God's Characteristics Introduced
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Defining God's characteristics
I learned in graduate school to define important words, so let's define the meaning of God's characteristics. The One True God's characteristics are whatever He has in any way revealed as being true about Himself through His Word. His characteristics as well as His names describe Who He is. It is vital we know that all God's characteristics and names fill His whole being and act together. God isn't somewhat powerful, He is all-powerful. He isn't kind of knowledgeable, He is all-knowing, and so on.
Scholars differ on the number of God's characteristics. The characteristics I will cover, are the ones many religious leaders understand and teach on. These characteristics of God are: self-existence, all powerful, eternal, the source of life, sovereign, holy, righteous, just, merciful, good, patient, full of grace, unchanging, faithful, truthful / true, all knowing, all wise, always with you, all seeing, all hearing, incomprehensible, kind, forgiving, and all loving. I will cover in depth some of God's most notable names: Jesus Christ, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Creator, LORD, I AM, Father, Husband, Savior, Servant, Lamb, and Shepherd, as well as a few other lesser known names.
God has two types of attributes or characteristics. They are called incommunicable and communicable attributes. The communicable attributes of God are the ones that we have because we are created in God's image. They are such things as a personality marked with emotions, moral character, the desire for relationship, the desire to be loved and to love, the capacity to have patience, wisdom, mercy, justice, goodness and faithfulness and so on. We also have an eternal existence that began when God created us. The incommunicable attributes of God are the ones only God can have. These include such things as being self-existent, the source of all life, always seeing, always present and so on. As I teach God's characteristics, both types will be used to enlighten and inspire.
It's good to understand, we have the communicable attributes that God has given us, but they are never to the degree that God has them. We are loving and have wisdom and knowledge, but of course, we will never always be as loving or have all wisdom or knowledge like God does.
God knows you, and wants you to know Him (Psalm 139:1-4). This is an amazing reality, isn't it? So you need to not just know of God, but to really know Him. I know of the President of the United States; but I really know my husband, Tom, who I have been married to for over 40 years. God wants to be known as I know my husband.
Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24 NASB®
Do you just know of God, or do you really know Him? I guarantee you - the more you get to know God, the more you will want to know Him, as well as to love and serve Him.
Knowing God, like Daniel in the Old Testament
Daniel will be used throughout this devotional, to give an example of a person who truly knew and loved the One True God. So let's start getting familiar with Daniel.
The second chapter of the book of Daniel (written by Daniel) is a dream from God that summarizes the world's future empires. This chapter also explains how the One True God saved all the wise men in Babylon from King Nebuchadnezzar, who was going to execute them because they couldn't interpret his dream. Daniel prayed to God; Who revealed to Daniel what no human could know, the king's dream. Read Daniel 2:17-49.
Describe God from this passage.
What did you learn about Daniel that you want to exemplify in your life?
How did Daniel chapter two personally speak to you?
Daniel chapter four is again about a dream from God, but this time it was to warn a proud king. King Nebuchadnezzar is the evil tyrant in Daniel chapter two, but as you will see in chapter four, God can change the most evil person for the good. This chapter tells a true story of how the most powerful man in the world at the time (King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon), learned Who the One True God really is, and to be humble before Him. Read Daniel 4:1-9, 19-37.
Describe God from this passage.
How did Daniel chapter four personally speak to you?
This story always reminds me, I need to be humble (the opposite of pride, dependence on God not self) before God, and if I am not, who knows what drastic happenings will come my way. Honestly, if you want to be right with God, being humble is a must (1 Peter 5:5-6).
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