Monday, March 14, 2011

What is your image of God like?

What comes to your mind when I ask that question? Maybe you picture a far away God, creating the universe and then stepping back to let events unfold. Maybe you remember flannelgraph stories of God on the mountain giving the ten commandments in fire and smoke. Perhaps your view of God is more general, picturing a loving and kind spirit that lives all places.

What image comes to your mind?
Do you like it?
Does it make you comfortable?
Where did you get the data to form that image?

We do not get to decide who God is.

God is very clear in His letter to us, the Bible, that we are to not make for ourselves an image of God. (Deut. 5:6-10). When I tell others about Him, I am not trying to convince anyone about my idea of God. It's not my idea at all. I am simply presenting who God says He is in His Word.

So if you claim to believe the Bible, attending church on Sundays and listening to sermons from the Bible, then it is imperative that you read it to make sure the God you are worshiping is the One True God, and not an image that you have created. Make sure the Jesus you sing to on Sundays is the real Jesus, and not a 21st Century, non-offensive, stale image. Make sure you are worshiping the real thing.

Often, I do not understand God. 

I'm currently reading through Deuteronomy, and today I read about the blessings of obedience and curses for disobedience given to the Israelite Nation. Moses, speaking for God, said about disobedience:

"Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please Him to ruin and destroy you." (Deut 28:63a).

You might want to read that again.

Does that fit into the image of God that you have made and worshiped?

Maybe you are focused on social justice and prefer verses like, "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." (Deut. 10:18).

Or perhaps you like the idea that God loves the world and cling to verses like, "For God so loved the world." (John 3:16a).

Maybe you think that if someone is sincere, God will be ok with their image of Him, no matter how false it is, and you recite Romans 12:9a, "Love must be sincere."

I believe that God is a universal God. 

Let me define: I mean that He created the Universe, and He has a plan for all mankind. But at the end of the day, regardless of the image of God you have created, there is only one true God, a jealous God, and He has declared that He sets the rules for how He should be worshiped. (Deut 4:24).

The penalty for our sin is death. (Romans 6:23). Sincerity, Good Works, Kindness, and Love will not appease God.

For example, God says:

"Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places." (Deut 12:2-3).

"But wait," you say, "I worship the God of the New Testament!"

God hasn't changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).

Jesus said, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41).

And Jesus said, "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:40-42). 

So I ask again, what image of God are you serving? 

Though I may not understand God all the time, I stand in awe of who He is.

Only when we are covered in the righteousness of Christ do we receive God's mercy and forgiveness.

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9).

No comments: