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Thinking on God
“The only God worth talking about is a God that cannot be talked about” –Walter Kaufmann
By Don Ruhl
Can we comprehend God? A boy drew a picture. His father asked, “What are you drawing?” The boy declared boldly, “God.” The boy’s father in his wisdom replied, “Well, no one knows what God looks like.” The boy told his father, “They will when I’m finished.”
John Wesley declared, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God!” If we brought all the worms of the Earth together, could they collectively comprehend a man? Likewise, neither can a man or all men find out God completely.
Who Is God?
How do you answer the questions young children ask? Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs chase cats? Why do you keep driving past the, “Do Not Pass,” sign? Who is God?
How do you answer that last question? “The only God worth talking about is a God that cannot be talked about” (Walter Kaufmann). He is so high that talking about Him lifts the soul as nothing else can. He is so high that anything we say falls short. Yet, He who know us wants us to know Him, for that summarizes the message of the Bible, and it summarizes the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, “‘If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father”’?” (John 14.7–9).
Commentators call John 1.1–18, The Prologue of the Gospel According to John. Listen to the last verse, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1.18). Then John recorded numerous times when Jesus referred to the Father, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5.19). “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12.49–50). Therefore, we can answer the child’s question or we can answer the philosopher’s question of who is God by pointing to the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
When we see Jesus in the Scriptures, we see deity in the flesh, as Paul declared in Colossians 2, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2.9–10). The totality of the Godhead dwelt in the body of Jesus. He did not lack one divine attribute. Then Paul explained what that means for us. Since Jesus had the fullness of deity in the flesh, we can find our completeness in Him. What then I think on God, especially what I think on Jesus, has a massive impact on my life. That would also mean that failure to think on God and that failure to think on Jesus will have a massive negative influence on my life. If the unbeliever does not feel that void, he will feel it when he comes to the end of life’s journey. Then again, many die with peace of mind without ever having thought on God. However, something different will happen once they enter the afterlife. They will experience the Second Death, eternal separation from God.
Let us, therefore, not go through one day without thinking on God.
Thinking on God
We cannot rise above what we think of God, for our thoughts on God affect every part of our lives; even if we do not think on Him, it shows in all that we do. Therefore, we cannot think on anything higher.
Our understanding of Him either lowers us or raises us.
To those who know that something greater than the creation exists, to those who long for their Creator, to those desperate to know God, thinking on God provides the most fulfilling experience. Frederick W. Faber said:
Only to sit and think of God,
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breath the Name
Earth has no higher bliss.
Once we discover who God is and what we think of Him, we can set a course for our lives.
We can see where we have been, why we have our present status in life, and where we shall go in life.
Whom God Is Not
He is not an idol. As Psalm 115 reveals men make idols in their image,
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
A true God makes men in His image.
If He is God, then, as Psalm 100 testifies, He made us, not the other way around,
Know that the LORD,
He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
If your conception of God is what you design, how can you call that God? How can God be what we have invented? If He is as we conceive Him,we have made an idol. Idolatry does not consist, “…only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration…The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place” (W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 6).
Why What We Think of God Matters
Romans 1 reveals what happens in the mind of the atheist. If you believe that God exists, you may question why atheists exist. Hear Paul’s insight, “…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom 1.21–23). Paul continued to explain, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…” (Rom 1.28). That certainly explains the current state of Western Culture. Coincidence does not provide the insight as to why atheism, evolution, and humanism increase along with an increase in immorality.
Exodus 5 shows how Pharaoh’s unbelief led to his refusal to obey the Lord, “Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.”’ And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’” (Exo 5.1–2). God gave the king a 10-lesson course in knowing God, otherwise, known as the 10 plagues, and Pharaoh failed all ten lessons. Whereas knowing God led Moses to obey Him, whereas Pharaoh’s stubborn heart came from his refusal to think on the God of Israel. Pharaoh acknowledged that he did not know the Lord, and confessed that led him not to let Israel go. Did that play a minor or a major role in the life of Pharaoh and in the life of Egypt? Of course, we may ask, Who is God?, but Pharaoh did not ask honestly that he might learn of the God of heaven. Pharaoh revealed his defiance when he immediately show he would not comply.
If there is a God, what you think of Him, whether good thoughts or bad, whether you think of Him at all, echoes on the Earth and in heaven.
You think on God at least part of the time. That is why you have come to this worship service. It explains many of the things you do daily.
What shall you do with those thoughts? If you think on Jesus, you must be reaching a conclusion about Him. Have you seen that He was deity in the flesh? Are you ready to do something about it? Are you ready to declare, “Jesus is Lord”?