“I Am”: How We Make God in Our Image … and How to Know Who He Really Is

Photo by cocoparisienne

From Rachel: I am kicking off 2019 with three months of rest and seeking God … so I am reposting favorites from the blog. Enjoy!

When the children of Israel came out of the desert and God made a covenant with them, his very first two commands were these: You shall have no other gods before me, and you shall make for yourself no graven image — no idols.

The interesting thing is that they weren’t in all that much danger of making graven images of other gods — they were in danger of making one of Yahweh. When Aaron made the calf, he said, “This is Yawheh, your god who brought you out of Egypt.” When Moses made the bronze serpent and lifted it in the wilderness, the people a few hundred years later started worshiping it, and Hezekiah had to destroy it.

Photo by Internet Archive Book ImagesWe do this too.

We take the materials of our lives, our experience, and our broken sinfulness, and we use them to construct an image of God.

So if we are harsh and unforgiving, we think God is harsh and unforgiving.

If we are legalists, God is a legalist.

If our parents were too busy for us, God is too busy for us.

If our husband walked out on us, or nobody ever wanted us, we think God will abandon us or never want us in the first place.

We think God is a workaholic who would like to work us into the grave. We think he’s stingy and penny-pinching.

If we’ve experienced a lot of control and manipulation, then God’s “love” is a code word for control and manipulation. Just a side note here: if you really love the Lord and you seek to obey him, do you think God wants your loyalty and love, even in your imperfections, or do you think he wants your puppet strings so he can jerk you around and you’ll never make a mistake?

We hold on to many of these beliefs even after we become believers. I speak as one who knows. We think God is an egomaniac, he’s selfish, he’s controlling, he’s abusive.

He’s still our only way to be saved and we know he’s the best thing in the universe, so we love him and we try hard to surrender and be good Christians.

But I’ll tell you this: God would rather we got rid of our graven images and got to know him as he really is.

That’s why I asked, in my last post: Do we know who our king is?

Do we really know him? Do we know why he came — his mission and ours? Do we know what he’s really like?

When Moses asked God for his name, he told him, “I AM THAT I AM.” (The word is transliterated “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”)

The name is a riddle. A mystery.

In John 17:6, Jesus said:

“I have revealed Your name
to the men you gave Me.” (HCSB)

Jesus has unlocked the riddle.

That’s why he could tell Philip, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Jesus has revealed the name. That’s why the gospel of John is full of “I am” statements.

Do we know God this way?

“I am the Good Shepherd.”
“I am the Bread of Life . . . I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the Vine.”
“I am the door.”

My deepest desire is to know the answers to the riddle of the Name myself. I want to know Jesus the way he really is.

The thing that really moves me, though — that makes me tremble and get all teary-eyed?

That Jesus is so much better than I would make him.

In my life, and in yours, may the graven images crumble before the Great I Am.



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One response to ““I Am”: How We Make God in Our Image … and How to Know Who He Really Is”

  1. Ritchie Avatar

    Thank you

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