Topic: The Nature And Attributes Of God
MEMORY VERSE: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Deeper Christian Life Ministry Search The Scripture Sunday 21st February 2021 (Lesson 988)
Man is born with a God-conscious mind. There are millions who have never read the Scripture but profess belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. This is because God created in man that instinct to know Him. Knowledge of His nature and attributes is important as it has been observed that people’s civilization, progress, attainments and moral standards never rise above their concept of God. Wherever individuals, nations and churches have a true concept of God, prosperity, peace, progress, great exploits, material and spiritual blessings, growth and success are always their lots. Daniel rightly said, “…the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). The more a person knows God the more spiritual he becomes and the more progress he makes spiritually and physically.
Question 1: Why is it important to know God?
GENERAL CONCEPTS OF GOD (Isaiah 40:18-20; Romans 1:21-25; Ephesians 4:17,18; 2:2,12; Mark 12:24).
A wrong concept of God can make one not to enjoy God’s best in life. The Bible gives us the reason the modern man follows these blind-alley beliefs: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God…” (Romans 1:21). Modern man believes in agnosticism. Agnostics believe that the finite mind of man cannot grasp the infinite God. They therefore state that man cannot know God. They cannot be right. Although man cannot fully grasp or understand God, the Bible states that we can know Him as He reveals Himself to us. We cannot know Him perfectly with our finite minds or else, He would cease to be our object of worship. We can know God enough only as to help us understand His plan for our lives and His sovereignty over the universe. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Pantheism is another school of thought whereby modern man tries to evade the worship of the true God. The pantheist says that “God is the universe and the universe is God”. This is another way of saying “God is anything and anything is God.” What a folly to equate God with clouds, trees, birds, reptiles and rivers. Pantheists worship nature instead of worshipping the one who created the universe. Another group is made up of polytheists who believe that the universe is not governed by one force alone, but by many. Hence, they believe that there is a god of peace, a god of war, a god of fire, a god of water, etc. Polytheists promote the worship of many gods.
Another wrong concept of God is Deism. The deist admits that God created the universe, but afterward, left it to be run by itself. According to this view, there is no possibility for revelation or the miracle-working power of God since He has gone away to somewhere nobody knows. A universe without an ever-present God is a universe without purpose. If God existed before but is now nowhere to be found then it is man who governs the world today. Natural man cannot be the final authority. God is alive and He is actively involved with the control of the universe. Men may be confused about God’s presence and His active participation in the affairs of men, but His word reminds us that He rules in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:17). The God who created the universe is alive today and He is in active control of all things.
Question 2: What do you understand by atheism?
Atheism, taken from two Greek words meaning “Without God” is another view that runs contrary to the teaching of Scripture on the nature and attributes of God. Atheism is not just an ungodly philosophy; it is also a way of life that denies the existence of God. It is living as if there is no God. Actually, everyone has the consciousness of the existence of a Supreme Being. Men may try to brush away the fact that God exists, but if they will be true to themselves, they will confess that they are only trying to disbelieve the existence of God, which they know instinctively and practically to be true. The word of God describes the atheist as a fool: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). People who refuse to accept the truth of God’s word concerning whom God is will find themselves holding to misleading, blasphemous, absurd and man-made theories. Atheists have become modern-day idolaters. It is folly to propound theories about the existence of almighty God, the Ancient of Days, instead of allowing God to reveal Himself to us. How apt are the words of Jesus to the blind theorists of His day: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).
The Scripture says, “…the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Corinthians 1:21). Man cannot know God except through God’s revelation of Himself to man. Whatever knowledge we have of God is given to us by revelation from God Himself. He has voluntarily revealed His nature to those who are simple enough to believe in Him. God will not make Himself known to those who rebel against His Word. But as we reject all unscriptural views, the Lord will reveal Himself to us and show us more of His nature and attributes. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD…” (Hosea 6:3).
GOD’S NAME REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE (Genesis 17:1; Exodus 3:14; 6:3; 15:26; 17:15; Psalm 83:18; Judges 6:24; Jeremiah 23:6; Ezekiel 48:35; Genesis 22:14)
God’s nature and His attributes are inseparable. His nature is revealed through His name. God manifested Himself through different names in the Scriptures not for the purpose of confusing man but to reveal the different phases of His nature. And each name explains more fully the nature of God. “Elohim” is one of the names of God used in the Scripture. The name “Elohim,” translated God, is used about 2,500 times in the Old Testament and it means “The strong One.” The name is used whenever the creative power of God is described or implied. The name “Elohim” is a uni-plural noun which foreshadows the doctrine of the trinity of the Godhead.
God also revealed Himself as Jehovah. The Word “Jehovah” is derived from the verb “to be” and it includes the past, present and future tenses. In other words, He is the One who was, and is and is to come, “the Eternal One”.
The Name “Jehovah” is really like a blank cheque. Sometimes in the Old Testament, this blank cheque is filled for us, while at other times we are encouraged to fill it ourselves, as we have need. Where there is need, there is God to meet it. Every now and then we come across Jehovah compounded with another word to form His complete name for that occasion. When Israel had need of God as their Banner to rally their drooping spirits and to lead them into victory against enemies that fought against them as they journeyed through the wilderness, Jehovah God came to their rescue. And so, after the victory over Amalek, they “built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi” (Exodus 17:15), which means, “I am thy banner.” As a believer, you can find comfort in knowing that in all your troubles, the battle is the Lord’s and He will raise a banner against your enemy.
God also revealed Himself to the children of Israel as Jehovah Rapha, “the LORD that healeth”. This is to show God’s people that healing of infirmities is God’s will and pre-occupation (Exodus 15:26). All who are sick today can look up to Him for healing.
When Gideon feared for his life, having seen an angel of Jehovah face to face, the Lord said unto him, “Peace be unto thee, fear not: thou shalt not die.” Thus, it was discovered that Jehovah is peace, and to commemorate the new revelation he built an altar unto Jehovah and called it “Jehovah-Shalom”, meaning, “I am thy peace” (Judges 6:24). Peace flows like a river into the hearts and lives of all who belong to the Lord.
The prophet, Jeremiah, says of the Messiah who was to come, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:6). God’s people shall dwell safely because Jehovah Tsidkenu shall stand for them, answering every accusation against them, becoming their surety and righteousness.
God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac for a burnt offering in the land of Moriah, and he obeyed. Just as he was about to slay his son, God spoke to him and revealed Himself as the Lord who provides (Genesis 22:14). God speaks to His people as Jehovah-Jireh, for He is rich enough to meet the needs of His children.
The Lord is revealed as the Shepherd in Psalm 23. David who himself was a shepherd, basked in the bosom of the Great Shepherd, seeing Him as the fulfilment of all his needs for provision, security, peace, guidance, restoration, safety, comfort and anointing. Jehovah-Ra’ah is all the believer needs. He is the shepherd of the weak, defenceless sheep. God also revealed Himself as Jehovah-Shammah or the Lord who is there (Ezekiel 48:35). This name indicates Jehovah’s constant presence with His people. He is the One who inhabits our praises, who is with us when we are in trouble and He is our very present help (Psalm 46:1; 91:15). We can rest assured in His ever-abiding presence for He says, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
Question 3: Mention four names of God and what they signify.
GOD’S ATTRIBUTES AND Nature (Isaiah 40:9-17,21-28; John 4:24; Psalms 139:1-16; 147:5; 99:9; Daniel 4:35; Deuteronomy 3:24)
It pays to become thoroughly acquainted with God’s nature. The more we know Him, the more definite we shall become as regards what we expect from Him. A deeper understanding of God will also enlighten us concerning what He expects from us.
God is a Spirit. Although He thinks, feels, speaks, and acts, He is not subject to the limitations of those who possess a body. He cannot be seen by natural eyes or limited to physical elements. This fact shows the necessity of worshipping and communing with Him in spirit. We must be born of the Spirit so that we can fellowship with our father who is a Spirit.
God is infinite; He is neither subject to, nor limited by earthly boundaries. In relation to space, He is everywhere (1 Kings 8:27). There is no place in all of infinite space where God is not. In relation to time, He is eternal. He was, and is, and ever shall be (Psalm 90:2; Revelation 4:8-10). This truth emphasises the necessity of faith in our worship of God. There is no other way by which we may comprehend Him. Since God is infinite and there is no measuring of His greatness, He is certainly sufficient for our needs.
Question 4: What can we learn from God’s sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence?
God is sovereign whether we recognise it or not. The sovereignty of God is one of the deepest thoughts in the universe. What a comfort to know that things in the world are not just left to blind chance but are following closely the pattern which God has decreed! He holds a position of absolute authority. We should not forget however that God’s sovereign will is exercised in perfect keeping with His nature. We should have no fear of His will for it is always the expression of His great love and mercy.
God is wise. His wisdom is a combination of all His other attributes. He knows the end from the beginning; He is able to subdue all things unto Himself, and He is everywhere. He therefore rules and designs the course of events for He knows what will be the ultimate. How grateful we should be to have this all-wise God to direct and control our affairs! What a blessing to have the Ancient of Days as our Counsellor and Guide as we traverse this complex world!
God is omnipotent. His power knows no limitation. He is all-powerful. And there is nothing that He cannot do. “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2). God’s power is over all. In the world of nature, with the heavenly inhabitants and even with Satan, He is all-powerful. Every measure of power with which we are familiar, even the fantastic revelations of atomic or nuclear energy, is grossly inadequate to describe the power of God. We must never limit the Almighty.
God is omnipresent. He is everywhere at all times. His presence fills the universe. This gives us both comfort and warning. We derive comfort in knowing that His presence is always with us. But there is warning for those who attempt to run or hide from Him. None can escape from the presence of God. There is no place where a man may hide from the searching eye of God (Genesis 28:15; Psalm 139:7-10).
God is omniscient. He is perfect in knowledge. He knows all things. He is all-wise (Psalm 94:9; 139:16; Hebrews 4:13). He has perfect knowledge of all that transpires in human existence. He knows all that has taken place, what is taking place and will take place in future. There is no problem that He cannot solve. It is precious to know that He who can see the end from the beginning, and who knows what will do us good, has promised to guide us step by step.
Question 5: What challenge does the holiness of God pose to every believer?
God is holy. This is the essential reason He is our object of worship. When Isaiah saw the Lord in His glory, he heard an angel cry, “…Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts…” (Isaiah 6:3). It was the holiness of God, which drew forth the worship of his heart. The visions given to Moses, Isaiah and John place emphasis on holiness, without which no man shall see God (Habakkuk 1:13; Hebrews 12:14). The fact that God is holy should greatly influence our approach to Him. Holiness is so much a necessity in the plan of God for man that He gave His only begotten Son to make holiness possible. Since God is holy, then only those who are holy can abide in His presence. There is no shortcut to fellowship with Him.
A holy God requires holy people to worship and serve Him. It is only sanctified souls who can best comprehend, appreciate and enjoy the nature and attributes of God. The amount of grace, love, power and goodness you draw from God depends, to a large extent, on your understanding of His nature and conformity with it.
Deeper Christian Life Ministry Search The Scripture Sunday 21st February 2021 (Lesson 988)