Who is God?
If you were asked this question, what would you say?
I would imagine most of us without any hesitation and by rote, respond… God is the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
Hmmm… but what if you were asked this question… Who does God say he is? The response interestingly enough, would not be so immediate. How does God describe himself? Really, how does God define his divinity?
When faced with a complicated and overwhelming assignment, someone once asked God, “If they ask me who you are, what should I say” (Exodus 3:13). This sounds like an odd question to ask God…the Supreme Being, ruler and creator of the universe, especially in reference to an assignment… If it were me, I imagine I would have asked God what obstacles and barriers I would face… and what strategy God could recommend for a successful outcome. Maybe it is just me, but when given a tasker, I am all about the work of the work; what are the achievable outcomes short vs. long, how best to measure them, who’s the target, what’s the hook, funding, what and how many resources will be needed, how much will it cost, integrating phases and stages for maximum yield, gains/losses… strategy, strategy, strategy. But no, this individual asked God, ‘if they ask me about your identity what should I say’…Very different question…
We are told that this individual asked this question because he felt unworthy of and for the task. Have you ever been assigned a big project and in the midst of receiving the assignment had similar feelings? Yeah, me too… overwhelmed, confused and replaying the same, same swirling sentence in your mind, “How am I going to do this? “And oh, by the way, “How am I going to do this? Then in what seems like an eternity, but in reality a nanosecond, your next logical leap goes for the question, “who wants me to do this again”?
How did God respond? God said, “I AM” that is, ‘I am what I am’ or which means literally is ‘He is’.
What does this mean? It signifies the real being of God. It signifies his self-existence, and that he is the Being of beings, eternally and immutability, and his constancy and faithfulness are resolute in fulfilling his promises. God’s statement includes time, all time, past, present, and future; and the sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am. God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. The words express absolute, and therefore unchanging and eternal.
The question is still a great question and I am so glad that Moses asked it. I believe all thinking, rational people contemplate this question, whether we choose to follow God or not. Although, if absolute truth be told, most of us change the timbre of the question from ‘Who are you God?’ to ‘Who is God?’ in order to control the definition…control the relationship… control being the operative word. We generally spend more time contemplating control, not God.
Obviously God, like us, is defined by his works, but unlike us, his works proclaim him eternally wise and good and all that is great. God also is defined by his thoughts. And again, we differ. The thoughts of men are finite and limited, whereas the thoughts of the Lord are infinite and boundless; men’s thoughts have a beginning, but the Lord’s have none. The nature of the thoughts of men are evil, even the imagination of their thoughts, but the thoughts of God are holy, directed toward his purposes, covenant, and acts of grace such as in redemption, calling, and preparing his people for glory. His thoughts, plans, and ways are not like ours.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9).
God is often described with metaphors and symbolism in the bible, his love story to us. Psalms 104:1-3 tells us:
“O LORD, my God, how great you are! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot”.
God is light (1 John 1:5), the Father of lights (James 1:17); he dwells in light (1Timothy 6:16) and he clothes himself with it. The residence of his glory is in the highest heaven and that light was the light that he created the first day (Genesis 1:3).
He stretches out the heavens like a curtain. So he did in the beginning, when he made the firmament, which in the Hebrew means expanded, or stretched out, (Genesis 1:7). He made it to divide the waters and the land from the firmament. The regions of the air are stretched out about the earth, like a blanket about a bed, to keep it warm and drawn between us and the upper world. The vastness of his habitation may lead us to consider how great, how very great, he is, I AM, that fills heaven and earth. And yet, He looks down, looking about and caring about the affairs of man. He is not so taken up with the glories of his court as to neglect even the remotest of his territories and the people in them.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12: 6-7).
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind. God is not tied to the laws of physics as we are and his dwelling place can be on the waters. Though air and water are fluid bodies, yet, by divine power, they are kept as tight and as firm as a chamber with beams and rafters
“…He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers his throne behind a cloud” (Job 26: 7b-9).
Who are you God? He says,
“I AM”. I am he whose presence and holy dwelling is in the clouds. I ride on the wind and clouds as a chariot.
I AM. “I made darkness my covering, my canopy around me, thick clouds dark with water” (Psalms 18: 14).
I AM. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22: 13).
I AM. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1: 8).
I AM. “Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty” (Revelation 21: 6).