Grace, mercy, and peace are always for you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
If someone asked you, What is God like? how would you answer? If you asked a stranger on the street, Tell me, sir, what do you think God is like? how would they respond? How can any of us know God?
There is a parable about some blind men who encountered an elephant and were asked to describe the animal. Each one gave a different answer.
The first one, feeling his trunk, said, “He’s like a snake.”
Feeling his white tusks, the second said, “No, no. This animal is like a sharp spear.”
The third man, feeling his huge ears, said, “It’s like a leathery huge fan.”
The fourth felt his legs and said, “He is like the trunk of a tree.”
The fifth man, feeling the elephant’s side, described him as a great wall. But the sixth man, feeling his tail, said, “The elephant is like a rope.”
Each man described the elephant based on their limited experience and exposure.
Likewise, God is invisible to human eyes. How can we know what God is like based on our limited experience and exposure? What is God like?
If we saw a glorious sunset, we’d say God is a master artist creating beauty with His power. If we saw a tornado rolling across the Midwest plains with destruction all around, we’d wonder, Although God is all-powerful, is He for us or against us?
The great renowned scientist, Albert Einstein, once said, “I dance to the tune of an invisible piper.” He stands behind the universe. He is God.
In C. S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy are speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver who are sharing all about Aslan the lion, a Christ figure. When they ask if Aslan is a man, Mr. Beaver replies, “Aslan, a man? Certainly not! I tell you, He is the King of the woods and the son of the great Emperor beyond the sea. Aslan is a lion. A lion. A great lion.”
“Ooooh,” said Susan. “I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
Mr. Beaver replied, “Of course he isn’t safe, but he is good. He is the King, I tell you.”
What is God like?
The prophet Micah lived about 700 years before Christ. Like all the prophets, he spoke a word of truth and warned of possible doom and judgment to the people. He begged them that if they persisted in their patterns of immorality, unfaithfulness, spiritual arrogance, injustice and mistreatment of the poor, they would be in danger of suffering the consequences of their wrong deeds. But like all the prophets, he also spoke of God’s power to deliver, God’s love and mercy inviting them back. He is the basis of hope.
What is God like? How does He reveal Himself?
God wants us to know Him. Found in creation, He is the master designer of great, infinite intelligence. Think of the harmony of the universe, the planets in orbit around the sun, the rhythm of the seasons, the interconnectedness of the human body – between our intellect, our lungs, our circulation system, our muscles, and our skeletal system. Think of the glory of the birth of a newborn baby. He is worthy of our praise.
God also reveals Himself in miracles We love miracles perhaps because they are an interruption of the natural order by a supernatural touch of God to restore lost health, protect us from danger, work for our good. We love miracles that come as a result of answered prayer or our deliverance.
It is also true to understand God revealing Himself when a person is going through great adversity or a dark period of their life. When God’s Spirit pours strength into the person to give them courage and peace to persevere when life is difficult, it speaks of God’s presence and power as well.
God reveals Himself in changed lives. We know many people who have experienced a radical transformation of life because of encountering God. Maybe they were living self-serving, self-indulgent lives. Their behavior patterns, attitudes, and speech punished and poisoned people around them on the journey. Then they met Jesus Christ, and they learned of the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of being raised to new beginnings. Their lives were radically changed, and they were transformed into people who love God, trust Him, and bless others around them.
The ultimate revelation of God is the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scripture says,
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (I John 1:14).
Jesus came to our world in love seeking rebels.
What is God like? Look at Jesus, the perfect Son of God, without flaw, who was crucified on a cross. God raised Him from the dead back to life. Through these acts, we know God is holy but also just, fulfilling the Law. God is loving, merciful, and forgiving. He is a God of second chances. He invites us to be reconciled into a relationship where we receive God’s unmerited favor and grace.
The words of Micah in our text today give us some good spiritual insight into what God is like. The first truth is this: God has an enemy. Therefore, you and I do, too. Because of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know these words are true.
“Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise.”
Jesus said it this way,
“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
In I John 4:4 we read,
“Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”
It’s appropriate to be aware of the Prince of Darkness – the enemy of God and therefore our enemy too. But always remember that in Jesus Christ he is already defeated. Even so, he tries to harass us, bring us down, and steal our faith.
The second powerful truth from Micah is God always hears our prayers. Because of the cross, we have unlimited access to God. In I Peter 3:12 it says,
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous. His ears are attentive to our prayers.”
I love what Psalm 116:1 says,
“I love the Lord because he hears my voice . . .”
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7,
“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”
A powerful promise is found in II Chronicles 7:14,
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven.”
The third beautiful truth from Micah telling about God is God always picks us up when we fall, wherever we fall, no matter where we have fallen. God, in His grace, comes to find us where we are in the dirt and lifts us to a new beginning.
The fourth truth from Micah tells us that God enlightens our path out of the dark.
There is a story of a US naval battleship captain who requested over the radio frequency that the approaching light – presumably from a foreign vessel – should change its course. The other party responded that No. The naval vessel should change its course.
The captain of the naval vessel reiterated his command. “I am the captain of a US battleship, and I demand you change course or we’ll have to take drastic action!”
The other radio voice calmly said, “I am a lighthouse. It’s your call.”
Isn’t true that, although God is a light out of our darkness, we are stubborn in our attitudes and behavior patterns? We want to maintain control of our lives. But Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” If you are stuck or lost, Jesus says, “I am the way.”
Fifth, what is God like? According to Micah, God pardons all our iniquities whether done in weakness or willful rebellion. He passes over our rebellion and removes our sin from us. He casts our sins into the depths of the sea and tramples our sins underfoot. All our sins are overcome by Jesus who has gained the victory for us.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our sins from us” (Psalm 103:12).
“I will remember your sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
The sixth picture of what God is like, Micah says is this: God pleads my case. In I John 2:1 it says,
“If anyone sins, we have an advocate, a defender named Jesus Christ.”
He is the best defense lawyer to be found. Jesus rises to speak on our behalf and claims us in love. He tells our accuser, This child is forgiven.
The seventh most beautiful picture of what God is like, according to Micah, is this: God delights in unchanging love.
Just think of how a parent holds a newborn baby and looks with adoration and infatuation in that little child’s eyes. It’s more than being legally absolved of our sin. God invites us to know that we are the delight of His love.
How would you and I respond? God’s desire is for us to love Him in return and trust Him in life. Yet it is possible that we could openly reject God and be hostile in our defiance. We could mock all things Christian. We could also totally ignore God and live as if God does not exist.
A member of our church works in a business that provides oxygen to those who are struggling to breathe. When they are on oxygen, they feel better and stronger. They inhale and take life in.
God, in the name of Jesus, pours His grace, forgiveness, and Spirit out to you every day. Will you open your heart to the beauty of what God is like in His love for you? In the name of Jesus, God offers us life. Amen.
Pastor Lee Laaveg