God’s Self-Description

Often when we think about God and his ways, we will attempt to reason out the actions and commands of God. We want to see why something is good or right. We can, if we are not careful, even begin to doubt that God is good when we cannot bring ourselves to understand him.

The problem that we have is one of presupposition. We begin our thought process about the Lord with the assumption that God can be measured by a standard of goodness. We assume that there is a concept of good that is outside of God, but that God, if he is to be good, will measure up to that external standard.

Let us remember how God describes himself.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4

3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;

ascribe greatness to our God!

4 “The Rock, his work is perfect,

for all his ways are justice.

A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,

just and upright is he.

What is God like according to his own self-description? See the words: perfect, just, faithful, upright, without iniquity. Boil that all down and mix it together. God is good. God is not good as compared to an external standard of good. God is the very definition of good. All his ways are right. All his ways are perfect. There is no hint of sin or wrongdoing in the Lord.

When we attempt to measure God by our understanding of God, consider what we bring to the table. We are finite in our understanding of good. We are finite in our understanding of the world. We are limited in our ability to see the big picture of what God is doing. We are sinful in our hearts, and thus our measure is itself corrupt

Imagine that you held in one hand a ruler, a perfect measure of 12 inches. In your other hand, you have a bit of Play-Doh. Imagine that you roll the Play-Doh into a line. The line is not really straight. The line is not even fixed, as it gets longer or shorter depending on how you bunch or squeeze it. Then imagine that you determine that your line of Play-Doh is the true measure of a foot and the ruler therefore must be wrong. If you could take that error in judgment and magnify it by infinity, you would have the depth of our failing when we attempt to measure God by our own corrupt standard.

The Lord is perfect. He is just and upright. He has no hint of sin in himself or his actions. And, remember, he is the Creator. He created all that is. He is the one who determines the measure of good. He is in himself the measure of good. So may we humbly submit ourselves to him and his ways, accepting his self-description as true and perfect as he is true and perfect.

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