The Glorious God
By Jeanie Layne
The next few weeks, we will be narrowing in on a topic that you should plan to hear from us often: the gospel. Why would we spend so much time on the gospel, you might ask? Why spend time rehashing something that most of us already know? Isn’t this the simplistic Christmas and Easter story that we’ve heard a million times? Perhaps.
Yet, even if you’re a committed follower of Christ, you still need the gospel. Yes, you may be saved from your sin and condemnation, but you may also be (read: you ARE) forgetful. The gospel has power (Romans 1:16) for us as everyday believers. The gospel will not save us all over again each time we rehearse it, but it will strengthen and feed us every time we articulate its truths. If we forget the gospel, we are likely to forget how utterly great God is and how utterly lost we are apart from the grace of God.
If you’re not a committed follower of Christ, you also need the gospel. Maybe you’ve heard the gospel preached a thousand times in a thousand ways, and maybe it’s never seemed necessary. Or maybe you heard it once from a grandmother or a friend, and it sounded strange or too good to be true. Or maybe you’ve never heard it before in your life.
Regardless of the scenario in which you find yourself today, we pray that you read through our next four posts with open ears and an open heart, and we pray the Lord would reveal Himself to you clearly. So, let’s jump in and start with the basics:
Who is God?
Crack open your bible with me and turn to 1 Chronicles 16. In this chapter, the ark of God has successfully been retrieved and brought into Jerusalem, and David has erected a tent to house it temporarily. In his excitement to have the very presence of God dwelling in Jerusalem, David begins to sing, praising and thanking God for what He has done and for who He is. Here’s what we learn about God from David:
God is the Creator of All Things
1 Chronicles 16:26 tells us that “the LORD made the heavens.” David affirms in his praise that God indeed is a creator God. We see this to be true in Genesis 1 and 2, in the account of the creation of the world, where Scripture repeatedly states that “God created,” “God made,” and “God formed” the created world from His desire and His spoken word. God literally says, “I desire that there be light,” and light suddenly exists where it did not exist before (Rev. 4:11). God forms—as a potter forms a vase from a lump of clay—man from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), breathing into man the very breath that gives him life.
God is Sovereign over All Things
1 Chronicles 16:21 tells us that, “[God] allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, ‘Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!’” God retains control over all things, including even mankind. Scripture is clear about His ability to raise to power, and subsequently remove from power, any leader or nation. The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a prime example of God’s power and sovereign authority over the world He has created. In Exodus 9:15-18, the LORD instructs Pharaoh to free God’s people, stating, “For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” God is sovereign, and He desires that His name be made known in the earth He created.
God is Glorious and Worthy of our Rejoicing
1 Chronicles 16:8-10 instructs David’s listeners to “give thanks to the LORD; call up on his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! . . . tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!” As the sovereign creator of the universe, God is worthy of our glory. He is worthy of our words that speak of His greatness and power. He is worthy of our enjoyment and exuberance! Again, David proclaims that, “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place” (1 Chron. 16:27). We see this clearly in the book of Isaiah as well. Isaiah 43:7 reminds us that God will rescue “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Our very existence is intended to bring glory to God. Indeed, God states in Isaiah 42:8 that, “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”
God is Above All Idols
1 Chronicles 16:25-26 tells us that the LORD “is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols.” We see the showdown between God and other gods a number of times throughout Scripture, and every time, the LORD is victorious. In 1 Kings 18, the LORD defeats the prophets of Baal. In 1 Samuel 5, the Philistine idol Dagon falls on its face before the presence of the LORD. This God is also a covenant-making God, and when He establishes covenants with His people, He expects faithfulness to the covenant from His people. Exodus 20:1-6 warns of God’s righteous jealousy when the people fall into idolatry, and God is completely justified in His jealousy, because He is above all other gods and any idols that mankind might make.
God is Holy and Righteous
1 Chronicles 16:29 tells us that we should “tremble before [the LORD]” because of the splendor of his holiness, and verses 14 and 33 emphasize the justness of God’s judgments in the earth. God is perfectly holy, meaning that everything He does is good and right. There is no flaw, defect, or deficiency in Him. Rather, Leviticus 11:44 tells us that God is holy, set apart, distinct. Over and over again, the Psalms proclaim the righteousness and just judgments of God (Ps. 7:9, 7:11, 35:24, 36:6 among many others)!
This God is a sovereign, creator God, who is worthy of our worship and glory, above every other god and any man-made idols, and holy and righteous in everything He does. So what do we do with this?
What is Our Response to this God?
We have two options in response to what we know of God. We can either:
- Respond to God in obedience and worship.
- Respond to God in disobedience and worship other things.
Next week, we will zoom in to take a closer look at mankind. Rachel is going to walk us through the story of the first man and woman God created and the choice they made in response to God. As we gear up for her post, let’s remember that God is holy and just. He created the world and everything in it, and He rules over everything. He deserves our devotion and praise, and His plan for us is that we would not devote our praise to anything other than Him. Paul says it well in 1 Timothy 1:17: “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”