United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Who Is God?

The Bible tells us about this guy named Balaam–a sort of prophet for hire–who got to know God through a talking donkey and then a terrifying face-to-face with the point of an angel's sword (read about it in Numbers 22). I don't recommend that way though–especially since Balaam acted more stubbornly than his donkey!

The Bible tells us about another man who thought he knew God and who volunteered to track down Christians and haul them off to be fined, flogged or stoned to death. He was on one of his Gestapo-like missions on the road to Damascus with letters of extradition to bring more members of God's young Church back to Jerusalem for punishment.

He ended up with an eye problem–God struck him blind for three days! That got the attention of this man, who would later become famous to history as the apostle Paul. He was well motivated to get to know the true God after that (see Acts 9).

Another person we encounter in the Bible was a very lovely lady–a beauty queen, really. She already knew God, having been reared as an orphan by her very faithful older cousin.

She had also become the queen of Persia. The politics of Persia had turned very anti-Semitic and she, Esther, was Jewish. At her cousin's urgent recommendation she took her knowledge of God to the next level by first fasting (going without food or water) for three days and nights and then hosting two very stressful banquets for her husband the king and his prime minister, Haman, the man who sought to murder her and her people. Fasting for three days intensified her knowledge and deep appreciation for God (Esther 4-7).

Or, you can follow these three steps to begin to get to know God better.

Know that God exists

One way to get to know God is to really prove to yourself that He exists. After all, thinking about or talking to someone who isn't there would be fruitless and lonely! So the first step in knowing God is to know–prove, prove some more, and reflect on that proof–that He exists.

You live in an age when millions of seemingly intelligent people take pride in "knowing" and proclaiming that God doesn't exist. Don't listen to them!

Take some time to study the natural world. Notice the incredible structure of the animals, the spectacular symmetry and beauty of the plants and trees. You name it in nature, and it is living proof by its complexity and inner working that God does absolutely exist. For fun you can read a little about fractal geometry. Paintings don't happen by random accident; paintings demand a painter. Likewise, creation demands a Creator!

Now inventory what you already know and read about the laws of mathematics, aerodynamics or physics. Those laws are what enable the atheistic scientists (and believing ones too) to be able to calculate and predict rocket science or any other science.

Where did those laws come from? Where do the laws governing your nation come from? From a law-making, law-enforcing body call the government, right? Bingo! The same principle applies to the laws of physics and the spiritual laws that govern our relationships with each other and with God. Bottom line: Law demands a Lawgiver!

Know God by reading His Book

How else can we get to know God? During World War II, at the close of the North African campaign of 1942, U.S. General George Patton said that he was victorious over the battle-hardened German Afrika Corps, led by their famous and brilliant commanding general Erwin Rommel, because he read Rommel's book–helping him come to know Rommel and the way he thought. Likewise, I read the biography of Patton so I could get to know him.

It's pretty elementary, isn't it? If you want to know god, you have to read His book. It's call the Bible.

You can start with our three examples above and then read from the beginning about God as Creator and Lawgiver. Then read about Jesus of Nazareth so you can really get to know Him as your Savior and Teacher.

Read some of God's book every day and never stop reading it. Always ask after reading, "What do I know about God from reading this section of Scripture?" Before long, you will begin to know Him well!

Know God by living His way

A third way to get to know God is by living His way. Once when I was a small boy, I saw what looked like a bowl of pudding cooling on the kitchen counter. But I wasn't completely sure that it was pudding–and I really wanted to know. What to do? I sampled it, and it was pudding all right. It turned out to be my favorite flavor, too-butterscotch! The point? The proof of the pudding is in the eating (although the eating didn't please my mother at the time!).

Remember the spiritual lows of God listed in His book? He wants us to obey them. His divine law is a great teacher about Him. They define His way of life. In fact, Christianity was initially called "the Way," and a prime example is recorded where Paul was headed to Damascus to arrest some of its followers (Acts 9:2).

Summarizing the Ten Commandments in biblical law are what Christ called the two great commandments: 1) "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind," and 2) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:34-40.

To know God, begin to live by these two great commandments and their ramifications. Show love and concern for others and help out where you are able. And love God by praying, reading His book (the Bible) and keeping–for starters–His prescribed Holy Day of rest, the Sabbath. Remember this: Most of Christianity doesn't even know which day that is. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week–which is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, not on Sunday. Begin to observe this weekly Holy Day and you'll really begin to know God like never before!

Who is God? What is God? Is there a way we can know? People have puzzled over these questions for centuries. But it doesn't need to be a mystery! Download or request your free study aid Who Is God? today from our website: www.GNmagazine.org/booklets

- Randy Stiver

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