Tuesday, January 19, 2016

God in the Old Testament

Thought I would gather my thoughts here on the attributes of God in the OT.

1. YHWH is the God of Israel.
  • "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exod. 3:6).
  • "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am." He said further, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I am has sent me to you'" (Exod. 3:13-14)
  • "I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (אֵל שַׁדָּי), but by my name YHWH I did not make myself known to them" (Exod. 6:2-3).
  • "I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Deut. 5:9-10).
  • YHWH is thus a God of the covenant. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me" (Deut. 5:6-7).
2. Other names for God
  • "God Most High" - El Elyon (Gen. 14:18 - אֵל עֶלְיֹֽון)
  • Psalm 82 in particular is of interest.
3. "Creeds" of Israel
  • "Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deut. 6:4-5).
  • "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love" (Exod. 34:6; Ps. 103:8, 145:8; Jon. 4:2).
4. Anthropomorphisms
  • the physicality of God: "You cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live... I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen" (33:20, 22-23).
  • smoke from God's nostrils (Ps. 18:8), anger as nose burning (e.g., Num. 11:10)
  • God's emotions - anger, changing his mind (Gen. 6:6 ; Jon. 4:2)
5. God is holy
  • "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa. 6:3).
  • "I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44).
6. God's power
  • "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (Gen. 18:14)
  • "Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle" (Ps. 24:8).
  • "The LORD of armies" (e.g., 1 Sam. 1:3)
7. God's knowledge
  • "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely" (Ps. 139:2-4).
  • "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done" (Isa. 46:9-10).
8. God's presence
  • "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there" (Ps. 139:7-8).
  • Also, God appears through intermediaries: Jacob wrestles with God face to face (Gen. 32:30). The "angel of the LORD" appears to Moses at the burning bush (Exod. 3:2).

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