Is God stern and angry, or is He kind, loving, and even humble?
"Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make Himself known to us and bring us into communion with Him. Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing. The open heart will be impressed with the love and glory of God as revealed through the works of His hands. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the glories of the heavens, speak to our hearts, and invite us to become acquainted with Him who made them all." [View all the Creation Nugget videos below.]
Steps to Christ, page 85
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.
"God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like the streams of water bursting from a living spring, blessings flow out from Him to all His creatures. And wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow out to others in love and blessing.
"Our Savior's joy was in the uplifting and redemption of fallen men. For this He counted not His life dear unto Himself, but endured the cross, despising the shame. So angels are ever engaged in working for the happiness of others. This is their joy. That which selfish hearts would regard as humiliating service, ministering to those who are wretched and in every way inferior in character and rank, is the work of sinless angels. The spirit of Christ's self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades heaven and is the very essence of its bliss. This is the spirit that Christ's followers will possess, the work that they will do."
Steps to Christ, page 77
"This is the character of God. It is from the Father's heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Savior, was God 'manifest in the flesh.'"
Steps to Christ, page 6
We hear all the time that "God is LOVE!" But then we hear about a time when God tells His people to "wait and see the Glory of the Lord", and the next thing we know God sent an angel to kill all of their enemies. If God really is full of love, then how can He kill so many people? If God loves everyone, how can He kill anyone?
We need to keep in mind that God's love is not just "feel-good" words and "warm-and-fuzzy" thoughts. His love can be seen in REAL actions, all based on what needs to be done for those who are trusting Him. Sometimes His love can be seen as "tough love", or as an action in defense of those who have called on Him to help them, or maybe something totally different. (see Psalm 91:14, 15) But these actions are still done in LOVE.
One example of an action that some people might have a hard time understanding is when God tells His people to go take someone's land, and then kill everyone. But we need to keep in mind that the land may not have been the current "owners" rightful land anyway, and may have been stolen years before when THAT owner had been killed. God knows every detail of each person and He certainly knows the details of the land He takes back. (Let's give God a little credit. He knows what He's doing, even if we don't understand.)
The point is that every action in the Bible that makes us think poorly of God deserves a second look. So when we hear or read about something like this we need to ask ourselves, "If God is love, why did He do this? How can I see this action as one of LOVE? Was this a rescue? If so, who was God responding to? Was this a "tough love" type of action? How does this action show me that God is a fair, kind, just, faithful God? How can I see God's mercy and even His grace in this action?"
(Keep in mind too that some of what's in the Bible is a record of what humans have done to humans, sometimes even in the name of God, though God may not have been "involved" at all.)
The Bible is a revelation of God, an effort on His part to let us know who He is, what His character is like and what our relationship to Him should be. (The Bible also shows us what happens when sin is allowed to have its way, and why God wants it GONE!. Sin results in unhappiness, hate, pain, sickness, death, ... .) We know that the Bible can be trusted because we have proven it to be true, so what does the Bible tell us about God?
1. God is a living Being.
He is not merely an idea, a myth, a figment of the imagination. He is a real Being: "He is the living God, and steadfast for ever" Daniel 6:26
He has a dwelling place: "Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place" 1 Kings 8:39
He can see and hear: "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers" 1 Peter 3:12
He thinks and remembers: "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust" Psalm 103:14
He is generous: "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" Psalm 84:11
He is eager to be helpful: "I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go" Isaiah 48:17
He is approachable: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" Hebrews 4:16 (Further study: The Night of Wrestling)
2. God is eternal.
He endures. He is not here today and gone tomorrow. He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" Hebrews13:8
God has always been. There never was a time when He did not exist: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God" Psalm 90:2
God will always exist. There never will be a time when He will cease to exist: "For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say I live for ever" Deuteronomy 32:40
His kingdom will never end: "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations" Psalm 145:13
God is immortal: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever" 1 Timothy 1:17
3. God is omnipotent.
He is all powerful: "Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all" 1 Chronicles 29:12 "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" Revelation 19:6. (Further study: Solomon)
There is nothing that God cannot do. He can even read our thoughts: "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" Job 42:2 "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26
God does what He pleases: "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" Psalm 115:3
4. God is omniscient.
He knows everything. You cannot hide anything from God: "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings: Job 34:21
He understands everything: "His understanding is infinite" Psalm 147:5
He hears everything, both word and thought: "For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether" Psalm 139:4
He sees everything: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" Psalm 139:7-10
Darkness cannot hide anything from God: "Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" Psalm 139:12 "He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him" Daniel 2:22
All knowledge and wisdom come from Him: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out" Romans 11:33
He knows what will happen in the future: "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them" Isaiah 42:9 "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" Isaiah 46:10
5. God is infinite.
He is without limitations of any kind. Not only in power, wisdom, and knowledge, but also in righteousness: "My righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation" Isaiah 51:8
God is holy in every thought, word, and action: "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works" Psalm 145:17
His kindness and His mercy are without limit: "For the mountains shall depart, and hills be moved; but my kindness shall not depart from thee" Isaiah 54:10 "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him" Psalm 103:17
God's tenderness can be viewed to be like that of the best earthly parent: "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" Psalm 103:13 "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" Isaiah 66:13
6. God is meek.
God is humble; He's not proud. The life of Jesus tells us what God is like and Jesus said of Himself, "I am meek and lowly in heart" Matthew 11:29 This tells us that God the Father is also meek, humble and not proud of what He can do. (Further study: The Touch of Faith)
In the story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3) God appears to Moses in a lowly, simple bush. There is nothing about a bush that is very attractive, yet God used a lowly bush to shroud His glory and majesty for Moses when He could have used something much more glamorous. (Further study: Moses)
"And being found in fassion as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8
7. God is loving.
The list goes on and on. Here is how God is described in the book of Proverbs:
- God is aware of all that happens - Proverbs 15:3
- God knows all people - Proverbs 15:11; 16:2; 21:2
- God is the maker of all things - Proverbs 16:4
- God controls all things - Proverbs 16:33; 21:30
- God is a strong tower - Proverbs 18:10
- God rescues good people from danger - Proverbs 11:8, 21
- God rewards the godly - Proverbs 11:31
- God blesses the godly and condemns the wicked - Proverbs 12:2
- God delights in our prayers - Proverbs15:8, 29
- God loves those who obey Him - Proverbs 11:27; 15:9-10; 16:20; 22:12
- God cares for the poor, sick, and widows Proverbs 15:25; 22:22-23
- God purifies hearts - Proverbs 17:3
- God hates evil - Proverbs 17:5; 21:27; 28:9
God Himself tells us what His character consists of. "And the LORD passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin..." Exodus 34:6, 7
John (the disciple) wrote, "God is light" & "God is love". 1 John 1:5 & 4:8 The Apostle Paul wrote about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and if God is "love" then we can learn something about God from this list:
- Love suffereth long, and is kind; [God's character is patient and kind.]
- Love envieth not; [God's character is loving, He does not envy anyone.]
- Love vaunteth not itself, [God does not force Himself on us. His character is meek.]
- Is not puffed up, [God is not proud; God's character is humble; He is not full of self.]
- Doth not behave itself unseemly, [God's character is good and temperate in all things.]
- Seeketh not its own, [God's character is gentle and always wants the best for others.]
- Is not easily provoked, [God doesn't get angry easily. His character is patient.]
- Taketh no account of evil; [goodness, peace]
- Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, [God's character is only goodness and hates evil, but He still loves the evil doer.]
- But rejoiceth with the truth; [God loves truth.]
- Beareth all things, believeth all things, [God can handle it and He believes in you.]
- Hopeth all things, endureth all things. [God is full of hope, peace, faith and He's longsuffering, and patient.]
- Love never faileth. [Even God's unnatural act ("his strange work... his strange act." Isa. 28:21) of the destruction of the wicked (in Hell) is actually unfailing love, both for them and for the righteous. The wicked knew the penalty of sin, but have chosen to live wickedly for a season and then to die. So, God is giving them what they chose. The righteous are sick of sin, sick of what it does to people and sick of what it has done to God. They want it to be totally erased from the universe.]
These same few verses from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 have been written a little different in the New Living Translation (NLT), and BibleTimelines.com has take the liberty of replacing the word "love" with "God" (remember, "God is love") to help us understand what God is like:
[God] is patient
[God] is not jealous
[God] is not boastful
[God] is not proud
[God] is not rude.
[God] does not demand [His] own way.
[God] is not irritable
[God] keeps no record of being wronged.
[God] does not rejoice about injustice
[God] rejoices whenever the truth wins out
[God] never gives up, never loses faith
[God] is always hopeful
[God] endures through every circumstance.
"The Bible enjoins courtesy, and it presents many illustrations of the unselfish spirit, the gentle grace, the winsome temper, that characterize true politeness. These are but reflections of the character of Christ. All the real tenderness and courtesy in the world, even among those who do not acknowledge His name, is from Him. And He desires these characteristics to be perfectly reflected in His children. It is His purpose that in us men shall behold His beauty." My Life Today, page 191
The Devil has been spreading lies about what kind of Being God is, so Jesus came to show us what God is really like. Jesus was God made visible. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John1:1, 14 In fact, when asked what the Father was like, "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Show us the Father?" John 14:9 The character of the Father and the character of the Son (Jesus) are the same; when you study one you are learning about the other.
God could be a tyrant, intolerant and totally indifferent to the needs of creatures like us, but His infinite power, wisdom, and knowledge are so blended with limitless goodness, mercy, and truth that He is the only Being worthy of universal worship. "Thou, even thou, art Lord alone" Nehemiah 9:6
God wants only the best for us:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
"God desires us to be happy, and He gave us the precepts of the law that in obeying them we might have joy."
The Desire of Ages, page 308
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 51:10 King David is asking God to do in him what we should also ask for, that God will forgive our sins and make our hearts clean, and give us the character and attitude of Jesus.
The fact that God wants us to hate sin as much as He does is shown in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...". If we have the same attitude that was in Jesus then we will have these same character traits. Jesus said, "As I have loved you, [so should you] also love one another."
"When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." Christ's Object Lessons, page 69
"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
"Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God's pardoning grace."
Christ's Object Lessons, page 251
One more thing about God. As stated above, there is one thing that God hates. God hates sin; He hates what it does to His creation. He hates sin so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from its results, which is unhappiness, pain, and death.
Keep in mind that to hate sin is much different than to hate the sinner. We are all sinners, yet God loves us very much. He loves us enough that He is willing to allow us to chose whether we want to live or die. In other words, He allows us to chose whether we will trust Him to do what is best for us, or not to trust Him at all. (Remember, it is possible to say that we trust God when we really don't.)
All of this tells us that we have a God who is totally beyond comprehension, that He is loving beyond understanding, and has power and wisdom that is unlimited. God is NOT easily angered, is patient and kind, forgiving and just, full of mercy and grace. God is even limitless in His humility, and calls Himself, the Great I AM.
Knowing all of this can make us question if it is possible for there to even be such a Being, but all around us there is proof, proof, and more proof that God is REAL, and that we can trust and love Him.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
More to think about:
For even better understanding and further study read:
A Knowledge of God
God's Love for Man
The following short videos may help as you attempt to understand our great God:
The Solar System & Your Happiness
The Universe: What is Man?
The following Creation Nugget videos were created for the same reason, to help us understand our God better:
Thin Film Iridescence
Iridescent Peacock Feathers
The Vibrating Human Eye
DNA-The Best Storage Ever