Do You Really Know Who God Is? Part 3

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Do You Really Know Who God Is? Part 3 Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungIf ever there was someone we should get to know intimately, it’s God. How can we write about him and his truth if we don’t have a deep understanding of who he—the source of all truth—is? Join us as we explore God’s attributes and gain a clearer picture of the One we follow, love, and trust!

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Welcome, listeners. Welcome into the deep with us. We’re glad you’re joining us.

Here’s my question. Can any of us really say we know God? We really KNOW him? Everything there is to know about him? I’m thinking not, because he’s very big and our brains are tiny in comparison. But that shouldn’t stop us from doing everything we can, doing our very best, to get to know him.

How can we follow him? How can we trust him? How can we properly worship him if we don’t know him?

Karen: So, we’re going to continue our series on God’s qualities and attributes. This is part three. If you haven’t heard part 1 and part 2, we’ll have a link in the show notes. I’ve got to tell you that in the course of doing these podcasts and trying to think of what the characteristics or traits are of God that I’ve noticed and that I want to explore more, it’s drawn me so much closer to the whole of who God is. Yet I know that I haven’t even begun.

I encourage you to do the same. What traits about God have you noticed? Dig in, explore them, and see where God leads you. Until then we’re going to share these traits today.

God is the Creator

Erin: The first trait we’re going to talk about is that God is the Creator. It’s amusing that we didn’t get to this until part three. Like, we’re creators. As writers, we’re creators. I love to think of this in terms of how God made us in his image, right? So we’re creators, too. It’s our delight as writers to use the creative gifts.

But also I’m thinking about how he’s the ultimate Creator. He’s the prototype. He’s the first. He’s the best. He’s unlimited. He’s got all ability in creativity. Not only can he be an endless supply of creativity. He is a supply for himself and for us as we write.

Then I started thinking about how he acts in the world. God can creatively solve problems in ways that we will never see coming. I think of how many times our life seems so complicated or hopeless or confusing. We can’t see any solution to whatever the situation is.

We have a God who is perfectly creative, and he’s already figured out how to solve everything the way he wants to solve it. We are not always, and probably rarely, going to see it coming. But he’s so much bigger and smarter and wiser and creative.

Guys, I wish we would stop doubting his creativity and stop doubting it in ourselves. He’s given you that gift. Use it and know that he’s going to keep supplying that in you guys.

God is Infinite

Karen: God is also infinite. Now this is the one that just, you know, kind of makes my brain hurt as I try to wrap it around the concept of infinite. No beginning. No end.

Colossians 1:17 tells us, “He is before all things and in him, all things hold together.” Everything holds together in him, but he was before all things. I want to give you a moment to take that in. God was before all things.

When Moses asked God in Exodus, “Who shall I say has sent me?”

God said, “I am that I am.”

Now that’s as definitive as it gets. I am that I am. What he used in there was Yahweh, Jehovah. It’s the most intensely sacred name to Jewish scribes. Many of them will not even pronounce the name. When possible they use another name because it embraces the totality of, “I am that I am.” Beginning, middle, end, beyond, beyond the beginning.

It’s the hardest for our finite brains to grasp the infinite qualities of God. And the fact that he has, as Erin said, infinite resources to work out his will in our lives, to answer the prayers that we bring to him as he sees best. And in the timing that he sees best.

It’s not like God is trying to figure out how to use these limited resources and who gets them. He has an infinite number of resources, not just in the physical, but in the spiritual: his grace, his goodness, his kindness, all of those things. No end to them. No. End.

Erin: One thing you could do with this word is think about the other things we’ve talked about as God being. Loving: infinitely loving. God being creative: infinitely creative. Just put infinite in front of everything. Infinitely big. Like, spend all day putting that word before every attribute and maybe we’ll get some teeny tiny understanding of the infinite incomprehensibility that is God so that we’ll love him and trust him and try to know him better.

God is Righteously Wrathful

The next one, well, here’s one that’s uncomfortable. At least it was for me when I started thinking about it, but I want to talk about it. God is righteously wrathful.

I know that we want to think of God as loving, and he is infinitely loving. We don’t want to think about the fact that he’s wrathful, but every day our God, the Creator of the universe, the God who sustains all life, who was before all things, who holds all things together, who gives us our very breath, every day he’s maligned. He’s minimized. He’s grossly undervalued. He’s taken for granted by Christians and non-Christians alike.

We make ourselves into God when we choose our will over his, and this has been happening, you know, since Adam and Eve. There are consequences for this. God told Adam in Genesis 3:17: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”

So yes, God is loving, but he’s also just, and there is a just wrath for sin. Thanks be to God that there is a perfect atonement for this wrath in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.

But why am I talking to you about all this? It’s because I don’t want us to minimize our sin. I don’t want us to minimize our poor choices or our moral failures. If we minimize that, it’s like we’re saying Christ’s death on the cross was simple, a task that was easy. No big deal.

But it wasn’t. It was costly.

I want us to be mortified by sin. I’m not saying that, you know, we’re supposed to be paralyzed and beat ourselves up forever because again, our sins are atoned for through Christ. But I am saying that our attitude needs to be like Joseph’s attitude. I think of him in Potiphar’s house when Potiphar’s wife kept trying to seduce him. Joseph, in this terribly unfair situation basically says in Genesis 39:9, ” How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Sin is a moral outrage against God. If we don’t keep that in mind, we will lose what it means to be God and what it means to be people. We can’t be properly humble, and we can’t be grateful for what he’s done for us. God help our world and our country in the wrath that we deserve for this moral outrage. I just want us to keep it in mind.

God is Incomprehensible

Karen: That makes me think of one of the other attributes I’ve been researching, and that’s the fact that God is incomprehensible. We are told in scripture to fear God. We are told in scripture that God’s grace and love are infinite. We are told in scripture that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.

And we are also told to fear not. All of this, it may seem contradictory, but it’s not. It’s everything that God is. Yet to our minds, it’s incomprehensible. How often have you prayed and asked God for an answer? It seems like the answer doesn’t come, and you just, you can’t figure out what he’s doing. We can go through our whole lives and feel as though God never brought that answer to bear, even though we prayed.

We say to ourselves, “When I get to eternity, I’ll ask God about this and I’ll get an answer.”

I’ve come to the place where I’ve decided that there are things that we will not need to understand. When we are standing before God Almighty, I’m not going to say to him, “By the way, about that prayer that I prayed back in 1996 that you never seemed to answer, what was going up with that?”

We will never say that to God, because as Psalms 145:3 tells us, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” We can’t comprehend all of who God is and how great he is.

Romans 11:33-34 tells us, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been in his counselor?'”

None of us can counsel him. None of us will really know the mind of the Lord until we are there standing face to face with him, because sin has come into our world. Sin is in our hearts. It’s a part of humanity, and it blocks our ability to fully grasp God in all his power and glory. To fully comprehend the totality of God.

Scripture tells us that we see through a glass darkly. It’s that veil of sin that’s blocking our eyes and blocking our understanding. But someday, someday we will know as we are known. We will see him and it will all be there in front of us. We will be able to say yes and holy, holy, holy Lord, God Almighty.

For now, as we dwell behind the veil, we know as much of God as he chooses to reveal. I am so grateful that he reveals himself to us in the ways that he does. Even as I understand, as Erin has said, we’re just getting a teeny tiny piece of the totality of who God is.

God is Omnipresent

Erin: The next trait we want to talk about is that God is omnipresent. What I like about this is that it reassures us that God is always with us. Always. No matter if we feel his presence or not.

I was talking to somebody recently and it just broke my heart. This person was telling me how they used to feel God’s presence so often, and it was so comforting. Lately, they hadn’t been feeling God’s presence and that was traumatic. I don’t know what’s happening there or why, but I do think that there are times when we don’t feel his presence. Those are times when we have to reach out and step out in faith and trust the truth that we know. That he is still present, even if we don’t feel him.

I think sometimes, too, we’re tempted. Especially if maybe we’ve done something we shouldn’t have and maybe we stumbled, we think he’s going to give up on us. We think he’s going to turn his back on us. He does not. He does not. He is always with us no matter what.

I love Deuteronomy 31:8. It’s one of my memory verses. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”

If ever there was a verse for writers, it’s that one. It’s a hard journey. The writing life is hard. We have to do things that are scary and that make us afraid. We have expectations, we sometimes get discouraged because of them. We sometimes feel alone. But, guys, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged because the infinite Lord goes before you and is always, always with you.

Karen: I really love that. I like that verse in Deuteronomy so much. It’s a very good reminder. Emotions do not equal scriptural truth. We’ve got to rest on the truth and not on what we’re feeling.

God is Impartial

Another attribute is that God is impartial. Now this one I kind of had trouble with. It talks about it all throughout scripture. In Acts 10:34 Peter says, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.”

Erin and I were actually just discussing it this morning. What is partiality? We looked in Webster’s and it’s “unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another; favoritism.”

That makes a lot of sense: unfair bias. God does not show bias that is unfair. God doesn’t show bias as we know it.

There’s a section in Isaiah 43 that talks about God giving other peoples in ransom for Israel. Letting other people be killed or destroyed in order to save Israel. My human mind wants to look at that and say, “Teacher’s pet, teacher’s pet. God loves them better than the others.”

But God shows no partiality. Not of one individual over another, not of one race over another. He does not show an unfair bias toward anyone. In God’s eyes, we are all the same, and we have one purpose. We’ll get to that in a second. Colossians 3:25 says, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong, which he has done, and that without partiality.”

Just as Erin talked about him being righteously wrathful, he judges according to truth. He doesn’t judge according to emotion. He judges according to truth and according to Christ’s blood. If you’ve been covered by Christ’s blood, if you’ve accepted the gift of salvation, then you will receive grace. But God still has that side of him where he’s going to come in and be wrathful, and he’s going to judge based on truth.

When we tend to question God’s actions because they seem to show partiality, we’re operating from our finite minds and our emotions. We’ve seen so often how people are swayed, or how they’re bribed, or how what seems a good thing actually wasn’t because they were doing something to gain something.

God will never do that. He is God Almighty. He chooses whom to draw, and whom to use to change lives, whose hearts to harden. He doesn’t do it based on his emotions or because he likes one person better than another. He does it based on his knowledge and his wisdom. He’s the creator using creation to display his glory.

God is impartial. He is infinitely impartial. He doesn’t do things because he likes one person better than another. He does it because it’s right. And because he knows it’s the best way to bring his glory and his salvation to the world.

Erin: As you’re talking about these things, it makes me think of that verse in Revelation. I just pulled it up. It’s Revelation 7:9, and it’s about a great multitude from the great tribulation. “After these things, I looked, and behold a great multitude, which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.'”

It’s no partiality. All different nations, tribes, peoples. What a multitude there is going to be one day. It’s going to be like this kaleidoscope of cultures and tongues and people. I just think that’s cool.

Karen: They’ll all be praising God. It’ll all be for God’s glory.

God is Perfect

Erin: The next attribute we want to talk about is that God is perfect. That means that everything he does is always already perfect. How many of these attributes go hand in hand, right? God is perfect. He’s infinite. His love for us is perfect. It doesn’t come and go. It isn’t biased. It isn’t based on you.

His faithfulness is perfect. No matter what we think about that. His judgment is perfect. No matter what we think about that.

Karen: Noticing a pattern here.

Erin: Exactly. His justice is perfect, no matter what. His revelation of himself to us is perfect. No matter how much we might wish for a billboard. His plans for us are perfect. And, guys, his plans for the world, no matter what we may think about things that are going on, his plans are still perfect.

Karen: We can hold onto the truth of who God is in the face of what evidence—worldly evidence and the evidence of our minds and our hearts—seem to be telling us. These are distractions and things that the enemy, the prince of this world, is using to try and draw us away from that faith in God.

God is Immutable

But here’s one that I absolutely love, and this characteristic gives me the greatest hope. God is immutable. He never changes. He never changes. God is God. I Am that I Am. That’s who God is.

He’s infinitely dependable. If he doesn’t change, if his promises and his purposes, his work in, and his plans for us never change, we don’t have to worry about somebody changing his mind or swaying him to another path or convincing him that we’re really not worth anything and shouldn’t be saved.

We never have to worry about God doing what he says he won’t do. We never have to be afraid. He has told us to fear not. Yes, we need to fear his grandeur and fear his glory and fear his wrath and his judgment. We need to walk in a way that remembers we are the created, and he is the Creator.

Yet God tells us himself in Malachi 3:6 that he doesn’t change. Not ever. In Psalm 33:11, it says, “The counsel of the Lord stands for forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.”

And his plan has always been to draw us to him, to restore us to a state of grace, and to save all those who will come to him and accept that gift of salvation.

Our God is an awesome God. It’s not a cliche. It’s not just a worship song. It’s a truth of who he is. He’s immutable. He’s perfect. He’s infinite. He’s all of these things that we’ve been talking about, and so much more that we will never understand until the veil is lifted and we see him face to face. God Almighty, the God who created us, will deign to come down and let us see him without the veil that we may understand all of who he is.

We’ll spend eternity rejoicing in that and glorying in him. He’s amazing. So, dig in. Find out the attributes of God that draw you and dig in and learn more about him. You can spend your whole life doing it, and I can’t think of a better way to spend your life.

Erin: Amen.

Karen: Amen.

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What characteristics of God are you most familiar with? What about the least familiar with?

THANK YOU!

Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

A big thank you to our May sponsor of the month, Wendy L. Macdonald. She’s a writer, poet, podcaster, photographer, and nature lover. If you want to get to know her and see some of her work, check out her website at WendyLMacdonald.com.

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4 comments

  1. Naomi J says:

    I SUPER enjoyed the first 2 parts of this, and am THRILLED you’re continuing on!
    Honestly, my heart and soul are always pulling, longing, and thirsting to HEAR God’s name and nature beautifully magnified (from His kids, in His fam). 🙂
    My ears are like, “Hey – why the parched desert here? Aren’t I (Father, Son, &/or Holy Spirit) the MOST magnificent Being in existence? ”
    Hearing your few installments are like giving my soul’s ears glasses of refreshing, cool, clear, ear-parched, refreshment.
    THANKYOU and . . . keep it up!

    • Erin Taylor Young says:

      Thanks, Naomi! So important that we keep soaking in who God is. How astounding he is. And the deeper we go, the more we see he’s deeper yet. Infinitely deep. Infinitely refreshing!

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