Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The God. Our God. My God

I love my home church, Creekside Community Church for so many reasons. The Word is preached clearly and accurately; the people are extremely loving; worship is not confined to the time we express it through music; and I have been fed so fully there.

This past weekend was no exception as I was personally ministered to through the devotion given by Pastor Steve Gregg. One Sunday a month, instead of a sermon (a longer time given for exposition of Scripture), someone usually gives a devotion (like a sharing of meditation on Scripture). Pastor Gregg shared from Psalm 86, which is a beautiful psalm of David. What I share here now is one of a few things that stood out to me as Pastor Gregg was sharing.

He Is The God
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.

-Psalm 86:9-10

The first point that is crucial for all to understand is that the God of the Bible is not one god among the pantheon of gods man has created. He is not a god alongside Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Molech, Baal, or the millions of other gods. He is the only true God (John 17:3). The God of the Bible is a Triune God--God the Father , God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. I am not going to get deep into the doctrine of the Trinity, but you can read more here if you are interested.

The point I am making is that there is no other god like the God of all things, and Him being a Triune God is at the core of that reality. He cannot, nor should He be, likened to any other god, like people have a tendency to do. We should also recognize that we did not create Him, but God created us. Therefore we have no right to dictate what God should be like, again another thing we have a tendency to do. He is the God of all things, He reigns in the heavens, and He can do whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). The beauty behind this is that God is pleased to make us happy in Him, as Psalm 37:4 states, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.". Sadly, those who choose not to acknowledge this wonderful truth miss out on real joy, not the crap shoot joy we seek in temporal things. As David wrote, "You alone are God."

He Is Our God
I continued reflecting on this, that God is not a god among gods, but is the one God and remembered that He is not some distant God who has created things and let them run their course, but that He is intimate with His creation. In fact, He is our God and this "our" implies relationship:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
-Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Notice that immediately following the truth given that the Lord is our God and that He is one God, is the command of complete love. This command is given to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy, but is extended to us all now in these days. This is a communal thing, that we as a people, as a "nation" are to collectively love God with all that we have. Now I am sure that some would say that the command of love is on par with forcing to love, but in reality love of heart, soul and might can never be forced. True love of any kind can never be forced.

This is why we must never neglect meeting together (see Hebrews 10:24-25), letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, "teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness" in our hearts toward God. (Col. 3:16). This is worship, the lifting up of God, exalting Him in our hearts to His proper place over all things, glorifying Him, He Who is the God and our God.

Again, for those of you who read this and have not given your life to Christ, I tell you that the God of the Bible is our God. Our God "so loved the world [all of us] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He is the God who causes the rain to fall on both the good and the evil (Matt 5:45); He gives to all and no one is forgotten or neglected by Him. Providentially we are all given food, drink, shelter, clothing, emotions, etc. by Him in various ways and forms, by His common grace--His kindness and mercy to undeserving sinners like you and me--gives you life in order that you may know Him personally through His saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ--in order that you may know Him as my God.

He Is My God
"I give thanks to you, O Lord my god, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

-Psalm 86:12-13

This whole psalm written by David is in fact an intimate prayer to his God. Not only does he express thanksgiving and love toward God, but he also acknowledges repeatedly God's abiding, deep, everlasting love for him. The God of the this world and of the Bible is so personal that I, along with David and the multitudes can call Him my God. Paul wrote about this on the collective our level in Romans 5:6-8:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
But Paul took this collective outlook on the death of Christ and applied it directly to himself as he wrote to the Galatian churches:
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and give himself for me
-Galatians 2:20b
Everytime I read this passage I literally get chills because Paul was not present at Jesus' death; in fact, Paul hated Jesus and all people who called themselves followers of Christ even years after Jesus died. Jesus didn't say on the Cross, "This is for Paul of Tarsus." None of this occurred. But by the grace of God through a radically life-changing encounter with Jesus Himself, Paul wrote this piercingly intimate words of Christ's death being applied toward Him. And by faith I can say the same thing, that Jesus loved me and gave Himself up for me. He is my God and no one can take that away from me.

Now, I who am a wretched man who has done nothing but walk in defiance against the God of all things, can worship in Spirit and in truth alongside the people of every tribe, tongue and nation of our God only because of grace extended to me through wholehearted trust in the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ--my Savior, my King, and my God.

The God. Our God. My God.
By His Grace.

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