who He is.
This post in not just for Believers, even though it is about God. It is for Atheists, Agnostics, and all kinds and degrees of believers in God.
If there is a Creator God, then He is who He is regardless of whether we’re okay with that or not, or whether we like some aspects of who He is and don’t like others.
“Remaking” Him to our specifications doesn’t change Him, and choosing not to believe in Him doesn’t change Him. He is who He is.
In fact, when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush to commission him to go back to his people and lead them out of their slavery in Egypt, and Moses asked God’s name, God told Moses His name is: “I am who I am.” “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I Am’ sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).
So who is God? “I am who I am”. He is who He is.
He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34 :6-7).
I was in a congregation once where the speaker had the congregation memorize this Biblical description of God minus the last phrase.
We seem to be fine with some of who God is “merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving sin”...but not one who “will by no means clear the guilty.”
But God is who He is however we feel about it.
And He is way slower to anger than we are. His steadfast, faithful, patient, forgiving love is quite amazing!
But there is also a point of wrath. He is slow to anger, in fact various psalmists ask “How long, O God is the foe to scoff?” and “Arise, O God, defend your cause, remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!” (Psalm 75: 10, 22).
To this psalmist, and to many other people, God was too slow to anger. But He does get there.
The thoughts for this blog began when I read these words in the first chapter of Nahum:
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.” (Nahum 1:2-3)
Those verses make me uncomfortable (even though I know that when God exhibits wrath, there is good reason, as verse 38 of Psalm 78 says, “Yet, He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath.”
While some verses might make me uncomfortable, God is who He is and my being uncomfortable doesn’t change Him.
If I were suffering under the Nazis in a concentration camp, or undergoing torture under various other regimes, I might not mind these words so much.
In fact as a young girl, I appreciated when my father, who loved me very much, rose up in my defense when someone wronged me; whether it was my friend who threw my hat in the snow on a freezing winter day, or the time when, because a teacher wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom, I wet my pants.
Because of my father’s great love for me, there was his wrath against those who had acted against me.
God is who He is.
Nothing will change that. It is not helpful to live in the non-reality of thinking of Him other than who He is, trying to ignore the parts of Him that don’t suit us. It is not helpful to ignore Him and pretend He doesn’t exist.
The most beneficial thing we can do is to get to know God’s whole character…who He really is. This will affect our lives in innumerable positive ways.