God's Character: What He is Really Like

Chapter 49 - Portrait of God #1

We're going to be talking this morning about God. About His nature, about getting a further glimpse of God as He really is. This song exposes the heart of God and His care for us. "I would love to tell you, what I think of Jesus, since I found in Him a fragrance strong and true. I would tell you how He changed my life completely; He did something that no other power could do. No one ever cared for me, like Jesus, there's no other Friend as kind as He, no one else could take the sin and darkness from me, oh how much He cares for me. Everyday, He comes to me with new assurance, more and more I understand His words of love. But I'll never know just why He came to save me, till that day I see His face in heaven above. No one ever cared for me, like Jesus, there's no other Friend as kind as He. No one else could take the sin and darkness from me. Oh how much He cares for me."


I'm going to have you turn to Psalm 23. There's something you're going to discover in this Psalm. I think my mother read the whole book of Psalm 100 times. I don't think you could ever wear out this beautiful portion of Scripture. In this Psalm David is giving us a little picture of his feeling about God. Do you know that, I don't believe there is another area that people have greater misconceptions then about God? There is such a wide variety of ideas that people might have if people were to try to describe to you about God. But David learned something about God. He learned that God was a very personal God. In this Psalm he just tells how God has come walking out of ivory palaces, He has come walking down from the farthest control room star of heaven down and has become someone that cares for him. He's a friend, so strong and true. I would like you to read the entire chapter, Psalm 23.


"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leads me beside still waters; He leads me beside green pastures. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Notice a little insight here that David had here regarding God. And that is the personal relationship. Now God doesn't mean to you as He wants to mean to you until you can say, "He's mine, He's my Shepherd," and then tell all the things that He does. I took out my pen and I drew little boxes around all of the personal pronouns here. You can't imagine just how many times David talked about himself there. Until you can talk about yourself and God in the same breathe, you still have a way to go. In fact we still have a way to go anyway. But we're a little short at what God intends. Do you know that in this tiny little chapter, there are a total of 17 personal pronouns?


I heard someone complaining one time about an individual giving a testimony and they said, "well all I hear is I, my, and it seems they are just relating it to themselves." It kind of made me feel like shouting Hallelujah. You can really testify when God does something for you personally. When it's something that is just hope so, it doesn't have the same punch. But it's pretty hard to pull something from someone that which they know as it relates to them. David discovered here that God is a true Wonderful Shepherd.


Now it's important that we learn to know God aright. We are living in the greatest days of all history. We're living in a day when God is moving by His Spirit. We're experiencing days of restoration. People are being restored back into fellowship with God. The mighty supernatural ministries that God Himself initiates are being seen in action again among His people. Happenings such as Moses experienced when he stood by the burning bush are taking place. Do you realize what happened in the case of Moses? Moses had a definite spot that God foreordained him for in His great plan and purpose.


God spoke to Abraham 700 years before and said your decedents are going down into the land of Egypt. And in Egypt they're going to be slaves for 400 years, and after that I'm going to bring them out with a strong hand. The fullness of time came. God said, "I have heard the groaning of those people in that land of slavery" and His clock that He had set, the alarm sounded and He said, "I have come down to deliver them." It was the fullness of time for their sojourn there in the land of Egypt. In this preparation, God had prepared Moses; He had spared Moses' life as a babe. Moses was out in the back country for 40 years, the call had been in his heart for 40 years he was out tending sheep. I wonder if God hasn't forgotten me. I want to do something for God so bad, and here I am, the only types of life I influence are these sheep. But in the fullness of time, Moses was doing what God had given him to do. God was not behind, He was not ahead, and when the fullness of time came, the time to deliver His people, He saw to it that His plan was carried out.


God met Moses at the burning bush. Moses saw the bush but it didn't burn up. God met him. It was a supernatural manifestation. Moses knew, he was convinced, Moses had to have this revelation of God's power or he could have never led the children of Israel out. He could have gone back down there and turn his back; Moses already felt he was kind of insecure. I heard when you live around a bunch of sheep you get kind of like that, when you talk to sheep like you would people. And then when you find people you talk to people like you would sheep and it doesn't look so good. So Moses said, "I can't talk," you remember the story. But because God was with him, God proved Himself; Moses was able to lead his people out.


But today God has made us another promise, He has told us in the fullness of time, Gabriel will pick up the trumpet and give a blast and God's people will be delivered from this world. Egypt is a type of this world. But in preparation for this hour, God is bringing men and women to the burning bush, they're seeing the fire. God is speaking to them. He says, "I have a job to do," people are saying well I'm unable, I'm not adequate, but God is saying, "I will be with you, I'll help you." Constantly people are telling me that God gave me a chance to witness and He was helping me to say the right words. This great renewal and awakening is coming because of the fullness of time. Jesus is coming back and God has His people out readying folk for that great evacuation from this earth. Praise God. God revealed Himself in a beautiful way to Moses. And in this day, in that day, those that God used before they could be used of God, God had to give them a revelation of Himself. Now there are a lot of people asking about spiritual gifts. And they're looking for a key to get their gifts into operation before they get a glimpse of God and see Him as He is. But God's order is, when we see Him these other things will fall into place. I thank God for this pattern that He has set. I've seen not only Moses with his experience, but Moses in Exodus 33 cried out to God, "Show me Thy glory." He wanted to see God more than he ever saw Him before. He would allow him to see this. God let him see what He was really like here.


God said, "I will make all of my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy." But some people said, "God you forgot to tell Moses that you're going to show him your wrath to. People are so concerned that when you start talking about what God is really like, you're going to make people reckless and turn away. That's nonsense; people can't really live to please Him until they see Him as He really is. He wants us to be God conscious and not sin conscious. They're used to be books printed all about the wrath of God. This is in the Bible, but the wrath of God is reserved for those who refuse to accept Him and walk with Him. I want you to know that every time God makes mention of Himself to His people, He's telling about His true nature.


In this message this morning on the portrait of God, I want you to see what God is really like. The love of God is one beautiful facet; it's like a flash from a diamond. And His righteousness, I don't want anyone to miss this message on God's righteousness. This is a part of His beautiful portrait. And then I will talk about His mercy, and then the faithfulness of God. And so He said, "I'll let My goodness pass before you and in the 34th chapter in verse five he tells us how the Lord met him. He said, "You can't see My face, but I want you to know that I'm going to stand right there beside you. I'm going to hide your eyes there so you can still live because I'm so bright in all of My glory that you couldn't look on Me and live but I want you to know that I'm going to stand right there with you. And I'm going to tell you what I'm really like.


So the Lord stood with him there and He proclaimed the name of the Lord. And then the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed the Lord. He's describing Himself now, "the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth." But again somebody said, isn't there somewhere there mentioned about God's wrath. People have it backwards. God says, "Here, here is what I'm like. But those who refuse Me, there is a dark side." And that is the wrath of God that would be meted out upon all those who refuse to serve Him and live for Him. But in His portrait of Himself that He gives to the world, and the door of hope that He opens up to people is not a door of fear into Himself, but it is a door to see God as He really is, how He wants to be your Shepherd. How He wants to lead and guide you, How He wants to feed you. And those pastures that are so green and let you drink there by the still waters, bring peace to your soul, and bring restoration to you.


See God is saying, "I want you, I'm interested in you. Those things that are important to you are important to Me." Not only did Moses have these experiences in seeing God as He really was, but in Isaiah chapter six he said, "I saw the Lord," I had a glimpse of Him. Isaiah had been a pretty good guy up to this point, but nothing really got a hold of him until he saw the Lord. And when he caught a glimpse of God, he said, "Oh what beauty, what glory," and he said I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among people who have unclean lips, because my eyes have seen the King.


If you want people to see the rottenness of sin let them get a glimpse of God as He is. He cried out, "Oh God what am I going to do?" God said you don't have to beg, you don't have to try to lift yourself to another level because there is nothing you can do. That awareness of seeing Me, and knowing your helplessness that there's nothing you can do is enough. He said Seraphim take a live coal from off the altar, touch this man's lips and carry a message and say that your iniquity is purged. Your iniquity is all taken away, forgiven. What brought it all about? His eyes caught a glimpse of God.


Paul caught a glimpse of God. Oh what a difference it made to him. He said he was caught up into the third heaven, "and I heard things that I couldn't describe, and I got a glimpse of Him and now I'm able to share it with you and tell you what God is like." I remember the disciples in John the 14th chapter and the 8th verse, they said, "show us the Father." Like these men of old when they caught a glimpse of God, and their whole ministry changed and their ability to help people was increased, God in this great renewal today is placing His hand upon people's lives. He's lifting their gaze; He's letting them behold Him in all of His fullness and glory. And in areas where the supernatural acts of God are being outpoured and being manifested, in every case that people have seen the Lord, their message is the same. God has been moved from that description, that page, where people are looking at Him totally wrong as though somehow they have to earn, or beg, or catch God in the right mood for Him to care for them.


After Moses had a chance to see God in all of His glory, God said, "Now let Me tell you what's going to happen. I'm going to do things so great and wonderful that you're going to stand back in awe and wonderment, because you have seen Me. I have had reports of people saying to me that they have had to stand back in awe and tell me this had to be God. I've had several come to me asking me if there was some kind of equation to get the supernatural in operation in their ministries. Once again people are looking for the thing without the vision of God. Just as it happened with Moses before the great evacuation took place, God is preparing people. He's putting a hunger in their heart and saying look to Me. Look to Me. And He's creating restlessness, and that hunger within hearts, and people are coming off of that 40 year stint in the dessert and God's bringing them to burning bushes. Glory to God. And the arm of God is moving. Can't thank God enough.


A lady, who only had one fourth of her brain working called me up and said, "I'm all healed, my mind is back!" This was after prayer and God's touch. It doesn't have to be a loud noise for the enemy to leave, he recognizes authority. He knows that I know what God is like! God let me see who He was, what He was really like, and He wants us to take a good look at God. Jesus said, "If you want to know what God is really like, take a good look at Me, my gentleness, my long-suffering, my peace. See how I love you and how I care for you. Praise God, Praise God.


Because Moses caught a glimpse of God, he described what God was like when he was talking to the children of Israel. Moses was describing what God is really like, and His love for them. He talked to all the 12 tribes here and told them something wonderful. And all these feelings that God had for them are for us to. He loved the people. All of His saints are in His hands. So what are you worrying about? You're in His hand because He's your Shepherd and He cares for you. And they sat down by His feet. He cares enough for you to say, "Hey, you're close; I want to be your personal God, your God." They sat down at His feet and they received His words. He turned his word here into the Living Word. In the 12th verse he's talking to the tribe of Benjamin, and he said, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long. And he shall dwell between His shoulders."


That place of strength, he's going to be taken care of by God, he's letting us know what God is like. He's giving us a picture, and when he says that He's going to cover him all the day long he's talking about His covering of righteousness over the top of you all day long and all night long. So that you can say to the devil when he comes to you, what a fine Christian you are, look what you thought, look what you may have said. You just kick him in the shins and tell him he's a big liar, that God's covering you all the day long, He's covering you. And as long as you want to live for God, there aren't enough devils in hell to pull you away from Him. It took a glimpse of God; Paul had this glimpse when he talked about it in the 8th chapter of Romans where he said that nothing shall ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ. You can get up and walk away if you want to, but who in the world would want to walk away from Him? Turn their back on Him? Some people do.


Then I would like you to notice His care there when He speaks to Asher, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass and as thy days so shall thy strength be. There is none like the God of Jeshereth, who rides upon the heavens in thy help." He's telling you that He cares enough about you that when you're in trouble He'll swoop clear across the heavens to help you. Praise God. "The eternal God is thy refuge, you have a place to hide, and underneath are those everlasting arms." If you say, "I just can't stand it and I'm going to fall." It's all right, you'll fall right into His arms, underneath are those everlasting arms. Then he said the enemy might press you on every side, but you feel that you know you're supposed to be strong enough to hook the enemy, but he said just in case you're not He shall thrust out the enemy from before you , and He shall say, "now he's on the run, get out there and destroy him." Praise God.


Then that 29th verse, "happy art Thou Israel, who is like unto thee, all people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, who is the sword of thy Excellency and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shall tread upon their high places. The strongholds of the enemy will have no chance, when you catch a vision of God and what He's really like. And the strongholds of the enemy are falling today around the world because people have caught a glimpse of how God is. Praise God. I have to mention Isaiah. 63:9. He saw a glimpse of how God was really like, and so now he could tell all the people that were afflicted, when we're hurting He hurts too. In all of our afflictions, He's afflicted too. But he said, He helps us during that time and carries us through.


Then in Isaiah 49, he said mothers might even have been known to have forgotten their kids, but God will never forget you. This God is such a great God, and He cares about you so much that He will totally remove all the records of sin on your life. He'll destroy them as far as the east is from the west. This is the God I saw. Paul caught a glimpse of Him to over their in Ephesians chapter 2, he tells us that we who were dead in sin, now were made alive, so we share His life. He brings His glory to us and so He's raised us up to sit in heavenly places with Him beholding His glory, so He shares His life. This great God shares His glory with us. And then he said, "The God that I discovered cared so much about us that He even let us in on His plan that in the ages to come He's going to show us His loving kindness. He's going to let us taste of that love throughout the ages to come. Oh Hallelujah! If you really want to know a clincher for the truth that is found in the other parts of the Bible ask Jesus about it, "Jesus what is God like, is He really a God of Love? Does He really care about people?"


In John 17:22-26, He said, "Father the glory which thou gave Me, I have given them that they might be one just as we are One. I in them, Thou in Me that they might be made perfect in one. And that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me. That the world may know that Thou hast loved them as Thou has loved Me." Jesus do you mean that God loves us as much as He loves You? Doesn't that make you feel good? God loves you just as much as He loves Jesus. In verse 26, "I have declared unto them Thy Name and will declare it, that the love that Thou hast loved Me may be in them. Hallelujah.


Ask God to give you a revelation of Himself and you'll see it's true. That one who leaned on His breast, someone asked John what is God like? John said God is love. And then the experience the Lord has given me, I feel honored, humbled, I don't understand why, but I'm thankful for it. People are catching a glimpse of God. The atmosphere in heaven is bursting with joy. And happiness! Praise God. And in each experience I have learned to know God a little bit better, and I have never been so relaxed around God since God told me, "Sit back and relax, you can't prove anything to Me anyway, I already know. You can't make an impression on Me, so you just as well, and I love you just the way you are." So I'm not going to sweat, I'm not going to make it hard for making Him to love me. If He loves me just the way I am, I'm just going to accept it. And I don't feel like I have to walk on tip toes around God, I don't feel like walking softly around Him because He's my God. He's a God that is ours, we can embrace Him. He's mine, He's mine, and when you can say He's mine, and He cares about me, Hallelujah, the devil isn't going to have a chance with you I want you to know that. Because the enemy will be destroyed. Hallelujah!


And as you catch a glimpse of God, you will never be the same again! What the world needs to see is Jesus! Just a glimpse of Him. When we catch a glimpse of You, we will also hear that message the earth is filled with Your glory. He's here, He's here. And all of these other things are made available when we first catch that glimpse, that vision of Him!