What Is God Really Like?

by Greg Laurie on Mar 12, 2021

I heard about a little girl who proudly announced to her mom that she was going to draw a picture of God. As she grabbed her crayons and a piece of paper, her mom said, “Honey, no one knows what God looks like.”

The girl replied, “They will when I’m done!”

But what is God like? Is God a smiling God or a frowning one? Does He look at us with approval or disapproval?

Because the Bible often refers to God as our Father, we can respond to that in different ways, depending on what kind of father we had when we were growing up.

But regardless of whether our earthly fathers did a good job or a bad job, we need to look at God in an entirely different way. We must look at Him in the pages of Scripture, where He reveals himself.

In the Old Testament book of Numbers, God describes Himself for us in a blessing that He instructed the priests to pronounce over the people of Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV).

The Book of Numbers is a record of the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. Numbers gives an account of the trials they faced and the mistakes they made as they were journeying to the Promised Land.

We, too, live in a wilderness in a manner of speaking. We’re passing through to another place. We face trials in life, and we make mistakes. We’re fallen people living in a fallen world, and we’re in need of a lot of help.

From this blessing in Numbers 6, we can discover six things about God. We learn how God looks at us, how He feels toward us, and what He wants every believer to know.

“The Lord bless you.” God loves to bless us. Yet what does the word “bless” really mean? We often hear people use it. But really, “bless” is a biblical word. It’s something that only a Christian can fully appreciate and experience.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry by blessing people. He also said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV). God loves to bless people. It is His joy.

“The Lord . . . keep you.” The Hebrew word used here for “keep” means “to guard, to watch, or to put a hedge around.” God wants us to constantly know that He will keep us. It’s good to have that reassurance in such an uncertain world.

The psalmist wrote, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:2–3 NKJV). God is always watching us. He always has an eye on us. God is protecting us and keeping us.

“The Lord make His face shine upon you.” God smiles on us. That’s what this verse is saying. Now, this isn’t the picture that a lot of people have of God. But the picture of God that the Bible gives us is that of God shining with pleasure toward His people.

When God sees us, His face lights up with joy. I think sometimes we feel that our failures come as a surprise to God, as though He didn’t know we were going to do that. But remember, He loves us, and He smiles on us.

“The Lord . . . be gracious to you.” God is gracious to us. We need to be constantly reminded that God has extended His grace toward us. And grace is a word that is very important for us to understand. We see it many times in the Bible, especially in the New Testament.

Grace has been defined as “God’s unmerited favor.” But I think one of the best ways to define grace is by contrasting it with other words like justice and mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve, while mercy is not getting what we deserve. And grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

We need God’s grace on a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment basis, because we sin every day.

“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.” The phrase “lift up his countenance” means “to look, to see, to know, to be interested in, to have one’s full attention.” God is saying, “I watch you every day. You have my full attention.”

Have you ever poured your heart out to someone, and it seemed as though they weren’t even listening? Maybe you were speaking to someone, and they looked past you while you were talking. Or worse yet, they took a phone call: “Wait one second. . . . Hello? . . . Yeah, how are you doing? . . . Oh, I’m not doing anything.”

God isn’t that way. He’s interested. He cares. Of course, there might be times in your life when you’ve wondered whether God really was attentive to you. While it’s true that life is a wonderful adventure when you’re walking with Christ, it’s also true that you’re going to have adversity. You’re going to have hardship. But you’ll never walk through any of those things alone. God will be with you.

“The Lord . . . give you peace.” As we consider all these things, it should change our outlook. No matter what we’re going through, we can have peace because we know the Lord is blessing us. He’s keeping us. He’s smiling on us. And He’s extending his grace to us and paying attention to us. And that should bring peace to our hearts.

However, this is something that only the child of God can experience. Jesus, for all practical purposes, was cursed so that we could be blessed. He died so we could live. He was forsaken so that we could be forgiven.

God said to the Israelites in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).

You have a choice. Choose to be blessed.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

This article was originally published at WND.com.

Three Questions, One Answer

BY DAVID JEREMIAH

“Estamos bien en el refugio, los 33.” (“We are well in the shelter, the 33.”)

That seven-word message set off a wave of euphoria in Chile and around the world. It had been written in red letters on a scrap of paper and taped to a drill bit that penetrated an area of a gold and copper mine just north of Copiapó in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile—written by the 33 miners who had been trapped 2,300 feet underground 17 days earlier.

The Copiapó mining accident, as the world came to call it, became the most-watched rescue mission in world history. There was every reason to believe that, one, the miners had not survived the initial cave-in; and, two, if they had survived they would likely starve to death before they could be reached. Rescuers on the surface had no idea where they were in the labyrinth of tunnels, ramps, and rooms that spread out underground like arteries, veins, and capillaries.

But “the 33” survived the blast and took refuge in an area three miles from the entrance to the mine. And 17 days later, when an exploratory drill bit punched through the roof into their pitch-black sanctuary, they let the world know: “Estamos bien”—“We are well.”

As soon as rescuers discovered the miners were alive, a collaborative effort began to devise a way to get them out: three international drilling rig teams, every ministry of the Chilean government, engineers and technicians from NASA, and more than a dozen multinational corporations. On October 13, 2010, fifty-two days after the miners were discovered—69 days since the cave-in—all 33 were brought to the surface alive.

The rescue took 24 hours as the miners were brought to the surface one at a time in a specially-designed, bullet-shaped capsule, barely larger than a human being. The capsule contained oxygen and medical monitors. The capsule was lowered through a shaft until it reached the miners. One at a time, each miner stepped into the capsule and stood upright, sunglasses and monitors in place, ready for the 15-minute ride to the surface. It is estimated that more than one billion people around the world watched some or all of the televised rescue of “the 33.”*

While the Copiapó mine rescue was definitely a dramatic and glorious end to what could have been a terrible tragedy, it is not the largest, most difficult, or most critical search and rescue effort ever conducted. That would be the search and rescue that was initiated by the incarnation of Jesus Christ who said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

And there are three critical components to that search and rescue operation, outlined by Paul in Romans 10:14 in the form of three questions—three questions that all have the same answer: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Three questions, one answer—and the answer is . . . you! (and me!) We are the ones called by God to carry out the search and rescue mission that Jesus Christ began and continues. Those who need rescuing cannot hear without a preacher (you and me), they cannot believe without hearing, and they can’t call upon a God in whom they have not believed.

It all starts with you and me leaving the light, entering the darkness, and taking the Gospel to a lost world. Let’s look at Paul’s questions in reverse order to see immediately how we are the critical links in God’s search and rescue effort.

How Shall They Hear?

“And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

The preacher God is talking about here is not necessarily one who enters the pulpit on Sunday mornings on a vocational basis. Yes, those preachers are included, but it will take many more “preachers” to accomplish Christ’s search and rescue than the ones who preach vocationally. Indeed, there are too many preachers today who never share the Gospel with the man on the street, considering that’s not their calling. Preachers who think that way need to heed the words of Vance Havner: “A preacher who is too big for a little crowd would be too little for a big crowd.” A preacher with nothing to say to a lost soul on the street has little to say to his congregation on Sunday morning.

God has called every Christian to be a preacher of the Gospel. Every Christian is to answer Paul’s question with the words of Isaiah when the Lord said, “‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’” And Isaiah said, “‘Here am I! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8).

Wherever you and I go in this world, we go as an answer to a question. We are the preachers without whom the lost will not hear. We are the ones who are to “gossip the Gospel” to those we meet—simply as a manner of course, sharing the reality of our life in Christ and the reason for the hope that is within us “with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Question: If the spread of the Gospel depends on people like you and like me, how likely is it that the lost will be found and rescued?

How Shall They Believe?

“And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”

Sometimes we forget that the Gospel is a propositional message—that means it contains certain truths, certain propositions, which must be communicated. The Gospel is specific, not general (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). People need to hear (or read) it with understanding. The danger of the Gospel cavalierly presented or carelessly received is seen in Jesus’ own words: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19a).

We are the ones who must know, understand, and clearly present the Gospel so it is believable. Whether people believe or not is not ultimately up to us. But if they don’t believe, it must never be because they didn’t hear the Gospel clearly from us.

Question: Are you and I prepared to communicate clearly and carefully the Gospel found in the New Testament—a Gospel that is believable for those who hear?

How Shall They Call?

“How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?”

In the verse immediately preceding Romans 10:14, Paul makes this bold promise: “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” And he then asks in verse 14, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” Paul depends on a bit of simple reasoning here: No one is going to call on Christ to save him who does not believe Christ can save. And in order to believe, they must hear. And in order for them to hear, you and I must preach the Gospel to them.

Question: Do you have the boldness to ask, encourage, and exhort the lost to believe that Jesus can save them?

The great English preacher, the late John R. W. Stott, in speaking about those called to preach from the pulpit, said, “The Christian preacher is to be neither a speculator who invents new doctrines which please him, nor an editor who excises old doctrines which displease him, but a steward, God’s steward, dispensing faithfully to God’s household the truths committed to him in the Scriptures, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.”

And I submit that those words apply to you and me in the daily course of our life as well. We have not been called to be clever or original, but to be faithful witnesses of the saving mission and message of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Of all the ways in which He could have saved the lost, He decided to use us and now depends on us to be faithful stewards of the commission given to us: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Three questions, one answer. The search and rescue mission Jesus set in motion is now up to us to carry out. Just as the miners trapped in the darkness were dependent on those in the light to save them, so the lost of this world are depending on us. God has called us to be their answer by going, praying, giving, and preaching the Gospel.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Copiap%C3%B3_mining_accident#Extraction (accessed 12-17-11).

https://www.davidjeremiah.org/magazine/article?id=207