12–18 April 2015.
What does it mean to be a god? In Taiwan we are surrounded by so many temples and so many gods. But the gods all seem to have different characteristics. So how do we actually define what a god is?
For many people, to be a god means having absolute power, to be able to control everything and order everyone around. People then try to mirror that in their own lives: to control others and tell everyone what to do! But do we really praise people who behave that way? Of course not! We do our best to avoid them, because they are a constant trouble to us!
In Psalm 97, we learn what it really means to be a god. In verse 2, we hear that God’s throne and reign is not based on self-centered power, but on righteousness and justice. Verse 8 tells us that it is God’s righteous judgements, his fairness, his justice, which are the reasons why we praise him. To be God means loving justice; and to be like God means doing the same.
People who stomp and shout and demand respect for their “power” are ridiculous; they can never be taken seriously! But in verses 2–6 we see that God’s amazing righteousness and justice cause the whole universe to shout out God’s majesty and glory. Compared to the awesome glory of God that shines through the amazing magnificence of the universe, and which overwhelms all creation, how pathetic and silly other little idols look!
Verse 10 tells us that God loves those who hate evil – after all, they have the same life goals as God. But this means that if fairness and justice and compassion are marks of God’s nature, then those who stand against God’s justice in this world, also stand against God. They live in darkness, and love to create darkness around them. But as for those who love justice, verse 11 promises us: they will live in the light!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis