When looking around us we can see how man is nothing against the powers of nature. Man also tries to create a lot of things, but never can succeed to create such marvellous things as the divine Originator of all things.
In the Book of books, the Bestseller of all times, we can get an image of that divine Creator and how He looks at the world and wants His creatures to come close to Him. In that great masterwork there is a constant theme going on.
The Greatness of God
“Blessed be thou, 0 LORD, the God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, 0 LORD, is the greatness: and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, 0 LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:10,11).
Greatness … power … glory … victory … majesty … all in heaven and earth … kingdom … exalted … head over all. We do well to read slowly through these terms to appreciate David’s profound sense of the majestic supremacy of God. It was shared by the Apostle Paul, as we have seen.
This deep conviction of God’s supreme majesty is shared by all the faithful of Old Testament times. Now we should not neglect the Old Testament, for in it are revealed the foundations of the character of God, basic truths about Him which are confirmed and expanded in the New Testament. Furthermore it was to Israel that was granted the great revelation of God’s supremacy over all the gods of mankind in the stirring events of their Exodus from Egypt. The Israelites saw the effects of the plagues upon the Egyptians and witnessed their own deliverance at the crossing of the Red Sea. Moses put it very strikingly 40 years later:
“For ask now of the days that are past … whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is? … Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials (R.V. margin), by signs, and by wonders … according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” (Deuteronomy 4:32-34).
Upon this open demonstration of His power and salvation on their behalf, God based His appeal for their service towards Him:
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar (special) treasure unto me from among all peoples … ” (Exodus 19:4,5).
Notice particularly here that God’s appeal for faith in Himself was solidly based not upon His moral excellence (of which He would give plenty of evidence later on), but upon the demonstration of His supremacy over the greatest pagan system on earth at the time (the Egyptian). This is reinforced when God reveals through Moses His Law for Israel, for the very first clause begins:
“I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).
The authority comes first; the moral teaching follows. It is impossible to dispense with this order. Strikingly, Jesus adopts the same position. The words he spoke, he said, were not his own, but his Father’s. In prayer to God, he addresses Him as
“Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25).
Though God was a Father to all who sought Him, yet He remained “Lord of heaven and earth”. Unhappily it has to be said that these priorities have been widely ignored in our days, even by many who would regard themselves as followers of Jesus Christ.
Eternal or dying one
“Now unto the King eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17, R.V.).
“The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power eternal. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16, R.V.).
It is remarkable that in these descriptions the two most explicit terms about God’s nature are expressed as negatives. He is “incorruptible” (not corrupting) and “immortal” (not dying). God has a “nature” the direct opposite of “human flesh“. So He is “eternal”, literally “of the ages” (R.V. margin). It is significant that Paul uses this term three times in one verse: “… to the King eternal (of the ages) … be glory for ever and ever” (unto the ages of the ages — R.V. margin). How impressed he must have been with the thought of the everlasting nature of God.
Jesus Christ (whose real name was Jeshua) was born, had to learn everything and went around telling about his heavenly Father, without Him he could not do anything. As the sent one from God he wanted people to show the way to God. By the works Jesus did and by what people could see in nature they had to see not only the greatness of Jehovah God, but also the uniqueness of this God.
The Uniqueness of God
From his recital of all God’s great works on behalf of His people, Moses drew the following conclusion:
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else” (Deuteronomy 4:39).
This was a vital affirmation in a world of a multitude of pagan gods. It remained vital all through the centuries of Israel’s persistent neglect of the God who had delivered them. In His frequent reminders through the prophets that it was He who had delivered them from the oppression of Egypt, He declares that He is God alone:
“I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 45:5).
“We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods … yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things … and one Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).
And in writing to the Ephesians Paul says:
“There is one body … one Spirit … one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all … ” (4:4-6).
Next: The real God
- Where to learn the truth
- The Bible her revealing concerning God
- This month’s survey question: Does God Exist?
- The true light in recorded words
- Challenging claim 1 Whose word
- Eternal Word that tells everything
- The World framed by the Word of God
- The Word being a quality or aspect of God Himself
- Sayings around God
- Attributes of God
- One God the Father, a compendium of essays
- Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
- I can’t believe that … (4) God’s word would be so violent
- An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows
- Live by Faith