The God of Sarah and Barack
Thursday, October 14, 2010

“Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces with none to rescue.” (Ps. 50:22)“God is love.  Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in him.”  (John 4:16)                The other morning I heard a network news broadcaster telling about a recent study of the perceptions of God by Americans.  About one third believed in the God of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, who is a vengeful and foreboding God, set to punish all wrong doers.  Another third believed in the God of Barack Obama who is a God of love and compassion.  The newscaster went on to add her editorial comments.  She said it was the God of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck that turn people off.  Sometimes I can hardly believe my ears of what I hear on the daily news.  But sadly this commentary was a reflection of the pulpits and pews of America.  We have no idea who God is.                First of all, just to clarify for all who would hear, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin worship a different God.  Although Beck would claim otherwise, the God defined by the Mormon religion is not the God of Scriptures.  And if Sarah Palin believed only that God was vengeful and judgmental (which I doubt) then she is to be pitied.  And if Barack Obama believed only that God is love (which I doubt, but in his political wisdom knows that a God of love is the only politically correct God in America today) then he too is to be pitied.  However, both God’s (as if God is not one) is radically portrayed in Scripture (note the quotes above).  So which God is the real God?                Sadly, many Americans can be duped into answering that question one way or another (as in the survey mentioned), because as I said, we have no idea who God is.  He is both those things and infinitely more.  I wonder if the genius that put this survey together thought about asking about a Holy God (the God of Paul, Martin Luther, A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham and Mother Teresa) – a God who is totally other in all He does and says; a God for whom we will never comprehend; a God of Grace and Justice at the same time; a God of vengeance and mercy dwelling in the same Holy Creator.  God in reality is more than any human can ever comprehend and yet we try daily to bring Him down to our size; to tie a neat bow around a package and say this is God.  And usually, the God we believe in looks and thinks a whole lot like us.                For the newscaster, God had to fit into her sound bite and that seemed to work well for her.  And for many in the pulpits today, God is not much bigger.  Much of the mainline church tries to contain God in their political correctness, while many in the legalistic churches try to make us believe God is a God of man-made rules, crafted to keep us in line according to an estranged doctrine.  But God will not be contained in sound bites, political correctness or legalistic doctrine.  He is God and He is like no other.  His ways are beyond our ways, even higher than the heavens are above the earth (Is. 55:9).  And when we try to define God within our own context, we will always diminish who He truly is.                As I wrote yesterday, we are sliding as a nation into atheism – both real and practical.  And I firmly believe this is happening because the Church is not teaching the holiness of God as His overarching attribute, and has become content with lesser definitions.  We ignore the admonitions of God to lead a holy life (be holy as I AM holy); to strive for perfection (therefore be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect); and to be transformed to Christ and not conformed to the world (be not conformed to the patterns of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds).  These are tough messages, yet they are the messages of Scripture.  They will never be popular because they require surrendering our human nature to the nature of God.  And you can bet as long as God is as small in our minds as He is in the minds of the newscaster and those who responded to the survey, we will never achieve reaching the heights to which God has called us.

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