Who is God?

Think first

Is there anything more than what you can see, feel, touch? Have you tried calling out? Have you tried listening for a response?

Think First

Psalm 145


Psalm 145

A psalm of praise. Of David.
 1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
       I will praise your name for ever and ever.

 2 Every day I will praise you
       and extol your name for ever and ever.

 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
       his greatness no one can fathom.

 4 One generation will commend your works to another;
       they will tell of your mighty acts.

 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
       and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
       and I will proclaim your great deeds.

 7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
       and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

 8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
       slow to anger and rich in love.

 9 The LORD is good to all;
       he has compassion on all he has made.

 10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
       your saints will extol you.

 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
       and speak of your might,

 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
       and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
       and your dominion endures through all generations.
       The LORD is faithful to all his promises
       and loving toward all he has made.

 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
       and lifts up all who are bowed down.

 15 The eyes of all look to you,
       and you give them their food at the proper time.

 16 You open your hand
       and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
       and loving toward all he has made.

 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
       to all who call on him in truth.

 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
       he hears their cry and saves them.

 20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
       but all the wicked he will destroy.

 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
       Let every creature praise his holy name
       for ever and ever.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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Who is God?


If you asked 100 people to say who they thought God was, you’d probably get 100 different answers!

This is one of those questions that’s almost too huge to answer….but we can try. There are some things about God that we’ll never understand because God is beyond our imagination (v 3), but other things we can try to get a handle on.

One of the key things is that God is into relationships, so the description in this psalm is about how God relates to people.

  • God has love and compassion (v 8),
  • God wants to help when people are in a mess (v 14),
  • God keeps promises (v 13). 

Over and over again we read in the Bible that God loves the things he has created and wants them to love him back. God will be there for those who turn to him, and is close enough to hear our cry for help.

So, who is God?

God is loving, caring, compassionate, kind.

Those words only scratch at the surface of God

always there,

always loving,

always forgiving.

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Think about


If there is a god, what would you want God to be like?

In what ways does the description in Psalm 145 meet your expectations of a god?

Is what ways is the description different?

Who God is and what God does


A special sort of psalm
This psalm is evidence of a writer on a mission. It is an acrostic – a type of poem in which each line begins with a letter which then spells a particular word.

In this case, in Hebrew the first letter of each line or half a line spell out the full Hebrew alphabet. The writer, or psalmist, was setting himself a challenge to describe the A to Z of God!

By choosing this structure he demonstrates a sense of the all-sufficiency of God, the completeness of his character and the global reach of his caring reign.

What is God like?
As he finds words to fit each Hebrew letter he hits upon both God’s characteristics and his mighty acts of power; both what he does and who he is. We see God as:

● gracious and compassionate

● trustworthy and faithful

God makes these things reality to us as he:

● lifts up those who are bowed down (v 14)

● provides for his creation (v 15)

● saves those who call on him (v19)

Consistent God
At times our ‘being’ and our ‘doing’ can become disconnected – the way we behave doesn’t match up to our internal world. But with God there is complete integrity and transparency.

God does not just do compassion occasionally, God is compassion. We can be assured that God’s compassion (and other characteristics) will never fail. God’s character is pure and consistent from A to Z.

Anna Thompson
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What kind of kingdom with what kind of king?


God’s nature and deeds
In Psalm 145:1 God is declared King; throughout the Bible God is seen to have governmental and sovereign authority not just over the people of Israel but over the whole of creation. This begs the question, ‘What kind of a kingdom does this king establish?’

David1, who may have written this psalm, responds, demonstrating the intrinsic link between who God is and what God does.

● God is glorious and eternal, and so is God’s kingdom.

● God is good, gracious and loving, and so we can expect God’s kingdom to bring peace, freedom from oppression, unity among people groups and an end to poverty and violence.

God the King is our Father
Amazingly, God – the King of all creation – comes near to us when we call (v 18). God is nothing if not involved.

Our ideas of royalty might be of stately homes, servants and protocol, of a strong hierarchy that keeps us in our place. But according to David, God is worthy of more honour and praise than any earthly king.

Yet God hears the cry of the fallen and the broken. God the King is also God our Father, and we are not subjects but children.

A new view of power and authority
This causes a radical shake-up in our ideas of power and authority. As Christians seek to live as part of God’s kingdom, its values challenge us to get involved, to support the hurting, recognising that they are loved by God.

We can show others the glory of God through simple acts of goodness that say ‘the kingdom has come near.’

Anna Thompson

1 David was the second King of Israel. He reigned from about 1010 BC to 970 BC. He was seen as the greatest of all Israel’s kings and the one who the later kings were measured against. Before he became king, he defeated the giant Goliath.

 

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Godlike


Does your idea of God match David’s description in Psalm 145?

  • God is eternal (v 13,21)
  • God is powerful (v 4,5,12)
  • God is kind (v 8,14,17)
  • God is patient (v 8)
  • God is loving (v 7,8,14,17,20)
  • God is good to everyone (v 9,14–16)
  • God is trustworthy (v 13,15,19)
  • God is just (v 20)

Since we can’t see God, how can we be sure that David’s analysis of God’s nature is correct? In Colossians 1:15, the Bible describes Jesus as the ‘image of the invisible God’. So, if we want to know what God is like we need look closely at Jesus.

Consider the bullet points again. From what you know of Jesus do you think he has these qualities too?

When thinking about the relationship between Father God and Jesus it’s sometimes easy to assume that Jesus was created by God. But that’s not what the Bible tells us.

Jesus is God, as John 1:1–3 makes clear. Jesus is the all-powerful Lord of Creation as well as the perfect expression of the love of God for the world (John 3:16). During the time Jesus lived on earth he demonstrated the power of God to confirm his divine identity (Matthew 4:23; John 10:38).

The picture painted in Psalm 145 and the evidence of Jesus life points to a remarkable fact: God wants a relationship with us. So how should we respond?

Look at the responses to God in Psalm 145 (vs 1–7,10–12,21). When we understand what God is truly like, we naturally want to worship and honour him.

What will you thank him for today?

Penny Boshoff

Tags: God

Worship


  • Who is God?
  • What does it mean to be in relationship with him?

Reflect on these questions as you listen to this song.

  • Song: A covenant keeping (Very God)
  • Composer: Godfrey Birtell
  • Artist: Godfrey Birtell
  • Album: Very God
  • Publisher: Kingsway Music
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music
  • Buy this album here
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Editorial


Welcome to WordLive About God.

Questions, questions… there are so many questions. But answers?

One question we can answer: what is WordLive About God?

WordLive About God is a new section of WordLive that looks at some of the bigger questions of life. And when we say bigger questions, we mean bigger questions.

In here you’ll see we begin the discussion with ‘Who is God?’, ask the same about Jesus and what he did, before looking at some aspects of Christian spirituality.

Some of these questions are so big that we can only begin to answer them. But that is fine. Being a Christian is all about being in relationship with God. And relationships grow and develop as we learn more about each other.

You can never know all the answers about God. Well, not this side of heaven.

You may have more questions that aren’t even looked at here. If that is the case then pop along to the contact page and drop us an email. We may be able to respond directly or the question may make it onto our list here.

Darren


I’d like to thank everyone who has helped get WordLive About God online: the editorial team and the following contributors…

Nick Harding works for the Church of England in Nottinghamshire, writes and speaks about children’s work, and is a Trustee of Scripture Union. He’s a magistrate, member of the General Synod, dad to two boys and husband to one wife!

Anna Thompson has a degree in theology and is Mission Development Coordinator for The Message Trust in Manchester.

Penny Boshoff gets very excited about things that grow (people and plants)! As well as writing and editing, she loves working with the 5 to 7s at her church and with a Bible study group of mums, many of whom are young Christians. She is married to Andrew and they have three children – Sam, Isobel and Daniel.

Belinda Pollard is a freelance journalist, editor and television producer based in Brisbane, Australia, writing for Christian and secular organisations in different parts of the world. She is passionate about creative evangelism and culturally relevant overseas mission. She loves the sea, chocolate, old wooden things, and being taken for walks by her dog.

Jon Birch is a freelance animator, designer, illustrator and music producer. He describes himself as ‘someone who makes a living out of what he used to do in the margins of his school books’. Jon is a co-founder and contributor of proost.co.uk, a site dedicated to providing creative resources for the Church.

David Lund is both a designer and a photographer. Launching his own business in 1997 he set out with the clear goal of raising the bar of visual communications within the Christian market place, believing that creative quality design can make a difference. He has won numerous national design awards including CBC book of the year. He currently lives and works in Falmouth, Cornwall and loves to relax by fishing.
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Comments
  • jenny han | Tuesday, 17 October 2017

    She loves the sea, chocolate, old wooden things, and being taken for walks by her dog <3 Clicker heroes - http://clickerheroes.co/

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