Summary: We start with praise simply because of who God is, and in the end we find that the greatness of God, the compassion of God, the faithfulness of God, and the personal nature of God brings us back to who God is.
Lately it seems popular in America to imagine how Jesus would act if He were walking among us here in the United States of America today.
We are told that what Jesus would drive would be anything but a gas guzzling SUV…this is in spite of the fact that Jesus walked everywhere even though horses were readily available. So why would Jesus drive a car when He is only once recorded in Scripture as riding an animal? Even more, why would Jesus need to buy gas anyway? He could turn water into wine, why not water into gasoline?
We are told that Jesus would not eat fast food or pizza or anything unhealthy. Really? Then why was Jesus called a drunkard and a glutton? Does the New Testament ever tell us anything about Jesus physical state? We are never told that Jesus was tall or short, skinny or overweight, athletic or not. We are only told that he was not handsome. Is. 53:2
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Some will even go so far to claim that Jesus would be a vegetarian, which means of course that Jesus could not participate in the Passover meal…clearly a contradiction of how Jesus is described in the Bible.
How would Jesus vote? The exact way I voted, of course…except for the fact that Jesus would be ineligible to vote here in America.
What would Jesus buy, what would Jesus sell, who would Jesus deport, what would Jesus blog, what would Jesus tax, what would Jesus do for a Klondike bar? The list is endless, but in the end the results are always the same - People imagine that the values they hold dear, are the same values that Jesus holds dear. What we in America think to ourselves is, “What I think is important, is what God thinks is important”.
What would Jesus drive? The same kind of car I drive, of course.
People place their own value system on God, and they imagine that God values exactly what they value. For example, a person who values a healthy vegetarian diet, may imagine that because they see a vegetarian diet is a good thing, then God does as well…..not necessarily so.
What we see in all this is folks making assumptions about the character of God. The great danger is this: We can create a God of our imagination, which has no relation to the real God and we can fool ourselves. See, if we start with ourselves, if we start with what we hold dear, what we personally value and then create an argument of why God would agree with us, we are in great danger of fooling ourselves. This is known as speculation, and speculation is a nice way of saying, my best guess is…..truth is that with ungrounded speculation we are attempting to create who we think God might be, when in reality God already is.
Why would I want to speculate about who God might be, when I have an accurate source that tells me exactly what God is like? That just makes no sense. This is something we have to be very careful about. We ALL have a worldview that is influenced by a number of things, many of the things that influence us are not Christian – so sometimes we assume that because WE SEE something as good, we then assume it is Christian and biblical, but that may not necessarily be the case. It is much healthier to start with Scripture first and then go to experience, rather than starting with experience and then going to Scripture. That way we have a better chance of seeing what is already there, than trying to find something we already agree with – makes sense, right?
So instead of guessing who God is, let’s look at what Scripture tells us about who God is.
Here in Psalm 145, we have a description of who God is. David is the author of this Psalm and in it he give us two parallel tracks to follow: David tells us a bit about who God is, he tells us about God’s character, and also, David tells us what our response should be to the character of God. What is happening here is that God is revealing Himself to us.
Let me stop right here and address a modern American myth. You may hear some folks argue that since the Bible was written by humans, it is just another opinion in the sea of opinions on the vast subject of God. Well, though the Bible was written by humans, it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean that God took control of a person’s hand and wrote the words, what it means is that the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to write and in doing so, the words are from God. 2Tim. 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”