Monday, January 11, 2010

Him, Who? Part 1

As I have mentioned in a previous article, the term doxology refers to worship of God that is a response to God and is made up of God's attributes, characteristics, or behavior. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of articles called "Him, Who?" The purpose of this study is to point out moments throughout Scripture where God is praised using texts that magnify His attributes. Specifically, these texts have the form of naming God, either using the pronoun, "Him," or referring to Him by name, followed by a qualitative statement.

The first example of this format is found in Genesis 9:26. It says, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem." This one is a little more hidden than some of the other texts we will be studying, but it is just as important to understand. In the Old Testament, often these texts refer, as this one does, to a certain ownership that God's people have. It associates God with a person or people that God has made a covenant with. The importance of a statement such as this is, first, that God is a god who loves, provides for, and protects individuals. Unlike the false gods of the nations, who associate themselves with things outside of humanity like geography, natural phenomenon, or political forces, such as Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, or Molech, the god of the Ammonites, the Living God associates Himself with individual people. Secondly, He makes promises to His people, and His name is a testimony to the fact that He keeps those promises. To say that God is the God of Shem is to say that He keeps His promise to Noah to never strike down all of Noah's family. He actually says that He will not strike down the entirety of the creation again, but because of the salvation Noah's family received on the ark, the entirety of the human component of God's creation is Noah's family, and so it is a promise specific to Noah. Later, we will see that God will be called the God of the Israelites, because He promised to be their God, and that they would be His people. Lastly, God allows His name to be carried by people who are faithful to Him. We see this evident in the term we get from the book of Acts, "Christian." God has promised to always maintain a group of people that are faithful to Him, referred to throughout Scripture as a "remnant."

It is for these three reasons that we ought to worship the One True and Living God: that He loves us personally, keeps His promises, and will always keep us and never forsake us. And, by the Bible's example, we ought to point out in words that this is the case. Thanking and praising God for who He is and what He has done is the center of what we call worship.

- Mark Whitaker

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