Do you have a pet peeve? That one irritation, often outside of your control, that gets you every time. For some it’s grammar mistakes. For others it’s not putting the toilet seat down. For others it may be bad driving behavior on the roads. Whatever it is, we all have at least one.
For me, it’s not giving God His proper due – when The Lord God of the universe is referred to as “a” God. I have noticed it more and more in recent years, and it troubles me. At times it’s used in contexts such as “we serve a holy God” or a derivative like “the God we serve…” or “our God…” or even “praise to our God.”
Despite the best intentions of the speaker, the language suggests that the triune God of the Universe is just one among many viable options from which to choose, as though all are equal and we’re just glad that ours comes with certain attributes (as A. W. Tozer would say). To borrow a phrase from James: this should not be so, my brethren (James 3:10).
Oh, I understand the sentiment and the innocence of intent, still I cringe at the very thought. I want to stand up and shout, “He is not a god, He is The God! He is not a lord, He is The LORD.” It may seem like semantics, but God takes His name and His position seriously, and we should too. In fact, for millennia the nation of Israel wouldn’t even say or fully spell His name out of reverence.
God Himself makes it abundantly clear in Exodus 20:2 when He says, “I am the LORD your God.” He goes on to say that He will allow no counterfeit god (idol) beside Him. Similarly, in Isaiah 42:8 He declares, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (NIV, emphasis mine)
The sad truth is that polytheism is alive and well in our culture, even within the evangelical Christian church. People tend to serve other gods – their pride, stomachs, lusts (of the eyes and of the flesh), hobbies, sports, ideologies, and bank accounts – just to name a few. Yet unlike these idols, which receive their idol status from worship, the God of all creation is inherently God, whether we acknowledge Him in worship or not. His stature and status are not dependent on anyone or anything else.
He is not one among many. He is The GOD. He is the great I AM (Exodus 3:14). He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Apex being who created all things. He is the Alpha (the first) and the Omega (the last). He is the foundation of everything, and He will endure beyond time itself. There is none like Him. Nothing and no one compare to Him or even comes close.
As Christ-followers, when we pray, worship, or serve we are doing so unto the One and only true God. Everything else that we lift up alongside Him is a lie (Isaiah 44:20). Everything begins with Him and ends with Him. Everything in heaven and earth are His (1 Chronicles 29:11). And I happen to think our language ought to reflect it.
Possibly my favorite passage in all of Scripture is in the book of Revelation. I love the description of Jesus given in Revelation 19:
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but Himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[b] blood, and the name by which He is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Beloved, He will come again, and it will be a majestic and awesome sight. Because He is The King of kings and The Lord of lords. There is truly none beside Him.
Is He your Alpha and Omega, your first love and your last? Is He truly Lord of your life? This week, take time to really consider if He is a god in your life or The God of your life. It really does make all the difference in this world…and the next!
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