Many people treat God as though He is a type of senile grandfather: benevolent and generous, yet mostly oblivious to the things going on around Him. Others treat Him as a cosmic genie: always on call to grant whatever desires we or our whims come up with. To some He is the man upstairs. To some, He is a spectator in the Universe. To others, He is an equal—someone just like them, but with more power. To others still, He can be kept at arm’s length until it is convenient for us. And some who call themselves Christians even describe Him as “a drama queen,” as I have mentioned before. Seriously.
But for all the certainty with which people promote these gods of their own design, they are still false gods. I would prefer instead to look at what God (Who would know) says about Who He is and what He is like.
Such a study, even if conducted over a lifetime, would only scratch the surface of God’s character, but in Amos chapter 5 we can see five important characteristics of God in the message Amos gave to the Israelites on God’s behalf.
Here are the notes on the subject from my message last Sunday night at Pleasant Hill.
He’s the King of Kings,
Not a Drama Queen
Our God is a God of:
I. Sovereignty (vv. 8-9).
He is the Creator, Sustainer, and King over all the Universe. He is the only true and living God: there is no other before Him, beside Him, or like Him. He is awesome and unmatched in power, and while He is patient with man for a time, all the works of man cannot ultimately stand against His will.
“I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:8, NKJV).
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:1-4, NKJV).
II. Omniscience (vv. 10-11).
He knows all that man sees, thinks, hears, feels, and does. He knows all that which is outside of man’s grasp. Nothing escapes His notice.
See Psalm 139:1-24, esp. 13-16
III. Holiness (vv. 12-13).
God is completely and utterly good, just, right, true, and pure. He does not share in man’s wicked, fallen ways—and does not ignore or excuse them.
“So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts'” (Isaiah 6:5, NKJV).
IV. Justice (vv. 5-7).
God does not allow sin to go unpunished. He does not compromise with evil and does not relax His standards for any man. He is filled with wrath toward those who break His law, and is justified in being so.
“God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. […] The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him” (Nahum 1:2-3,5-6, NKJV).
V. Grace & Refuge (vv. 4, 14-15).
God has amazing compassion on us, even in the face of His own wrath. He is willing to pardon mankind, but only on His terms: in a way that satisfies His justice and does not compromise His holiness.
“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).
God is the same now that He was in Amos’ day. He is still in charge and know all things. He is still without sin, and must destroy sin. And He is still gracious.
That is why Christ died for us. Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for all those who believe in Him and trust Him as Savior. Those who do are forgiven of their sins and are partakers of God’s grace. They find refuge in God’s grace, while His justice has been satisfied and His holiness has not been compromised.
The means to be gracious while being holy and just is something only an omniscient God could devise and only a sovereign God could accomplish! The God of the Bible does not need to be reinvented every generation to stay on the cutting edge—He is more incredible than any god that mankind could ever dream up.