I’m not going to lie. The last two months have been rough. Seems as if each week has brought news of another tragedy affecting our community . . . our church family . . . our friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel a little shell-shocked, wondering when and where the next bomb will drop.
That’s why I love these words from Claudine’s last lesson:
“You see, it really doesn’t matter who or what causes the tragedies of life. What matters is what God intends to do with those tragedies.When you and I belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what happens in our lives matters less than how God uses what happens in our lives. Our responsibility as a child of His is to TRUST HIM—even when the way seems dark. God’s way is always perfect.
BUT we cannot trust what we do not know. That’s why our quest—to know the character and heart of God—is so very crucial.”
So how’s it going—this quest to know the character and heart of God? Have you been doing the homework? Working through the list of attributes? Reading God’s Word with these questions in mind?—“What does this passage tell me about the heart of God? What pleases Him? What displeases Him?”
Before we continue with the last two lessons of this class, I’d like to spend our time today discussing the homework. I’ll take you through my thought process as I worked my way through an attribute of God, and then at the end, I hope some of you will share with us some of the things you have learned from your homework over the past few weeks.
When I looked at that first attribute of God—God is ABSOLUTE—I’ll admit my first question was “What does that even mean?” Of course, I know what the word absolute means. Absolutely! I use it all the time. I say things like “that’s the absolute truth” or “I absolutely, positively agree.”
But when it comes to writing a definition of the word, things become a bit more muddied. In my mind, absolute means the highest . . . the most . . . the final degree of something. I use it as a qualifier. So when I see the words “God is Absolute,” I immediately think, “Absolute what?” Absolute truth? Absolute God? Absolute . . . everything?
I decided to try to define the word through the context of the scriptures we were given before heading to Webster’s for an answer and here’s what I found. The word absolute was not even used in any of those passages.
Okay. No problem. As a former English teacher, these are the types of word puzzles I love. I decided to infer the meaning of absolute from what each passage told me about God.
[I like to use several translations when I look at scripture to catch the differing nuances in the words they use. For this study I used the New American Standard Bible (NASB), The New Living Translation (NLT) and the Message (MSG). If you are doing your study online, Bible Gateway is a great tool because it allows you to place various translations side by side.]
Here are a few of the notes I jotted down about each of the passages:
- Job 42: 1-3—God can do anything He wants; no one can thwart or upset or stop His plans.
- Psalm 145: 11-13—God’s glory, power, majesty and authority are everlasting; He will never get voted out of office.
- Isaiah 44:6—He is the only God there is; He’s the first, the last, the only.
- Daniel 2:20-21—He has all the power, the wisdom and the authority. If anyone else has wisdom, power and authority, it comes from Him and Him alone.
- Romans 14:11—He is the only God and there will come a day when everyone will acknowledge that.
- 1 Timothy 6:15-16—He is the only God, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords. He alone can overcome death; He has all power and dominion forever. No one can rule Him.
Then, I turned to Webster’s Dictionary for its definition of the word and this is what I found:
adjective \ˈab-sə-ˌlüt, ˌab-sə-ˈ\
: complete and total
: not limited in any way
: having unlimited power
Exactly. My original muddied definition only included the first part of the equation, but my study of the scriptures completed the picture. God is total and complete God, unlimited and all powerful. He is ABSOLUTE!
So what do I take away from all of this? First of all, it’s important not to narrow God to just one of His attributes. Knowing He has unlimited power would be terrifying if we didn’t also know He is GOOD. Knowing His plans cannot be thwarted is only comforting when we also know His plans for us are to give us a future and a hope.
Second, God wants to be known. I may go into my study of Him with muddied definitions and incomplete thoughts, but His Spirit can and will bring clarity. I hope each of you are taking the time, putting in the effort to know Him better. It’s worth it!
What have you learned about God’s character that gives you a new perspective on Who God Is? Is there a word or definition you understand more clearly now that you’ve studied His Word?
Let’s continue working through some attributes of God
God is UNSELFISH! Psalm 34:10; 84:11; 103; Matthew 11:28; Romans 5:16-18; 6:23; 8:32.
God is JEALOUS! Exodus 20:5-7; 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 32:15-18; Joshua 24:19; Isaiah 31:1-3; Nahum 1:1-8.
God is PATIENT! Numbers 14:18; Isaiah 30:18; Joel 2:13; Romans 15:4-6; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Hebrews 10:36; 11 Peter 3:9; Habakkuk 2:3-4
God is PROVIDING! Genesis 49:24-25; Leviticus 25:20-22; 1 Samuel 2:7-8; 1 Chronicles 29:12-14; Psalm 23:1-7; Acts 14:16-17
God is AWE-INSPIRING! Exodus 15:11; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 33:8-12; 89:6-7; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Jeremiah 10:6-7; Hebrews 12:28-29