There are many perceptions and ideas about who God is. There are some who believe in Him and some who have disregarded His existence, yet He seems to be the talk of the town: His name is uttered in frustration, in anger, in pain, in disbelief, in amazement in all types of scenarios. In the ‘beloved’ 10-part series ‘Friends’ expressions such as “OMG” were uttered over a thousand times. God is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, even those who ironically claim He does not exist.
For some who acknowledge that God exists, they label Him as distant, hard to grasp, cruel and tyrannical, just to name a few. The truth is many have heard about God, many talk about God, and some have even claimed to have seen God -- but a few have actually embarked on the journey of trying to know who God is for themselves. Who is God to you?
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Creator desired to create Earth for His glory. By His Words He spoke light into darkness, His Words created the chilling and finely sculptured mountains, the vast depths of the seas, the gushing waterfalls and the glazing stars. Upholding all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), we are ever reminded of His divine wisdom and the intricacy of His craftsmanship. Although we cannot see God, nature testifies of Him: the invisible power of His creation is incomprehensible yet through our finite understanding of His creation, He is made evident (Romans 1:20). When you gaze at the night sky and see the beauty of His work: the moon and the stars that He set in place, who are we that He is mindful of us?
Yet the splendour of this earth was gifted to us, humanity. Before God created us, He prepared a place; like a father and mother anxiously anticipating the birth of their child and making a place for it, God prepared a home for us. However, God did not speak you and me into existence. We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) with His own hands He finely crafted and moulded us: like clay in the hands of a potter (Isaiah 43:7;64:8) He sculpted you and me into His own image (Genesis 1:27).
In the beginning, we reflected His beauty and splendour both in outward appearance and in character but as a result of disobedience, sin entered into the world and marred His creation (Genesis 3). Although sin has tainted everything, God’s signature is still visible. When we examine the depth of our being: the seven trillion nerves in our body which tirelessly function to relay messages continuously throughout our diverse system. Along with the cardiovascular system ushering a plethora of blood around the body; pumping it into the streams of the heart to the lungs and the other areas of the body. The complexities of our being disclose that we did not just develop over time, but as we trace back our genealogy we find our origin is not rooted in some living organism or animal, but from God the great Creator. Yet although we were created from dust (Genesis 2:7), we are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8) His children who have been honoured with dominion over His creation (Psalm 8:6).
Now consider the birds of the air which He has put under us, for they neither plant nor harvest yet God our heavenly Father provides for them -- are we not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26). For even the lowest of created creatures God supplies their needs but we, the crowning work of His creation are of much more value than they. As an earthly father longs to provide for their child, so God desires to bestow all His blessings upon us. Our Father in heaven who created the birds has not left them to themselves but with His loving care, provides for their every need. Everything that we have received is from God, for “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
After experiencing God guide the Israelites in the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22) as well as the miraculous parting of the Red sea (Exodus 14:14-30); Moses longed to behold God with his mortal eyes (Exodus 33:18-20) however God did not reveal Himself to Moses. In God’s eyes, character weighs more than appearance, for God looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7): thus He proclaimed Himself to be “merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth”. In acknowledgement and acceptance of God’s declaration Moses bowed down and worshipped Him because he had experienced what God had declared Himself to be (Exodus 34:6-8).
A person’s character can be judged by their actions, for as a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Although we have sinned and fallen short of His standard, although we do not always do what is right and at times behave as if we are in opposition to God, His heart is still merciful towards us: for “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities, for as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards [us]” (Psalm 103:10-11). That is only a glimpse of His character, He is not just merciful but also gracious towards us. We do not deserve anything, but because of His deep affection for us, because He sees us as His children we have obtained grace -- unmerited favour. God has gone over and beyond for us. In spite of the fact that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), God sets before us the free gift of everlasting life which is in His son Jesus Christ. Even though we have fallen short and constantly sin against Him, He is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any of us, His children, should perish but that we should all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). For God has not destined us for wrath, but has made provision for us to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
The very fact that we exist is evidence of God’s goodness “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, He sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Although God is Almighty, He is not selfish but perpetually pours out His blessings on all, even to those who are ignorant of Him. His abundant goodness shows no partiality but is ever flowing to all. His abundant truth is available to all who seek to claim it, for all the promises of God are definite (2 Corinthians 1:20); for God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). As certain as the sun rising to life every morning, so God’s word is sure and endures forever (Isaiah 55:11; 1 Peter 1:25): in the beginning His Words set in place the sun, moon and the stars yet they still stand firm today. He is abundant in goodness and truth.
Despite all the seen and unseen evidence of God's mercy, grace, patience, goodness and truth there still seems to be a notion that God, ‘Mr. Almighty’ does what He wants, He is stern, cruel, controlling and so on. However, the truth is who would ever want to follow or love such a ‘God’? The description that people often give of God sounds more like a monster and the truth is we do not believe in the god that people describe and we wouldn’t expect anyone else to either. Many of the popular views of god are repulsing. But the God that we love and serve is not the god that people portray, we can testify of this because we have experienced God for ourselves. We believe that the one and only true God is relational, He is beautiful in the extreme, His love toward us, towards you, is beyond comprehension. Many people who don’t believe in God, don’t believe in a particular picture of God but in fact, they reject the only option they have been taught or presented, while somewhere in their hearts they desire a God worthy of their love and worship.
The beauty of God is that even though He made the world and all things therein, even though He is beyond the realms of time and space, even though He is all-knowing and all-powerful -- He is not distant but He is relational. He invites you to reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18) this is because He longs to have a personal relationship with you, He longs to reveal Himself to you so that you may know who He truly is for yourself. He is not satisfied with you having a theoretical or philosophical understanding of who He is but desires for you to have an experiential understanding of who He is. God is pleading with you to call on Him, in return He promises to answer you and show you great and mighty things which you have never experienced before (Jeremiah 33:3).
David was one who had a fluctuating journey with God: He was chosen by God to be King (1 Samuel 16) and gained victory over the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17) but he then committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) and lost his beloved child (2 Samuel 12) however He went on to recommit himself to God (Psalm 51). David had a turbulent experience to say the least. However amid all the things he had experienced he was able to challenge us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) this statement was not concluded from a theoretical understanding of God but a testimony of a personal journey with Him.
At first, God was to me a philosophy, to me He was situated up high and I believed He was distant and unapproachable along with many other deep-rooted false perceptions about Him. This mindset deprived me of the experience God wanted me to have with Him, but then I was presented with a different picture of God: a God who created me for a purpose, who wants the best for me, who knew me even before I was born, who loved me before I even knew what love was. A God that views me as His own child and wants to have a personal relationship with me. But after being presented with this different picture of God I had to make a decision. In order to know who God really is, a decision to have a personal relationship with Him is crucial. Just like in any relationship to know who someone is, you need to spend time with them.
God has promised that if you “call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
After making a decision to know who God is for myself, He revealed Himself to me as He promised in His word and I can confidently testify that my perception of Him has never been the same since. He has enabled me to have such mind-blowing experiences with Him and they have enabled me to gain a deeper insight into His character.
God has been persistently trying to reach you, but maybe you have not been listening, He has been calling you but you have not answered. Wherever you are in your journey of life, God is standing and He is knocking on the door of your heart because He longs to have a relationship with you.
Today, God is asking you to give Him a chance to show you who He is. God has the desire to have a personal relationship with you. Is It your desire to have a personal relationship with Him?