Allah is not another god equal to or in competition with Jehovah God. Allah does not exist! There are no other gods!

The First Commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Since there are no other gods, then, in reality, we cannot put any other god before Jehovah God. So what does God mean by the commandment? I believe that what He is saying is that  worshiping any other person or idea above or in the place of the worship of Jehovah God is actually an intentional and rebellious rejection of the God of creation.

For a Christian or church member to be satisfied with the worship of the god of their tradition or of their imagination instead of the God of Scripture is not to worship a lesser god, but to reject God Almighty himself.

Jehovah is God. There is no other.

“I declare ‘the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done…’”

Most Christians will not argue about the foreknowledge of God, but some will draw swords and prepare to fight when someone mentions the determinate will of God.

You see, the word “declare” in verse 10 does not simply mean that God knows all things from beginning to end, or that He simply knows how all things will work out in the end.

It means that He determined the events of creation and of the history of the world, and He determined them before the foundation of the world. Otherwise, how could we ever have such a thing as prophecy?

Here is one example, also from the book of Isaiah.

Cyrus became the king of Persia in 559 B.C. In 538 BC, he gave permission and supplied the materials needed for the Jews to return to Jerusalem from Babylon where they had been held captive for 70 years.

In the prophecies of Isaiah (44:28-45:7), Cyrus is identified by name as the deliverer of the people of Israel from Babylonian Captivity. He is referred to as God’s shepherd and as His anointed one. (Terms that were later to be applied to another, even greater Savior!)

The interesting thing is that Isaiah wrote these prophecies identifying Cyrus by name over 150 years before Cyrus was even born!

Isaiah 45:4 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. 5 I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 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.

In the book of Isaiah, God challenges the false prophets and the idols of the people.

Isaiah 41:22 Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen… declare to us the things to come. 23 Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods…

God will repeat this challenge on several other occasions. (Isaiah 44:7; 45:21)

God does not just know the future – He controls the future, which includes every aspect of your life.

We know this is God’s meaning because of the phrase that comes at the end of verse 10 in our text…

“My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…”

History truly in HIS-tory. The entire unfolding of the history of creation, of man, and the development of nations and empires was not only known, but determined in eternity past by an almighty and all-knowing and all-powerful God.

All that takes place from beginning to end is the unfolding of God’s eternal purpose. God assures us that His perfect will and purpose for creation will be accomplished just as He designed it.

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?”

If you are worried about the mid-term elections or who will be nominated to the Supreme Court, let me assure you that God has already taken care of all of that.

The book of Daniel repeats on five separate occasions that God chooses those who will rule in the kingdom of men.

Daniel 5:21 The Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.

That does not give Christians permission to stay home on election day. Our participation in the election process is how God carries out His perfect will. The blessing for Christians is that we do not have to worry about the outcome, because the results are in His hands.

Conclusion

Obviously, we cannot plumb the depths of the person of God within the limitations of a single blog posting. The wonderful thing to note here is that God has revealed himself.

He did not have to, but chose to, because He is in love with His creation and with those whom He is calling to be a part of His kingdom.

God is transcendent – meaning that God exists independently of the creation and is not limited by time, space or matter.

But our God is not a God who sits off on some distant throne disengaged from His creation, for not only is He transcendent; at the same time He is immanent – meaning that He permeates all of creation.

In fact, God has revealed Himself through that very creation.

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Romans 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them (mankind), because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

God has also made himself known directly through theophanies – through appearances, visions, and dreams.

He has made himself known to us through the written word – the Bible.

But above all of these means, God has revealed himself to man through the living Word – the incarnation – God in the flesh – Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all who believe in Him and confess Him as Lord.

Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…

The question each person has to answer is this: Now that you know, how are you going to respond?


NOTES

[1] See also Deut. 4:35, 39; Isa 37:16, 20; 43:10, 11; 45:21-22

 

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