The true and living God
In the Old Testament, there is a continuing conflict between the one true God and the false gods. It is the contrast between the living God and the dead gods, worshipped by idolaters.
- We see this situation of conflict in the days of Moses.
Pharaoh and the people of Egypt worshipped false gods. Moses came in the Name of the one true God, the living God, who, in love, was about to deliver His people, Israel, from their oppression and affliction in Egypt.
When Moses, God's special messenger, spoke to Pharaoh, there was a a great conflict between the true and living God and man-made idols. The victory was won by the Lord.
All of this happened a long time ago. We must not, however, write it off as a "Once upon a time ... " story which has no relevance for our life today.
Is not our life today very similar to life in Egypt under Pharaoh?
Have we not become so comfortable with the man-made idols of this world? Have we not become so attuned to the world's way of thinking that we worship the things of this world rather than the Creator of the world?
There is still a conflict today. It is the conflict between the way of the Lord and the way of the world.
If we say, "We believe in one God", we must go the way of the Lord and not the way of the world.
- Later on in the Old Testament, we find a similar conflict in the days of Elijah.
It is the conflict between God and Baal.
Again, the victory was won by the Lord.
It is better to be one man with the Lord on your side than to be four hundred and fifty prophets whose 'god' is nothing at all.
In our society, many people pursue worldly ambition with no thought for God and no desire to do His will.
Those who earnestly seek to do the Lord's will may be few in number, but they have the wonderful assurance that "God is still on the throne."
- To be on the Lord's side is to be on the victory side. This is the message of the story of David and Goliath.
Goliath seemed to have all the advantages. David seemed to have all the disadvantages.
This, however, was to overlook one thing or one Person - God. The God of Israel, the true and living God, was greater than the false gods of the Philistines. The victory of David over Goliath simply underlined this point. The victory is the Lord's.
In our day, there is no wisdom in going the world's way. It is the way of emptiness. It is the way that will lead further and further away from the Lord.
The story of a life lived without God is not the story of success. It is the story of failure - a life which has failed to achieve its true purpose.
What is the purpose of your life? Are you living for yourself? Is 'self' your god? Or, are you living for the Lord, seeking to honour Him and glorify Him? These are the questions we must ask ourselves.
When we say, "We believe in one God", we must face the challenge of commitment: Do I serve the Lord and Him only? Or, am I more concerned with serving my own interests?
- In the New Testament, we read of Paul going to Athens, a "city ... full of idols" (Acts 17:16).
The situation in Athens has been described thus: "Athenians ... must have needed something equivalent to the Yellow Pages just to keep tabs on the many deities already represented in their city" (Don Richardson, Eternity in their Hearts, p. 23).
Imagine their astonishment when Paul came along with yet another 'god'! They must have been amazed that another 'god' had been brought into Athens, the god capital of the world. It must have seemed preposterous that Paul should bring yet another 'god' into this city which had so many 'gods' already.
That's the way it may have seemed to the Athenians. The truth of the matter was that Paul did not bring along another 'god' - just like all the others.
He spoke not of just another 'god, who was good for nothing. he proclaimed the true God, the living God, the God of love, God the Creator, the God who, in love, never ceases to care for His creation.
The Athenians had never known a God like that!
The God of the Bible, the God who redeemed His people from slavery in Egypt, the God who enabled His prophets and apostles to speak with mighty power, is still our God today.
"Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There's nothing that He cannot do for me, for you. That's true!"
"God can do anything, anything, anything. God can do anything but fail."
Whenever we feel that everything is getting on top of us, we must think of what it means to say, "We believe in one God."
We must remember that He is the loving God. He is the God who brings us to life, when we are spiritually dead.
We must remember that He is the God of love.
- The Lord loves us with a powerful love.
His love is able to lift us out of despondency and give us a real sense of His victory. Through this powerful love of the Lord, we are able to say, "Love lifted me."
When nothing else was working for us, the powerful love of the Lord gave us the strength to triumph over our difficult circumstances.
- The Lord loves us with a purposeful love.
Whatever is going on in your life right now, never doubt that God has a purpose for you. Never doubt that His purpose is a purpose of love.
God is not taking you round in circles. He is leading you on to eternal glory.
You may not understand what's going on, but never forget this: God knows what he's doing with you!
- The Lord loves us with a faithful love.
Are you ashamed of the number of times you have let the Lord down? That seems to be the story of your life and my life. We let Him down over and over again. This seems to be the never-ending story of our lives.
There is, however, another never-ending story. This time, it really is a never-ending story! It's the story of God's faithfulness. He will never let us down. No matter how often we let Him down, He will never let us down.
Isn't that amazing?
We expect God to treat us the way we treat Him, but He doesn't! He blesses us far beyond our deserving. What a great God he is!
"How good is the God we adore! - Our faithful, unchangeable Friend. His love is as great as His power and knows neither measure nor end."
Whenever we say, "We believe in one God", let it not be an empty statement, which leaves us thinking of God as "the unknown God."
Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are able to say, with real conviction, "We believe in the living God, the God of love. We rejoice in His love - powerful, purposeful and faithful love."
He is not the unknown God. He is the God who has made Himself known. He has not kept His distance from us. he has come near to us in Jesus Christ. He has not kept His silence. He has spoken to His Word of love - Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.
"We believe in one God." How wonderful this is! What a joy there is in saying, "This is my God, the living God, the God of love."