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Posts Tagged ‘God’s Character’

(Steve and I are enjoying time with family this week.  I’ll return soon with  new posts.  Meanwhile, I’ll reblog previous ones.  Hopefully you’ll find them meaningful again, or perhaps for the first time.  The following post was first published November 14, 2013.)

(“The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;  the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”– Numbers 6:25-26)

Lovely, poetic words.  But what do those phrases about God’s  face mean?  Even if God’s face did shine upon me, or turn toward me, how would I know?  I’ve never seen God; no one has (1 John 4:12).

A little research turned up this explanation:   God’s face represents his character.

Read those verses from Numbers again.  But this time replace the word face with the word character.  The meaning becomes clearer.

The Lord make his character shine upon you

And be gracious to you;

The Lord turn his character toward you

And give you peace.

How many of God’s character traits can you name?  David named seven in a psalm of thanksgiving found in 1 Chronicles 16:8-34.  God is:

  • Powerful (v. 9)
  • Strong (v. 11)
  • Trustworthy (v. 15)
  • Majestic (v. 27)
  • Holy (v. 29)
  • Good (v. 34)
  • Loving (v. 34)

This brief list is just the beginning of descriptors we could name about God.  He is infinite; his attributes are infinite!

All of those character traits and more are shining upon our lives, as he cares for us, lives in us,and participates with us every moment of our lives.

  • His power works miracles.
  • His strength carries us through difficult times.
  • He can be trusted to always do what is best.
  • His supreme majesty speaks of his authority over the universe.
  • He is righteous and holy in all he does.
  • Out of his goodness he provides countless blessings.
  • And all of this is graciously given, not out of a sense of duty because he made us, but because he loves us.

God’s face shining upon us represents God’s radiance.

 If we insist on following our own way, as Israel did, he may choose to hide his face from us (Isaiah 1:15).

But.

“When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring” (Proverbs 16:15).

When the King of the universe shines his favor upon us, what more could we want?  Life for us is not mere existence.  It is a rich, full life–rich with blessings, and full of satisfaction, peace, and joy!

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Thank you, Almighty God, for manifesting your character in my life.  I have seen you work miracles and give strength to the weak.  I have watched as you engineered circumstances to accomplish your plan. (And it always turned out to be a hundred times better than anything I could dream up!)

 I marvel at your power and majesty on display in creation.  I have recorded hundreds of blessings you’ve provided for our family.  Your radiance shines brilliantly all around me. 

 And now, as a thank you gift back to you, dear Father, may my life reflect your radiance to others—with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

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How has God shone his face upon you?  Please share in the Comments below!

(art credit:  www.christianwordart.com)

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Have you ever heard statements like these?

  • “Oh, yes.  God wants me to be happy. He’s promised to give me the desires of my heart.”
  • “If you have enough faith, anything you ask of God can be yours.”
  • “God will take care of me. I don’t need to budget or plan ahead.”
  • “I can’t help it if I’m moody; that’s the way God made me. He understands.”

Any person who holds such beliefs can point to a verse or two in scripture, proving their points.

The problem is, the Bible was not written in brief, stand-alone statements. Bible truths are based on the context of the whole. Historical and literary understanding are also important.

Another problem? We wish for God to conduct himself in a certain way.  We even find scriptures that seem to back up our desires. But the truth is, we must know God as he is.

If we don’t, we’re living in confusion.

“The sooner we accept God as he is, and do not imagine him as we would like him to be, the sooner we will move from the path of confusion to confidence” (Selwyn Hughes, 1928-2006, Welsh pastor and author).

However, so much of God is beyond our understanding.

 

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“Just as [we’ll] never understand

the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman,

so [we’ll] never understand

the mystery at work in all that God does.”

Ecclesiastes 11:5, The Message.

Our finite brains cannot fully comprehend our infinite God. But that shouldn’t stop us from learning and experiencing all we can.

Learning comes from the Bible. In its pages we find a glorious treasure trove of wisdom, encouragement, and guidance.

Experience comes through exercising our faith.

“If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer, and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience” (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, twelfth century monk).

It is impossible to fully explain this life of faith, just as you can’t fully explain what it’s like falling in love, getting married, or becoming a parent. Words fail to describe such beautiful and strong emotions.

We had to trust those who told us:

  • “You’ll know you’re in love when it happens to you.”
  • “Your wedding day will be the best day of your life to that point.”
  • “Perhaps the only ‘high’ better than falling in love or getting married is holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.”

 

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Similarly, we have to trust what God tells us through his spokesmen in the Bible. For example:

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect,

and all his ways are just.

A faithful God who does no wrong,

upright and just is he.”

Deuteronomy 32:4

You might want to read that third line again. Our God is faithful—reliable, loyal, and completely trustworthy. HE. DOES. NO. WRONG.  Now that’s Someone in whom we can place our confidence!

Here is another example of scripture-truth about him:

 

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 “Righteousness and justice

are the foundation of [God’s] throne;

love and faithfulness go before [him].”

Psalm 89:14

Those four characteristics—right-doing, justice, love, and faithfulness—are the bedrock of who our God is. Everything he does flows from those attributes, including difficult circumstances and painful events that make no sense to us.

“Our inability to discern why bad things sometimes happen to us does not disprove God’s benevolence; it merely exposes our ignorance” (Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler, Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith, p. 46).

Someday we will understand why such events occur. For now we must trust.

But our trust is not blind. We can be confident in our God because:

“True faith rests in the character of God” (A.W. Tozer).

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.whatmykidsread.com; http://www.photobucket.com; http://www.huffingtonpost.com, http://www.pinterest.com.)

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If I asked you, “What’s the most popular flower?”, you’d probably get the answer right. It’s the rose. En masse on the bush, they provide a striking sight—dozens of large blooms framed by dark green leaves.

 

Rose-bush

 

But most of us can’t pass by a rose-bush without leaning in close to view the soft petals, and breathe in the singular scent. To study a blossom up close enhances our appreciation.

 

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We notice the varying colors, the delicate curl of each petal, the intricate, spiraling pattern. Our sense of wonder increases the more we gaze.

Might the same be true as we study the beauty of our God? That’s what David wanted to do:

 

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(“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

 

But how can we gaze upon an invisible God? By contemplating all his glorious attributes. One commentator described the beauty of the Lord as the harmony of his perfections. I like that.

Just as the petals of a rose create a harmony of color, pattern, symmetry, and form, so the traits of our holy God manifest a harmony of perfect grace, holiness, triunity, and power.

And though we may be acquainted with a number of God’s attributes, appreciation of their beauty expands with a close-up view—through the lenses of scripture and personal experience.  For example:

God’s beautiful grace becomes visible in the story of the prodigal son, as we witness the father actually running to welcome his wayward son home.  He throws his arms around the filthy youth, even kissing him (Luke 15:11-20).

prodigal-son

God’s glorious holiness (purity, righteousness, and separateness from everything else in the universe) is highlighted in Revelation 4:1-11 as John strains for words to describe the Lord of heaven…

… ”Seated on the Throne, suffused in gem hues of amber and flame with a nimbus of emerald…Lightning flash and thunder crash pulsed from the Throne. Seven fire-blazing torches fronted the Throne (these are the Sevenfold Spirit of God)” — vs. 3-5, The Message.  

God’s harmonious triunity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is celebrated in Ephesians 1. Paul reminds us that:

  • God the Father bestows all spiritual blessings upon us (v.3).
  • God the Son provided redemption and forgiveness of our sin (v.7).
  • God the Spirit guarantees our inheritance in heaven and gives us assurance (vs. 13b-14).

And God’s magnificent power is on display throughout scripture and creation, even in our personal lives.  Our Heavenly Father is a God of infinite wisdom, unfailing guidance, strong empowerment, attentive care, competent help,  rich blessings, and more.

We can contemplate each of these attributes as we would the individual petals of a perfect rose.  We can remember occasions when he has demonstrated each trait in our lives.  And perhaps we’ll burst into song as Moses did:

 

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(“Who among the god is like you, O Lord?  Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” — Exodus 15:11).

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My heart fills with wonder and praise, O Lord, because you are a beautiful, holy God.  No one is your equal in power, wisdom, creativity, splendor, or love.  No one else is perfect in all he does.  And you, in all your holy glory are  My.  Heavenly.  Father.   Such statements are too glorious to comprehend!  

But oh, how grateful I am that they are true.

(Photo & art credits:  www.dorsetcereals.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.ameliarhodes.com; http://www.luke-15.org; http://www.praisejesustoday.com.)

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