"Just Like You"
One of the great problems many non-believers have with faith in the Lord is that, by their estimation, the God described in the Bible and confessed by Christians today does not seem deserving of that faith. “If He is supposed to be the all-wise, all- loving ruler of the world, then He’s not doing a very good job of it,” seems to be the prevailing thought. The agnostic asks why there is suffering in the world. The atheist asks why people are punished with hell if God wants people to be saved. The secular humanist asks why people can’t just do what they want to do and be happy.
When these questions are meant as challenges to belief in the Creator, they are usually asked with ignorance (or denial) of one crucial, though basic, fact: God is not human. He sets standards that men may find difficult because it is His right to do so–He is God. He looks to eternity while most of humanity looks to the present ‘here-and-now’–He is God. He demands love, worship, respect, and awe, because He is a being greater than man in every conceivable way.
The Lord speaks while judging His people in Psalm 50. He describes His pleasure with the righteous, ‘His godly ones’ (v. 5), of whom He says, “I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me” (v. 15). However, His judgment comes upon the wicked, as well. As He concludes His speech to the ungodly, after listing the charges against them, Jehovah says, “These things you have done, and I kept silence; you thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you, and state the case in order before your eyes” (v. 21, emphasis added).
The mistake has been made for thousands of years– people excuse sin, find fault with God, and lead themselves down a well-worn path to destruction because they believe an untruth: ‘God is just like me’. It becomes more difficult to love God, because very few people would love a man who is responsible for death and pain (humanity’s first and greater responsibility in this regard is conveniently ignored). Worship becomes unnecessary, because only a fool worships a man. Respect, awe, and reverence are thrown out the window– since this is a man whom I’ve never seen nor met, why would I show honor? Repentance and obedience fall by the wayside, and judgment is laughed off; we assume that, like any other man, God can be bartered with, forestalled, cajoled, or hoodwinked.
Of course, the foolishness in these decisions lies in the point we’ve already observed–these things are necessary because God is not a man, He is God. However, we must also realize that His position as one so far beyond ourselves is a blessing, something to be grateful for and cherish. God does not make uninformed, unjust decisions when weighing and judging us–He will choose that which is utterly right when deciding our fate. He does not speak rashly, say things He does not mean, say things which are untrue or untrustworthy. He is not prone to fits of selfishness and unhelpfulness–He always has our ultimate best interest in mind. He cannot be overburdened, faced with too many problems to help tackle our most minor concerns. He does not gossip about our lowest moments to others; He is not envious of our greatest triumphs. He does not encourage recklessness and foolishness–He will never get us into an even deeper mess than the one we may currently find ourselves in. He never hides from those looking for Him, never turns away from a true gesture of love, never ceases to care. If God “was just like you”, how hopelessly lost would you be!
Let us be sure that we strive to see our Lord as He truly is. He is a God of inscrutable judgments and unfathomable ways, with wisdom beyond comprehension (Romans 11:33). He is high above the lowly state of man (Isaiah 55:9), yet He was willing to make the long journey below for the sake of such limited creatures as ourselves. God is not just like us–be thankful for it!