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Studying the Attributes of God (PTFH part 4!) – Hf #78

on May 17, 2017 by Jami Balmet 0 comments

Do you wish you knew the Lord more? Do you ever feel confused when you read certain parts of the Bible and don’t understand why God does the things he does? Do you yearn to love him more and more with each passing day? 

That’s the motivation behind this new series, Practical Theology for Homemakers. Hopefully as we move through this series, you will grow in some of those questions. So far we covered: Why Theology Matters for Homemakers, The Goal of Our Christian Life, and So What’s the Big Deal About Studying God’s Word?

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This next part we will be diving into is: The Attributes of God. If we want to come to love and worship the Lord more, we need to know Him more. Understanding the attributes of God is one great way to study God more – and thus come to love Him more! 

When you first met your husband, you were not simply content to learn his name and a few random facts about him. No, you want to learn all there was about him, who he is, how his brain works, and how he looks the world. And in the process of learning more about him, you fell more in love with him. 

I’ve been doing a lot of study on the book of Proverbs this year and one of the biggest take aways is that our faith starts with a healthy fear (or awe) of God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!” – Psalm 111:10

When we were called to be a disciple of Christ, when we came to salvation, our knowledge of God shouldn’t stop there. Yes, we should have a thorough understanding of the Gospel and to be able to preach it to our family and all we come into contact with. But our knowledge of the Lord should grow from there. 

“My conception of God was that he was approachable and accessible, the God that the Lord’s Prayer endearingly refers to as ‘Our Father.’ And he is that. He is mercifully and gloriously that Father. But what the fear of the Lord acknowledges is that he is not only that. He is also ‘in heaven,’ with a name that is hallowed above all others. He is both a God who is near to us and a God who transcends. The fear of the Lord comprehends the fact that the Father we are taught to call ‘ours’ is also the Lord of the universe, enthroned between the cherubim, doing as he pleases among the nations.” – None Like Him, pages 11-12

So we see that the beginning of Wisdom is a healthy fear and awe of the Lord. The beginning of wisdom is to accurately understand who God is and we learn that from the pages of Scripture. 

“When we fear God rightly, we recognize him for who he truly is: a God of no limits, and therefore, utterly unlike anyone or anything we know. This is the start of becoming wise.”- None Like Him, page 13. 

Accurately understanding God’s attributes not only allows us to know him more, it also protects us. It protects us from idol worship, from worshipping false God’s and things that look like God but are not. It helps us to be more discerning with what we read and listen to. It protects us by helping us to accurately discern and understand the difference between false doctrine and teaching and true teaching. 

*Please note: For a deeper study into each of these attributes, I highly recommend you get a copy of None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. 

God is Infinite

…and we are not. 

“Any discussion of how God is not like us must begin with an acknowledgement that we are measurable and he is not. God is infinite, unbound by limits. He defies measurement of any kind. His limitlessness underlies all of his attributes; his power, knowledge, love, and mercy are not merely great, but they are infinitely so, measurelessly so. No one can place any aspect of who God is on a scale or against a yardstick.” – None Like Him, page 16.

As humans we measure everything: from the food in our pantry, to the passing of time and seasons, to the growth of our kids, and the numbers on the scale as they tick up, up, up. We measure because it’s how we keep track of things and feel like we have some semblance of control over our lives. 

We measure our Spiritual lives as well: we measure how much we are serving compared to our friend, we measure our spiritual life by how many chapters of the Bible we were able to tick off our to do list this morning, we measure our effectiveness by how long we can pray in public, and so on. 

And yet – our God is infinite. We cannot measure him, we cannot put him in a little neat box that’s easy to understand. God is limitless, unbound, and unfathomably unmeasurable. 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.” – Psalm 145:3

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” – 1 Kings 8:27 

Why is this important? Our own limitedness draws us back to our limitless God. And in turn, we can teach our children this all important lesson. 

“Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never fails. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out.” – None Like Him, page 16.

God is Incomprehensible 

“In the previous chapter we considered that God cannot be measured. Because we intend to learn more about God in this book, we must address how his limitlessness affects his knowability. Knowing who God is matters to us. It changes not only the way we think about him, but the way we think about ourselves. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand. In fact, there is no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God. We cannot understand our human limitedness rightly until we see it compared to the limitlessness of God. By learning truth about him, we learn truth about ourselves. But how much do we know of him? Because he is limitless, the knowledge of who he is stretches to infinity.” – None Like Him, page 33.

One of the joyful duties of the Christian is to spend our remaining days on this earth learning more about him! There is so much to learn and to soak in that we will never stop learning and because God is incomprehensible, we will never fully understand him. 

Even though we may never fully know all there is to know about God, the Bible is sufficient to teach us all that we need to know about God for life and salvation

On one hand, God is incomprehensible, on the other hand, we are the opposite. God sees us fully and understands us completely. We have a God who looks directly into our souls and knows us better than we know ourselves. 

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.” – Psalm 139:1-6

We rejoice to know that while we don’t fully know everything about God, he HAS given us his word so that we can know all we need to in this life and we rejoice because we can take these lessons and teach them through the life that we live and by what we choose to focus on within our homes. 

“One day we will see God more clearly than earthly reason now allows and more extensively than his works and words currently reveal him. Though now we know in part, one day we will know fully, even as we have been fully known (1 Co. 13:12). We will still be finite creatures seeking to comprehend the infinite, but we will at least be able to see him without the murkiness of sin blurring our vision. We will have eternity to progressively explore his perfections. And because to know him is to love him, our ever-expanding vision will elicit ever-expanding love. Like a Christmas morning with always another present to unwrap, eternity will increasingly disclose his hidden glories to the eyes of our hearts. And until then, let us pursue with eagerness what we can know of him in this life.” – None Like Him, pages 39-40.

God is Self-Existent 

God has always existed and always will. This is what we mean when we say that God is “immutable.” That simply means that God is unchanging. He was, is, and forever will be the same God. The God we read about in the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament and our same God today. 

Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” – Psalm 90:2

We have to understand that God is so far above and removed from our own world. Yes, he is our father and we can have an intimate relationship with him, but he is above and beyond this physical world in so many more ways than we can comprehend. 

The implications of this mean we must remember that it’s God who has created all things and bestows creativity on his children. We never truly create anything new. We are using what God has given us to create “new” or different things. It’s through the gifts that he gives us that we create music, write books, blend different tastes and spices together in the kitchen to create a delicious dish, and decorate our home to have a warm and loving enviornment. 

We take these gifts and the things that God has given us and we start to believe the lie that WE are the reason these things exist. We give ourselves a pat on the back for our beautifully decorated house or that job promotion. WE believe the lie that we have control over the things of this life and we leave little or no recognition for God’s part in it all. 

We need to remember and recognize that everything in this life is because of God. We can boast in nothing apart from Christ. Everything he has given us, including the gifts we boast in, are from Him and through Him. 

“Whatever our sphere of influence, we convince ourselves we deserve credit for creating that which we are called to steward. We give worship to ourselves instead of to the Creator who made us and all we know. In fact, we require credit be given to us to validate our efforts. 

“Insanity. Madness. Full-blown delusion. To which God poses the simple question,  ‘What do you have that you did not receive?’ (1 Cor. 4:7)

“All worship is owed to God, not because he demands it (although he rightly does), but because he made us. He is our origin. And anything good that we build or accomplish or ‘create’ originates not in us but in him.” – None Like Him, pages 51

Throughout this series on Practical Theology for Homemakers, I knew that I wanted to cover the attributes of God. I know we are excited to get on to episodes such as how to be more discerning with what we read and listen to, but to even understand how to go about that, we have to know what we believe about the Bible and about God. 

We have to first understand who God is, so that we can discern what is false and what is true teaching. So stick with me. I know we are getting into the nitty-gritty theological details  – but it’s in the details that we start to develop deeper personal theology and where we really learn and grow. 

Book of the week: 

None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us – Jen Wilkin 

This episode today and the next two in this series are based on this book. In it, Jen Wilkin explores 10 attributes of God. I relied heavily on this book during my research because Jen has done so much research, she brings Gospel-centered focus to the topic, and ties it all back to our lives as women. 

What we’ve talked about today is supposed to give you just a brief glimpse into the topic. For a deeper (yet very readable) study on this topic, I highly recommend you read None Like Him! 

 Join me for a Meal Planning Challenge! 

Meal planning is something that has gotten out of control in my home! As we head into a new season, I’m ready to reign in my grocery budget, make things easy and simple, and start eating healthier!! Join Jason, myself, and the team at PrepDish as we prepare to do a 21 Day Meal Prep Challenge

The challenge starts June 3rd and is the perfect way to kick off your summer in a healthy way! PrepDish has created a 21 day challenge to motivate and encourage you to get started meal prepping and gain control of healthy meals for the summer. (They essentially did all the work for you so you just sign up and START! How easy it that??)

When the Challenge starts, you will get an easy-to follow guide for prepping all of your meals- breakfast lunch dinner & snacks for the full 21-days. They’re throwing in lots of goodies too! Checklists, bonus recipes, a guide to eating out, a Facebook group page for accountability, and more.

For only $1/ day, you can delegate the worry and stress of mealtime this summer…your sanity is worth $21!

The 21-Days start June 3rd. Register today at prepdish.com/homemaking21