What Is God Like?

December 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Exodus | 29 Comments
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And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exodus 3:13-14

Was Moses really concerned about what name he would give to God before the people? He told God, “They shall say to me, ‘What is His name.’ What shall I say unto them?” But God had already told him in Exodus 3:6: “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Moses had several questions – and several excuses – but what he was really asking is revealed partially by what he asked about himself in Exodus 3:11: “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Moses wanted to know, “Who am I? What am I like?” So, when he asked God, “What shall I tell them when they ask me Your name,” what he was really asking God was, “What are You like? How can I describe You? To what can I compare You? What are You really like?”

The Bible has many names for God: Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon, El Olam, Yahweh (YHWH), Yahweh Jireh, Yahweh Nissi, Yahweh Shalom, Yahweh Sabbaoth, Yahweh Maccaddeshcem, Yahweh Ro’I, Yahweh Tsidken, Yahweh Shammah, Yahweh Elohim Israel, Adonai, Theos, Kurios, Despotes, Father, just to name a few. God cannot be fully described by men as to Who He is, so we are given to know Him by what He does. There are many names that describe a part of what God is, but what people throughout Scripture have asked is, “God, what are You really like?”

Micah, Micaiah, Michal, Michael are all Bible names that ask the rhetorical question: “Who is like God?” This question points out the real problem with explaining what God is really like: As several well-known theologians and preachers have pointed out: There is no one and no thing to which to compare Him. I know we’ve all been told, as privileged people, that we’re “special,” but the fact is, as human beings, there are many, many ways in which we are all similar to each other. But God had to say “I AM” because He could point to no one outside of Himself and say, “He is like Me” or “She is like Me,” or “I am like that.” The truth is: He is like nothing else at all.

When we speak of the problem of making a comparison concerning God, we begin to understand the true concept of God’s holiness. Of all the attributes which make up the glory of God, His holiness may be the most significant – especially when it comes to trying to grasp at His true nature – what He is like. The angels near the throne of God do not cry out love, love, love, or righteous, righteous, righteous, or grace, grace, grace, or even mighty, mighty, mighty, although all of these would be true. What they cry out is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3). The name for God’s Spirit is not the Peace Spirit, or the Joy Spirit, or even the Faith Spirit, although He is a Spirit of peace, joy, and faith. His name is the Holy Spirit.

There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

I Samuel 2:2

For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Isaiah 43:3

God is holy because of His complete uniqueness, and because in Him is no sin. One of the reasons that, throughout Scripture, the holiness of God is so tied into the idea of sinlessness or freedom from sin, is that a sinful world’s most obvious difference between us and God is that we sin, and He does not.

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Exodus 15:11

God has no beginning and no end. He is all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign, timeless, providential. As one well-known preacher says, God is not like us, only wiser, or more powerful, or more righteous – He is not LIKE us at all!

God told Moses to tell the people that God is “I AM THAT I AM,” and for something like 1500 years people asked, “Who is like God?” Then, Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene – a sinless humble obeyer of God’s Word. Jesus is our best look at what God is really like. It was as if God answered and said, “You want to know who is like Me? He is like Me – now learn His ways, and follow Him – He will show you what I am really like” (Matthew 11:27).

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 1:17-18 (See John 14:7-10.)

Learning what God is really like will be an eternal undertaking – but while we are here on earth we must learn about the Father by walking with, talking with, emulating, worshipping, and magnifying His Son.

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  1. […] really have a “problem” with anyone. God is not a man – He’s not a human being like you or me – who sometimes gets into petty squabbles with other human beings. God loves you and wants to […]

  2. […] God is unending (eternal and infinite – unending and unbeginning). God is uncommon (truly unique). In John Chapter 6 Jesus had performed a miracle. He had made five loaves into enough bread to […]

  3. […] told Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” God is unexplainable. God is unending (eternal and infinite – “unending” and “unbeginning”). […]

  4. […] of Life, COPD, God's compassion, God's truthfulness, Jesus Christ, Micah 7, power, powerlessness Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He will […]

  5. […] that Doesn’t “Grate” – Part Two 6. The Great Trading-Post 7. What Is God Like? 8. Brain “Washing” Produces “Clean” Living (Part 1) 9. Brain […]

  6. […] that He might be a greater High Priest in His identification with our humanity, He is God and He is unlike us in His immutability. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the One True Certainty in a world full of […]

  7. […] He opened the eyes of the physically blind and the spiritually blind. Jesus showed us the true nature of […]

  8. […] And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were […]

  9. […] us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of […]

  10. […] God, His attributes are never at odds with each other. They simply flow from His divine nature in perfect sovereign […]

  11. […] us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of […]

  12. […] Pharaoh sometimes treated the discussions like a game of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Given the absolute holiness of God, we should know the absurdity of a pagan king trying to bargain or negotiate with Him. Only those […]

  13. […] even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that […]

  14. […] Old Testament prophet Micah’s name meant “Who is like God?” He was a contemporary of Isaiah, but he prophesied to the rural people in Judah, whereas Isaiah […]

  15. […] Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. […]

  16. […] Another obvious question is, “Why did just one sin affect the whole universe and the whole human race?” Here is where we can highlight the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God. […]

  17. […] (especially Hebrew poetry) – was used for emphasis. It was a way of extolling the true “holiness” of God. The answer was and is, “No one – and no thing – is like unto God in the […]

  18. […] The name of the Lord is more than just an identifier; it is the expression of Who He is and what He has commanded. “In Jesus’s name” must be more than the tag-line or the closing salutation on our prayers. It is a way of asking Jesus to intercede for us before the throne of God, of conforming our will to God’s will. The false belief that we can coerce the Lord into doing our will should not be comforting at all. Such a thought should be horrifying. However, trusting the Lord with my heartfelt desires is extremely reassuring. […]

  19. […] overwhelming holiness is too great for sinful human beings to look His unveiled presence without being supernaturally […]

  20. […] emptiness masquerading as fullness, and God’s name has great weight. It is empty of neither holiness, nor authority. Taking something “in vain” is ascribing negligible value to it. If […]

  21. […] of God’s glory is His Holiness. No one is like God. Here, He says that we should listen to and obey Christ because He is incarnate God. And when the […]

  22. […] “holiness.” It is a singular beauty, a one-of-a-kind, a unique beauty. There is, truly, none like Him. Even as His beauty attracts us, it is so foreign to us – so alien – so severe – […]

  23. […] my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from […]

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  25. Thanks brother. Enjoyed reading about God. I think you’ll enjoy these 5 lectures from James Dolezal: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAWiXw_kBp-z_O1_fJnHcTUrPrx1NCYff

  26. Thank you. I listened to the first one. Excellent! Hope to listen to more through my earphones while mowing grass this weekend.

  27. “Dr. James Dolezal: Divine Simplicity and the Grammar of Classical Christian Orthodoxy” (search on YouTube)
    Coincidentally, I’m currently reading Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, which covers much of the same material pertaining to the divine simplicity of God.

  28. […] Him,” says the Father of the Son. God’s two greatest revelations of Himself are Jesus’s incarnation and His […]

  29. […] in the history of the world – and a fulfilling one for those who seek to know God. The “who is like God” question from the Old Testament is finally answered, and light is shed on the mystery of the […]


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