Divine Characteristics of God

 

Scripture Reading:

 

Psalms 139:1-6 “O LORD, THOU HAST SEARCHED ME, AND KNOWN me.  THOU KNOWEST MY DOWNSITTING AND MINE UPRISING, THOU UNDERSTANDEST MY THOUGHT AFAR OFF.  THOU COMPRESSEST MY PATH AND MY LYING DOWN, AND ART ACQUAINTED with ALL MY WAYS.  FOR there is NOT A WORD IN MY TONGUE, but, LO, O LORD, THOU KNOWEST IT ALTOGETHER.  THOU HAS BESET ME BEHIND AND BEFORE, AND LAID THINE HAND UPON ME.  Such KNOWLEDGE is TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME; IT IS HIGH, I CANNOT attain UNTO IT.”

 

            Someone has written “there is no God. All of the wonders around us are accidental.  No almighty hand made a thousand billion stars.  They made themselves.  No power keeps them on their steady course.  The earth spins itself to keep the oceans from falling off toward the sun.  Infants teach themselves to cry when they are hurt or hungry.  A small flower invented itself so that we could extract digitalis for sick hearts.”  And on it goes.  Men who claim such as this are described by the wise man of God as fools:

 

Psalms 14:1 “THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, there is NO GOD.  THEY ARE CORRUPT, THEY HAVE DONE ABOMINABLE WORKS, there is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD.”

 

But I am not speaking to a room full of fools.  We are all here because we know that there is a God, a God that perhaps we need to be able to know just a little better.  The place to learn about God, of course, is scripture, that which is the God breathed revelation of Himself.  So the purpose of this lesson is to review  and refresh ourselves concerning the divine characteristics of our God, through an exegesis of Psalms 139.

 

God is Omniscient

 

v.1 “O LORD, THOU HAST SEARCHED ME, AND KNOWN me.”

 

            God knows everything that there is to know about you and I and everything else.  It is as though he has sat and is sitting next to us every moment and every second of every day of our lives.  Now that could be a scary thought couldn’t it.  It can be scary because we are assured by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul:

 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

 

And we know we sin.  David also realized that he had a personal relationship with God and it was his purpose to maintain that relationship.

 

Psalms 17:3 “THOU HAST PROVED MINE HEART; THOU HAST VISITED me IN THE NIGHT; THOU HAS TRIED ME, and THOU SHALT FIND NOTHING; I AM PURPOSED that MY MOUTH SHALL NOT TRANSGRESS.”

 

v.2 “THOU KNOWEST MY DOWNSITTING AND MINE UPRISING, THOU UNDERSTANDEST MY THOUGHT AFAR OFF.”

 

            David wrote that God knew when, where and with whom he sat down; God knew when he rose up confirming his words from verse 1.  But David adds something here to what God knows.  He reads our very thoughts, our minds and our hearts.  He knows our intermost secrets; even those thoughts that we never put into words, those thoughts that might cause us to sin.  God also knows which ones we dismiss from our minds and those that we let tempt us.  We have this evidence from the Son of God; at the Passover in Jerusalem as he began his ministry:

 

John 2:24-25But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

 

Even though they saw his miracles, heard his words and believed on him, Jesus knew that it was much too early in his ministry to commit himself to them because he knew their hearts and minds and they weren’t ready.  One more example is that of Jesus when he healed the man sick of the palsy, in their hearts certain of the scribes “SAID WITHIN THEMSELVES, that he blasphemed God:

 

Matthew 9:4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

 

Yes, Jesus knew their very thoughts.

 

v.3-4 “THOU COMPASSEST MY PATH AND MY LYING DOWN, AND ART ACQUAINTED with ALL MY WAYS.  FOR there is NOT A WORD IN MY TONGUE, but, LO, O LORD, THOU KNOWEST IT ALTOGETHER.”

 

            God not only knows our hearts and minds, but because he has such intimate knowledge of our entire being that he is “ACQUAINTED with ALL MY WAYS.”  He knows how we will react, what we will do in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  We are familiar with the words of:

 

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

But we’re probably not as familiar with the verse that follows:

 

Hebrews 4:13 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

 

v.5-6 “THOU HAST BESET ME BEHIND AND BEFORE, AND LAID THINE HAND UPON ME.”

 

            David said that God was behind him, God was before him and that God had even laid his hand upon him.  At the end of his ordeal at the hands of Satan Job responded to God this way:

 

Job 42:1-3 “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”

 

            David and Job both fully understood that there is nothing that God does not or can not know.  All of man’s doings, his heart, his mind, his thoughts, his inclinations, what he will do tomorrow and how we will react in whatever situation we might find ourselves enduring are to God as an open book.  But that also means that God knows our fears, our troubles, our sorrows and our deepest desires.  An anchor of strength is that just as the words of a familiar hymn state; Jesus knows and Jesus cares.

 

God is Omnipresent

 

v. 7 “WHITHER SHALL I GO FROM THY SPIRIT? OR WHITHER SHALL I FLEE THEY PRESENCE?”

 

            David asks where could I hide; where could I flee that I would not be in God’s presence?  God is everywhere.  Oh, men have tried to hide from God from the very beginning.  Adam and Eve had transgressed God’s commandment, they had sinned and they knew it.  So they tried to hide just as, most likely, you and I tried to hide our transgressions from mother and dad when we were children.

Genesis 3:8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

 

But that didn’t work, God knew exactly where they were even though he called out to them and asked.

Another man with whom we’re familiar tried to hide from God when he was given a mission that he did not want to fulfill.  This man was much more sophisticated than Adam; he was even a prophet of God, a man of God, one who understood the ways of God.  But he still tried:

 

Jonah 1:3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

 

But Jonah couldn’t run and hide, God knew where he was, retrieved him and sent him on his original mission.

 

v.8 “IF I ASCEND UP INTO HEAVEN, THOU art THERE; IF I MAKE MY BED IN HELL, BEHOLD, THOU art there.”

 

            David said that even if he ascended up into heaven or down into hell itself, God would be there, there is no escape from God’s presence.  We fully understand that God would be with us in heaven because we know that he is there.  But do we understand that God also has the power to be with us in hell also if he chose to do so?  Job said in:

 

Job 26:66Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.”

 

A comparison is made by the Holy Spirit in God’s book of wisdom:

 

Proverbs 15:11 “HELL AND DESTRUCTION are BEFORE THE LORD: HOW MUCH MORE THEN THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN OF MAN?”

Amos, the prophet of God to Israel speaks of their destruction this way:

 

Amos 9:2-4 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 3And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: 4And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.”

 

 

v.9-10If I TAKE THE WINGS OF THE MORNING, and DWELL IN THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE SEA; EVEN THERE SHALL THY HAND LEAD ME, AND THY RIGHT HAND SHALL HOLD ME.”

 

            David continues that even if he took the “WINGS OF MORNING” and fled across the earth as night flees before the sun as the world turns, God would still be there with him.  Even though he might live in the deepest part of the sea, and we’re mindful of the Marianas Trench, that place in the northwestern Pacific that is 35,678 feet or more than 6¾ miles deep, God would be there.

            But in addition to words of warning these verses also hold words of assurance.  It doesn’t matter where we are, it doesn’t matter what situation we might be in, it doesn’t matter what dangers or troubles might beset us.  God is there, God is there for us and with us.  We are assured that:

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:13

 

God is Omnivisual

 

            God sees all.  There is an old hymn that we used to sing, we don’t anymore, probably because some folks don’t like the words we find there.  It is called “Watching You” and is found on page 721 is our songbooks.  The first verse starts “All along on the road to the soul’s true abode” and the refrain ends “There’s an all-seeing eye watching you.”  I’m afraid that there are a lot of folks that just don’t like to think about that.

 

v.11 “IF I SAY, SURELY THE DARKNESS SHALL COVER ME; EVEN THE NIGHT SHALL BE LIGHT ABOUT ME.”

 

            Evil men love darkness.  One of the things that we’re told to do to protect our homes and property is to have all of it well lighted.  Men have always and always will use darkness to hide wicked deeds from other men.  In the wisdom of God we find evil men from whom we must be delivered described this way:

 

Proverbs 2:12-15To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; 13Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; 14Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; 15Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:”

 

John, the Apostle, records these words of Jesus:

 

John 3:19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

 

John then writes further in his first letter that when we enter darkness, or have fellowship with darkness, we forfeit our relationship with God:

 

I John 1:5-6This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”

 

v.12 “YEA, THE DARKNESS HIDETH NOT FROM THEE; BUT THE NIGHT SHINETH AS THE DAY: THE DARKNESS AND THE LIGHT are BOTH ALIKE to thee.”

 

            Again we turn to the wisdom found in the book of Job:

 

Job 34:21-22For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. 22There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”

 

            Man can hide in darkness from men but not from God.  God not only sees those things that are in darkness, those things that man thinks are hidden away but God also has x-ray vision and can see even were men cannot.  David continues his description of God’s this characteristic:

 

v.15-16 “MY SUBSTANCE WAS NOT HID FROM THEE, WHEN I WAS MADE IN SECRET, and CURIOUSLY WROUGHT IN THE LOWEST PARTS OF THE EARTH.  THINE EYES DID SEE MY SUBSTANCE, YET BEING UNPERFECT, AND IN THY BOOK ALL my members WERE WRITTEN, which IN CONTINUANCE WERE FASHIONED, WHEN as yet there was NONE OF THEM.”

 

            When and where was David made?  Where was David yet “UNPERFECT” or incomplete?  Where was David when his members “WERE FASHIONED”.  All of these things occurred after David was conceived and before he was born, it all occurred in his mother’s womb.  (So much for the world view that a “fetus” is not a human being, a living soul.)  Again we find in:

 

Job 10:8-9Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. 9Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”

The wise man makes the observation that while men know a lot of things they don’t know all of the things that God knows.  God knows all about some things because he is the one that “MAKES ALL”.

 

Ecclesiastes 11:5As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

 

So God sees all things, even the hidden things of life, whether they be hidden by darkness, in the bowels of a high mountain or in the depths of the sea.

 

God is Omnific

 

            For those folks that would need to look up the work “omnific” like I did, that means simply that God created all things.  David tells us in his psalm that he was made by God.

 

v.14 “I PRAISE THEE; FOR I AM FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE:…

 

            The very first verse of God’s revelation tells us that:

 

“IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH.”  Genesis 1:1

 

After working for six days and completing the craftsmanship that caused the Apostle Paul to say and Luke to record “…IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING” (Acts 17:28) God looked at his creation and made the following observation:

 

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31

 

We find testimony that God cannot lie in Titus 1:2.  All things occurred just as His word describes.

 

Genesis 5:1This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;”

 

And from his servant Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible:

 

Exodus 20:11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

 

            Whatever attributes or characteristics that we ascribe to God we must also subscribe to the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.  When we turn back to the initial creation we find God saying:

 

“…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  Genesis 1:26

 

There was at least one more being present at the creation and we know who that was.  For again, God has not left us in the dark concerning that both Father and Son share the same characteristics.   Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit we find the Apostle Paul declaring that Jesus the Christ:

 

“…is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:15-17

Yes, the God that created all things is our Father, our protector, our refuge in time of trouble our saviour from eternal destruction.

 

God is Omnipotent

 

            God is all powerful.  God’s power is infinite, not measurable, without beginning, without end and will restriction of any sort.  God is called “ALMIGHTY” in scripture from beginning to end.  God but had to speak and everything this world came into existence.

 

Genesis 1:3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

 

Genesis 1:6-7And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”

 

Genesis 1:9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

 

Eight times in the first 26 verses of Genesis chapter 1, when “GOD SAID”, all the things that God called “VERY GOOD” in came into existence.  In addition to designing, making and putting all of the things in place; God also set the rules of science that keeps his creation within its bounds.  The Holy Spirit through the pen of the apostle Paul testifies that God:

 

“…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” Acts 17:26

 

            We have much more but for our consideration in this lesson we will close with these from the Psalms written to praise and glorify God.  Psalms written to glorify Almighty God who desires nothing more from man than his obedience, highest praise and most devout worship.

 

Psalms 19:1 “THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD; AND THE FIRMAMENT SHOWETH HIS HANDIWORK.”

 

Psalms 33:6-7 “BY THE WORD OF THE LORD WERE THE HEAVENS MADE; AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH.  HE GATHERETH THE WATERS OF THE SEA TOGETHER AS AN HEAP: HE LAYETH UP THE DEPTH IN STOREHOUSES. v.9 “FOR HE SPAKE, AND IT WAS; HE COMMANDED, AND IT STOOD FAST.”

 

And there are many more but our time has flown.

 

            God is omniscient; he has complete, unlimited knowledge of all that is, all that was and all that will be.

            God is omnipresent; wherever we might imagine, God is there, it is as though he sits next to us every second, very hour and every day in our lives.

            God is onmivisual; nothing escapes his attention, he sees all.

            God is onmific; everything that was made, was made or created by God; all of the laws of science that man has discovered, and all that he will discover before the world is brought to an end were conceived and set in motion by God.

            God is omnipotent; he is all powerful, he needs to but speak and this world would come to an end, he could then speak again and bring it back into existence.

            Do you serve this God as his child?  Invitation

 

William L. Schwegler, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, LA; Sunday Evening; March 29, 2009