By David Sanford, Crosswalk.com
No other question is more important than “Who is God?”
One of my mentors told me, “I am convinced that the answers to every problem and issues of life for both time and eternity are resolved through a correct understanding of God.” What hope!
Another mentor said, “When I don’t take time to reflect on the God I serve, He becomes too small to help me; so, I decide to handle the anxiety myself and blame God for it later.” Yikes!
I love what A. W. Tozer wrote: “The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long.” Again, what hope!
So, “Who is God?” Among many other biblical and theological words, 5 stand out. All 5 words are multiplied by eternity and infinity.
In other words, what do we mean when we say, “My love falls impossibly short of God’s love?” Everything about who God is stretches not only across the 100 billion light years of this universe, but also stretches far beyond this universe to God’s throne in heaven.
So, what are the 5 words that answer, “Who is God?”?
1. God’s Sovereignty
Remember, each word is multiplied by eternity and infinity. That’s what it means to be the Lord God, after all!
“Sovereign” appears hundreds of times in Scripture and is embedded 6,700 plus times in the sacred divine name, YHWH. The latter typically appears as the word “LORD” capitalized in most modern Bible translations.
When we think about who God is, we begin by describing Him as all-powerful (omnipotent) and everywhere-present (omnipresent).
The biblical heroes of the faith rejoiced in both aspects of God’s sovereignty. King David said, “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). Later he prayed, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
The initial followers of Jesus Christ prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them” (Acts 4:24). Later the Apostle Paul described God as “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
So, does God’s power and presence permeate every moment and millimeter of your life?
Yes! You’re never alone. And you’re never powerless. God is with you asking, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Call out to Him now.
2. God’s Providence
Unlike “sovereign,” the word “providence” (referring to God) doesn’t appear in a single Bible verse. In some ways, that’s fitting. After all, “providence” speaks of God’s eternal, infinite, and (mostly) invisible hand at work in nations, tribes, families, and individuals.
Heroes of faith — Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, Ezra, Esther, and many others — rejoiced in God’s providence, which increased their faith and trust in Him. Job humbled himself before God and said, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Centuries later, the Lord assured the prophet Isaiah: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Isaiah 46:10).
After witnessing a tremendous miracle, King Nebuchadnezzar wrote to everyone in his empire: “He [the LORD] does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35). The Apostle Paul reaffirmed that God “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
So, does God’s guidance and goodness permeate your life?
Yes! Life is abundant when you recognize and rejoice in both today!
3. God’s Holiness
“Holy” and its synonyms appear more than 1,600 times throughout the Bible. It quickly becomes clear that God is holy, people aren’t, God expects us to be holy, and we can’t be without His divine transformation.
After giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord told His ancient people: “Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the LORD, who made you holy” (Leviticus 22:32). He also told them: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
Old and New Testament heroes of faith talk about the dichotomies of holiness, which both challenged them and spurred their faith into action. In the middle of the Bible we’re told, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom” (Psalm 45:6). Toward the end of the Bible, we’re told, “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).
So, does God’s glory and purity permeate your life?
Yes! Now is the time to confess any known sins and embrace God’s holiness anew.
4. God’s Love
Jesus and His apostles didn’t invent the idea of God’s love. Far from it!
Remember the Lord’s sacred name, YHWH? Here’s the first part of how the Lord Himself defines it: “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD, and he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’” (Exodus 34:5-7).
Did you notice the word “love” appears twice?
Actually, “God” and “love” appear adjacent to each other many, many times throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. The most famous of those verses is John 3:16. Other famous verses about God’s love include Romans 5:5, Romans 5:8 and Romans 8:38-39. Still, others include 1 John 4:7-10, 1 John 4:16, and 1 John 4:19. But it’s not enough to just know about God’s love.
So, does God’s graciousness and passion permeate your life?
Yes! Open your heart and arms to receive His love right now.
5. God’s Plans
When we think about who God is, we can’t finish before we talk about Him as all-knowing (omniscient). This doesn’t mean God knows all the facts in the universe. Well, that’s true, He does, but God knows much, much more.
Remember phone books? A million facts, but none that could change your life. By themselves, facts are just facts. God not only has all-knowledge, but also has all-discernment, all-insight, all-understanding, all-wisdom, and “way-above-our-heads” ways.
The Lord puts it this way: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
In other words, “God alone knows” multiplied by eternity and infinity.
None of us knows 0.000001% of everything that’s true and right and important and life-changing. So, why in the world are we ever tempted to think we know better than God? We know better than Him on how to run our lives? Not a chance!
So, does God’s mystery permeate your life?
Yes! Humbly acknowledge His higher, heavenly wisdom and ways today.
God Is More
In this article, I don’t want to imply that 5 words alone can describe who God is. Believe me, I know He is much more!
When I read Scripture, I’m reminded that the Lord God is One in Three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) infinitely and eternally.
When I’m stressed, I remember the Lord’s presence is with me and thank Him for His infinite and eternal joy and peace.
When I’ve sinned, I recall the Lord’s holiness and love and thank Him for His marvelous, amazing mercy and grace.
Bottom line: Don’t forget to experience who God is each day — so you can enjoy life to the full!
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ChristianChan
David Sanford coaches leaders passionate about demonstrating the relevance of Jesus Christ in every major sphere of life. His book and Bible projects have been published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, and Amazon. His speaking engagements have ranged everywhere from UC Berkeley (CA) to The Billy Graham Center at the Cove (NC). His new book is The 5-Minute Bible Study for Men (Barbour).