“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy”
If Tozer is right – that nothing is of greater importance than what we think when we think about God – then we can hardly overestimate the importance of the study of God.
Consider the 10 commandments. The very first command God ever gave Israel, and in fact, the first command He gave the entire human race was this: “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) The one true God will not tolerate the worship of other gods, nor will He allow false ideas about Himself.
Then the second command follows: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Later, in Deuteronomy 4:15-16, this command is further explained: “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure.”
Not only does God forbid a false conception of Himself, God is also not to be compared to anything. The reason God so abhors the making of an idol is because it does not depict Him rightly as He is. God simply will not tolerate it! On numerous occasions, God describes Himself as jealous, meaning He is jealous that we should love or worship anything but Him!
And it is right here that we find the chief problem in our thinking about God. One theologian said that the “human heart is an idol factory.” We have a 24-hour sweatshop in our inner imaginations. Left unchecked, we never stop producing one idolatrous concept of God after the other.
But how do we stop our inclination for idolatry and replace it with a worship of the one true God? And more so, how do we fill our minds and hearts with a true and accurate picture of the one true God?
I think the place we must begin is with a confession – that left to our own imaginations, we will never conceive of the true God as He genuinely is. If God is infinite in his being and unlike all other things, how can we who are finite even begin to conceive of God?
Part of the answer is found in found in Isaiah 55:8-9: “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.”
In other words, the greatest thought we have ever had regarding God falls far short of the most basic insight we can have of God. How then shall we come to know him? The answer is that God, in an act of condescension, has chosen to reveal himself to us in language we can understand. The one expert on God is God himself!
So in my recent series, “This is Our God,” I invite you to come on a journey of discovery as we survey the pages of Scripture to get an accurate portrayal of God as He describes Himself. And in the process, you will find that it is a discovery of delight, as we seek to know our God as never before!