Divine Character

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I once heard a message on the ‘Crisis of Character’. The idea of character as being defined by “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”
(Essentially, how you think and why you think as you do)

The focus on character (or lack of it) is being demonstrated in society everyday while the importance of growing in God’s character and what that looks like is slowly eroding and being forgotten.

Focusing a little closer on what God’s character looks like and how He demonstrates it through His works might give us a clue as to how we can live in such a way that brings Him honor.

How we Think

You can find examples of godly character on nearly every page of the Bible, the demonstration shown by men and women who were found faithful was a revelation of their heart and was demonstrated in how they lived their lives.

What is in the heart becomes what we dwell on and this gives us the opportunity to measure ourselves.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

True excellence is founded within the halls of God’s justice. The elements of godly character are not natural in our current state of sin, we must make a concerted effort to focus our attention away from darkness and toward God’s Holy light.

When Saul was found to be unfaithful God looked for a man after His own heart, He later found that in David.

1 Samuel 13:14 “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

Faithfulness, humility, boldness, and a desire to please God was evident in David’s life. If we desire to be regarded as David was, we need to discover where God’s heart dwells.

Godly Character

The examples that show what is important to God, such as obedience or love are found in His commandments. When people focus more on being good people rather than following after the Lord, they place themselves in a position that becomes difficult to sustain.

1 Samuel 15:22 “So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

Saul was more interested in performing what he thought was right rather than paying close attention to what God commanded. True love for the Lord is not found in forming your own sense of morality, it’s found in looking diligently into the Word of God and then striving to obey as God leads.

God is Good

If we were to take a portion of scripture, in this case, Ecclesiastes, and examine principles regarding God’s character we might gain insight from what we find.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”

We can see that wisdom, knowledge and joy are gifts to the one who understands how to walk in ‘goodness’. A good person is valued in God’s eyes. If goodness is a value God holds in high esteem, we can reason that His character reflects this measure godliness exhibited. If we want to show forth goodness, we must allow His Spirit to work in us.

God is Wise

Jeremiah 51:15 “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.”

Sometimes, we see certain values such as wisdom coupled with other aspects of His character, like understanding and power. Wisdom begins with recognizing God as preeminent, He is before all, in all, and works through all who walk in His wisdom.

Being wise is first knowing that God gives wisdom and so relying upon Him. As we walk in the wisdom He gives, we grow in knowledge and understanding.

God is Omniscient

Knowledge is also a value of God’s character He holds in high regard.

Daniel 2:21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.”

For those who desire to become more like God, the must seek Him for these gifts. God looks for leadership that is founded in the knowledge that He supplies. As people grow in wisdom, knowledge is supplied.

Colossians 2:2 “the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

God values this attribute in people so much so that He looks for those to whom He can give it, for those who seek it our Heavenly Father is pleased.

God is Joy

In the book of Nehemiah we are reminded of where true joy originates.

Nehemiah 8:10b Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord is another attribute of God’s character He loves to share with us. We see joy expressed in people whenever the Lord intervenes, whenever people walk in faithfulness before Him or remember His promises. The Psalms is a continual expression of joy, most of which is a songbook of God’s faithfulness.

As I look a little further in Ecclesiastes, I see reflections of the attributes of God’s character.

His beauty is expressed in chapter 4:11 also His eternal nature in the same verse.. His perfection is expressed in this same revelation and why He acts is consequently revealed….{that men should fear}. People don’t like the thought of fear, but consider it for the moment, if you stood before God with even the short list of attributes I’ve listed here, would you not stand in fear? Fear shows a respect or acknowledgement of His position and power, He doesn’t try to frighten people, but His character when revealed shows our position of sin and need of grace. Isaiah was allowed this experience of standing before God and his response was, “woe is me, for I am undone!” The prospect of standing before our judge and being found guilty should be a terrifying prospect.

God is Just

Ecclesiastes 3:15 “That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past”

I could reflect on this attribute of God’s character and the examples would be endless. The question remains: what should our response be to this knowledge of sin?

Ecclesiastes 5:1 “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.”

Prudence is reflected in a level of cautious understanding. Knowing how to approach the throne of God would do us well, our lives are at stake when we walk with this type of boldness. Verse 2 continues with what this cautiousness entails: Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.”

The good news? God is a God of mercy.

Daniel 9:9 “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.”

How has God’s mercy and love and forgiveness demonstrated?

At the Cross.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So if you want to have a character like God’s character, if you want to be pleasing in His sight and be found worthy to stand before Him when your day of reckoning comes, the first place to begin is accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. His sacrifice on the cross was made on behalf of all those who would receive Him. When you repent of your sin, He is then faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Jesus’ perfect character is made manifest in you when the Spirit of God fills your heart. Your heart begins to change because God is in it. You will be able to truly do ‘good’ as you walk in Him, then He will teach you how to reflect His character to the world and your light will shine.

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