The Character of God in the Old Testament

The Character of God in the Old Testament

Eternal, good, gracious, loving, merciful, wise, holy, immutable, just, righteous, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent are just a few of the attributes of God. When we speak of God’s attributes we are talking about those characteristics that help us understand who God truly is. It is noteworthy that those biblical characters who were greatly used by God had a burning desire to know Him. David said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple” (Ps. 27:4).

For David, knowing God was a priority and it should be the same for us. In the book of Daniel we learn that those who know God “shall be strong, and do exploits” (great things) (Dan. 11:32). Let me mention just a few attributes that can help us come to know God better.

The Wisdom of God

While Job was enduring grievous afflictions that made no sense to him at all, he was willing to admit that with God “is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). When wisdom is applied to God it describes His mental excellence in its greatest sense. Wisdom, which is an awareness and understanding of facts, is more comprehensive and far-reaching than knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to adapt to those facts to bring about a desired end or purpose.

The creation of this universe was an expression of God’s Wisdom (ps. 104:24). God sending His Son to be the remedy for sin is an expression of His wisdom (1 Cor. 1:23- 24; 1 Tim. 1:15; Col. 2:3). God’s plan of redemption is yet another expression of His divine wisdom.

Paul wrote that God “abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” in carrying out His eternal plan to save us (Eph. 1:8). He knows all the facts and he knows how to use them, not just to attain results, but to attain perfect results. God’s wisdom has provided us a world in which to live, a redeeming Savior, and a spiritual body in which we can grow.

The Goodness of God

Behind the vastness of this universe stands a God who cares about what He has made. God is not indifferent or absent but rather He is fully invested for the good of the universe because He is good. Even the ungrateful and the wicked benefit from the goodness of God and should be led to repentance by it (Ps. 33:5, 145:9; Matt. 6:45; Rom. 2:4). While God is good to the unsaved His goodness is even greater toward those who fear Him. David said, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Ps. 31:19)

God promises His people, “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11). His goodness can be seen in many ways: eternal life (Rom. 6:23), immediate access to His throne through Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:16), answering our prayers (1Pet. 3:12), giving us His word which provides everything we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), and even His discipline is evidence of His goodness (Heb. 12:6-15). Many have a tendency to take God’s goodness for granted, but those who know Him personally praise Him and thank Him for His goodness (Ps. 100:4-5). If you are saved, give thanks to the Lord for he is good! If you are lost heed the exhortation of the Psalmist, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Ps. 34:8).

The Grace of God

In Exodus 34:1-10 Moses ascended to Mt. Sinai to present himself before the Lord. The Lord spoke to Moses about Himself saying, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” The Hebrew word “gracious” comes from a root word which means “to bend or stoop.”

When God declared Himself to be gracious, He was explaining to Moses exactly what He is like and defining the very essence of His being. God is willing to reach down with affection to people who can never deserve it! He is willing to do good things freely and unconditionally. Because God is gracious He is willing to forgive guilty people of their sins and deliver them from the punishment they deserve when they are totally unworthy of such kindness. The New Testament proclaims the same truth declaring God to be “the God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10). When we acquaint ourselves with the God of all grace we will learn that God provides grace for salvation (2 Cor. 8:9; Titus 2:11), sanctification (Acts 20:32), service (1 Cor. 15:8-10), suffering (2 Cor. 12:9-10), and that God’s grace is available for our every need. It is a blessed thing for mankind to behold the “manifold” or “many -colored” grace of God (1 Pt. 4:10). Someone once said, for every shade of human need God has a matching shade of divine grace. If we are blue with despondency, yellow with fear, encountering the blackness of pain, the redness of anger or the greenness of envy, God’s manycolored grace is sufficient to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

These are just a few of our magnificent God’s attributes. Let me encourage you to get to know God’s character by continuing to study His word, diligently looking for those unique characteristics of God that can help you better know Him and better serve Him. May it be your life’s ambition to know God!

-Clay Bond

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