Text: Isaiah 55:6-9
Thesis: To contrast people’s picture of God with the Biblical picture of God.
(1) Many people claim to believe in God, but their picture of Him is oftentimes radically different than the Biblical picture of God.
(2) Let us note some of the major false pictures of God.
I. False Picture #1: God would not be very strict.
A. Those who envision this god believe that rules are merely suggestions and that love, mercy & grace will take care of everything.
B. However, the God of the Bible is a strict God who still loves His people and extends mercy and grace as He desires.
1. Genesis 6 – God decided to destroy the world with a flood because of man’s sinfulness
2. Leviticus 10:1-2 – Nadab & Abihu were killed because of their offering “unauthorized fire” before the Lord
3. 2 Samuel 6:6-7 – Uzzah was killed because he touched the ark despite the Lord’s command and warning
4. As Moses said: “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deut. 28:15).
II. False Picture #2: God would not allow suffering.
A. Those who envision this god believe that human suffering is not compatible with an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
B. However, the Bible paints a picture in which suffering can be harmonized with such attributes of God.
1. First, one must understand the purpose of this world and mankind.
a. God wanted fellowship with man (Eph. 1:4-6, 12), but He wanted man to choose freely to worship Him (John 4:23).
b. Therefore, in making man a free-moral agent, there had to be real choices and real consequences.
c. In other words, earth is not “perfect” in the sense of without any imperfections; however, it is “perfect” for its purpose of “soul-making.”
2. Second, one must realize the problem that sin has caused.
a. Because of sin, death has entered into the world (Romans 5:12).
b. Sin has affected and corrupted everything.
3. Third, one must remember the being that is the true face of evil (i.e., Satan; cf. Job).
III. False Picture #3: God would not send people to Hell.
A. Those who envision this god believe that an all-loving God could not punish people eternally.
1. Some believe that everyone will be saved.
2. Some believe that most everyone will be saved.
3. Some believe that the lost will simply cease to exist.
4. Some believe that the lost will eventually be burned up and then cease to exist.
B. However, the Bible clearly teaches that the unrighteous will be punished eternally in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:46).
1. Yet, God still loves all people and sent His Son so that all could be saved (John 3:16).
2. Nevertheless, those who reject His Son will be punished because of their sins; i.e., they sent themselves to Hell.
(1) Other false pictures could be discussed, but the point is still the same: We must take God as He is!
(2) When we do, we will truly see that He is an awesome God who indeed is worthy of our praise and our devotion.