This study is based upon the New City Catechism.

Text

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God…. But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:8-10, 15)

Exposition

The most basic fact about God that we can know is that He is our Creator. This title sets the context of all our dealings and covenants with Him. David instructs thus in Psalm 86, where he recognizes two distinctions between the Creator and His creation. This distinction is what the Bible refers to as holiness. “Holy” is typically utilized in reference to moral purity, but this usage is a specific application of the broader meaning. The word “holy” means “set apart; distinct.” To make some holy, you must separate it (i.e. “to sanctify” means “to make holy”). Isaiah’s vision of a holy, holy, holy God was not simply of a morally pure being, but of Someone Who was distinct in every manner from him. This chasm of difference is the divide between the Creator and His creation.[1]

First, God is holy in His being. “There is none like you among the gods… you are great… you alone are God,” David writes. When considering God in His substance and being, David can find no similarity. There is nothing that comes to mind with which God may be compared. “The gods” refers to whatever men might be inclined to call and worship as a god. Even among the most glorious and incredible beings, David is at a loss for comparisons.

Is there anything you can think of which could compare to your Creator? Have you a friend as powerful, who can raise up mountains with a word? Have you knowledge of one so awesome, who can whisper the stars into alignment? Who is wiser than the One Who designed and fashioned the human body, with its minute wonders and irreducible complexities? Surely among all creatures, those real and imaginable, there is none like God our Creator. Therefore, who is worthy of worship but Him? If there is none to compare Him with, then why should there be any with whom He must share glory, honor, praise, and adoration? Let our words be few and our worship be true.[2]

Second, God is holy in His works. “Nor are there any works like yours… [you] do wondrous things,” David writes. Not only is God incomparable in Who He is, but also in what He does. God’s holiness means that what He accomplishes bears His holy mark. His works are always distinguishable from others.

Can you think of anything so awesome as creating something from nothing? God has done it. Have you come across any story so miraculous as God’s parting of the Red Sea, His crumbling the walls of Jericho, His preserving Daniel in the lion’s den? God has done it. Who have you known to have raised from the grave, never to return? God has done it. Therefore, who shall we praise today? Whose works shall we lift up and adore, if not our Creator’s? For this reason “all the nations [God has] made shall come and worship” Him. Let us do likewise!

Let this be our comfort: though this earth is but dust in the crevice of God’s palm, He yet concerns Himself with our good.

David’s confession of a holy Creator comes within a Psalm of pleading for mercy. “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy,” (v.1). David’s cause to pray was that, amidst His holiness, God is nonetheless gracious: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (v.15). Let this be our comfort: though this earth is but dust in the crevice of God’s palm, He yet concerns Himself with our good. Let this be our great cause for prayer, as was David’s: though our frame be lowly in craft and drenched in the filth of sin, our Maker has patience for us still. Let us therefore come humbly and swiftly before His eternal throne. He made us, so there is nothing to surprise Him. He knows all and extends today the mercy of forgiveness. Amen.


Question: What is God?
Answer: God is the creator of everyone and everything.


[1]e.g. Mormonism (LDS) does not recognize such a distinction. There is a difference today between you and Father God, but in a future glory you have a chance to progress further and further into deity. Until one day you yourself will become a god inasmuch as God is Creator today. Mormonism dismantles the Creator/creation distinction further by interpreting “created” in Genesis 1 and elsewhere as meaning “organized.” God did not fashion the universe ex nihilo (“from nothing”), but rather tidied things up from already existent matter and energy.

[2]Ecclesiastes 5:2, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

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