The Solitariness of God

Mark 12 and Matthew 22 contain the “greatest commandment” –

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”   Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
(Mark 12:28; Mark 12:29-30 ESV)

Here, Jesus responds with the Shema, a very central Jewish prayer from Deut 6.  But one thing jumped out at me this morning.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE.”

One.  Only one.

Pink in his book “The Attributes of God” focuses on this as his very first chapter – “The Solitariness of God.”   God is solitary in his excellency, there is no one like him.  He points our attention to other verses:

“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
(Exodus 15:11 ESV)

To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
(Isaiah 40:18 ESV)

God is the supreme Creator, he was perfect and sufficient in and of himself, he didn’t need to create us, but he did…as he does all things “working all things after the counsel of  His will. (Eph 1:11)

How do we know this God?  Pink rightly asserts “Such a God cannot be found out by searching.  He can be known only as he is revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word.”

This is why I have committed to read the Bible – the whole Bible – each year from now until I drop.  I cannot tell you how much I have grown these last few years from dedicated study of the Word of God, asking the Holy Spirit to give me understanding, and meditating on his Word.

This God – amazing astounding God who made you, who loves you, who sacrificed His Son on the cross to us to be reconciled to Him – do you know Him?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him to you, read His Word and allow it to change you.

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Your Best Life….Later

For you Francis Chan fans…you will recognize that as a title from his book Crazy Love, which I have started to read.  (Thank you, brother Tim.)

Obviously, I was pretty anxious to dig into this chapter with the tongue-in-cheek poke at the your best life now, prosperity “gospel.” (Resisting the urge to open that door…)

Chan discusses our behavior in this life, and how if we really are living by faith and really following scripture (like treating everyone we meet as treating Christ? Matt 25:45), like where is our focus in finances – to be comfortable here? Or are we truly giving in faith?  He points our that “God so loved the world that he GAVE…” – therefore our model has been set – why would we as Christians NOT be characterized by a life of holding loosely to the things of this world, and giving things away – especially to the “least of these.”   Just so we are clear – Chan doesn’t let us off the hook by pointing to the usual “least of these” – the astonishingly poor – but also those that I love to get irritated by…”the person driving painfully slow in front of me, the checker at the grocery story who seems more interested in chatting then ringing up my items, the member of my own family with whom I can’t seem to have a conversation and not get annoyed.”  OK.  OW. Stop.

I find it no coincidence that I’m reading thru Joshua as well.  I received a stack of old commentaries from our departing Senior Pastor – one of them a treasure from Pink “Gleanings In Joshua.”  In it he compares the crossing of the Jordan with the death of Christ and points out three things, underscoring my “Your Best Life….Later” tap on the shoulder from the Holy Spirit:

  1. Redemptively, the fruits of Christs work on the cross – far more have benefited from since his death, than were saved during his public ministry
  2. His death brought life and salvation to other nations – expanding the promise given to the nation of Israel

And finally —

A portion of the inheritance is entered into and enjoyed by him before the Jordan is crossed, but the principal part of it lies on the farther side of death.

Israel enjoyed the fruit of God’s promise on the other side of the Jordan, but it came after years of massive warfare – driving out the people and claiming what God has promised them.

For those who trust in Christ, we too will enjoy the fulfillment of His promise in Heaven, but it will come after years of spiritual warfare here on Earth – and that day will bring us rewards that this life can never give us. Our best life will truly be later.