Who is your god?
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Ex 3:13-15)
The Israelites had been in slavery in Egypt for four hundred or so years, and the suffering became unbearable. God listened to their outcry and chose a man named Moses to fulfil what He had promised to them. From the moment Moses was born, he was protected and led by God not only to survive but even grew up in the king’s palace. During that time, he was given the highest education. Nevertheless, since such an upbringing was not enough to prepare him, he was led again by God and was brought out of the palace to live a completely different life as a shepherd for forty years. For the first forty years of his life, he was at the heights of knowledge and power. But for the next forty years, he learned humility and gentleness.
He was originally a man with a temper that he struck and killed a man. But over those forty years, he changed exceedingly that God even said of Moses that he was very humble, more than all men on the face of the earth. And that’s when God began to use him. So God appeared to him to tell him to go back to Egypt and tell his people about God’s will, for it was time for them to come out of there. However, the problem was that the Israelites had long forgotten about God’s promise even though God did not. They remembered it only vaguely, and even then, only a few of them probably. Most of them forgot. Some people wouldn’t have known that there is Jehovah (although the name Jehovah had not yet been revealed) who made a promise to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Only the leaders of the people would’ve remembered it only vaguely.
Thus, when Moses was told to go to the people to let them know that a god appeared to him to bring them out, the first thing that came to mind was that the people would ask which god had sent him to them. Because this world is full of gods, not just one. Although we in the present time know that this god is the omniscient and omnipotent, one and only God, back in those days, every tribe in every nation worshiped their own gods, unlike modern society. Each tribe had their own god. Hence there were countless gods. So which of them sent you to us, the people would probably ask Moses. They didn’t have the Bible to know God either. So, Moses was concerned that if he goes and tells the people to come out of Egypt, the people would ask him about this god and how he has anything to do with them. So, Moses asked God, “What should I answer them if they ask me this?”
For us today, this may seem like an awkward question to ask. But think about it as an unbeliever who doesn’t have faith. Let’s suppose that we are unbelievers, and let’s ask this question. You’re an unbeliever, so you don’t have to believe in God, and nobody is forcing you to believe. But this god appears to you and says he will lead you and your people. So, while there are many other gods in the world, you need to decide whether or not you will follow this god. Yet you have to know who this god is that wants to be with you because the people will ask you, and you will have to give them an answer. So that’s why Moses asked God.
And through the angel of Jehovah, God answered him saying, “I AM THAT I AM”. This was the first answer God gave. I am that I am. To say, “I AM THAT I AM,” is the same as to be eternal. Only He who is eternal can exist on His own, and only He who is self-existent can be eternal. Hence the Chinese translation says, “I am who I am, and who is eternal”. The self-existent god. That means He is unique, unlike any other gods in the world. For all the gods in the world are created, but only He is self-existent. Thus, it is probable that all the other gods were created by Him.
So this is the God who sent you. Who is He? The One who appeared to your forefather Abraham 400 years ago and to Isaac and Jacob. He didn’t reveal His name to any of them but only showed that He is the almighty God. But now He revealed that He is the self-existent God who has been from eternity past. So as Moses went there, he now had something to say to them as he tries dealing with them to persuade them. “Do you want to come out?” “Why should we leave?” “A certain God tells you to leave”. “Who is this God?” “He is the self-existent God.” Thus, whoever does not want to be with the self-existing God doesn’t have to leave. Nobody is being forced. If anyone wants to be the people of the self-existing God, they can come. So, the people are being told to make their own decision.
Hence, God never brought them out forcibly. He told them that if they want to be with Him and leave Egypt, then they need to brush blood over the doors of the houses. However, if they don’t want to, they don’t have to. God never forced them to do anything. Some people say, “I can’t believe. I just can’t believe”. Then God does not force that person that they have to believe. If they say they can’t, God says, “It’s your choice.” So, whether the people want to follow this god or that god is up to them. God first speaks of what He will do if people do choose to follow him. So that they may know first and make a decision on whether or not to follow Him. He doesn’t demand that they follow Him without first letting them know.
For example, there are many items at the department store. You know what you want to buy, but when you’re at the store, you want to also buy something else. What do you do then? Your mother told you to buy that particular item. But I want to buy the other item. There’s no need to think hard. If that’s what you want to buy, you buy it. And even if there was something else you wanted to buy, whatever you actually buy in the end will become yours, not the other item that you were thinking about. Whatever you chose to pay for and buy becomes yours.
Thus, God revealed Himself to us to such an extent that we may know Him, find Him and choose Him. If we don’t know who God is and welcome any god to come to us, then we don’t know which of the countless gods in the world may approach us. That is why we have to know for sure. So when we are praying, we shouldn’t call out thoughtlessly, “Lord, Lord!” without even knowing who the Lord is. For if we pray in that way, another god might come into us saying, “Was it me that you sought for as your lord?” I once cast out a particular demon, and when I asked when it came into the person, the demon said it came in when the person was praying. When we are praying, we have to know who we are praying to. If we say without thought, “Come into me! Come to me!” we don’t know what might come into us. That is why even shamans say, “Ah, he has come!” They say that something/someone came upon them. But who is that someone? We have to know who that god is. We have to make a choice.
One day, a brother visited us here at the Chinese church on a weekday. It was a Tuesday and raining that day. I asked him, “What brought you here?” and he said, “He told me to come.” “Who’s he?” And he said it’s someone that always talks to him and he always listens to that voice. So I asked, since when was “he” with you? Since he was a little boy, he’s been talking with that voice. But from what he was telling me, that someone was very different from the One I know. So I explained to him. I explained to him about the One (God) that I know. And then I told him we have to drive out that being from him, but he didn’t want to. I asked why, and he said, “He is so good to me”.
“What good does he do to you?” I asked. “He always talks to me when I’m lonely, and sometimes when I do what he tells me to do, things turn out well. And even today, he told me to come here, and I came because I thought something good will happen”. So I said, “I don’t know how he told you to come here, but I’m going to drive him out”. And when I commanded, that being manifested. The demon manifested and was frantic and raving mad. The person stood up, but it was not because the demon had left. He was completely out of his mind. It was like he was mentally insane. Normally when the demon manifests, the person remembers what the demon said. But this person couldn’t remember. He didn’t know why he was there. He couldn’t remember what he said a moment ago.
So he couldn’t remember what happened when the demon manifested. His own personality and the demon’s were all entangled together. So that while we were just talking, suddenly, the demon would manifest and then become frantic. The demon said it came into him when he was just a baby in his mother’s womb. Before the man was even born, the demon had come into him and lived with him ever since. So it was clear that even if I drove out the demon from him, he couldn’t be separated from it. So I told him, “You need to choose. The God I know that I want to tell you about is the self-existing God who is from eternity past, but this being that is with you is a created god. Now, which of them do you want to choose? The latter will be thrown into the Abyss soon, but the former is going to take us to heaven. You have to choose.” But that man couldn’t choose. In the end, he went away like that. He came to our church sometimes and sometimes didn’t. In the end, he didn’t come anymore. He couldn’t decide.
He knew the difference between the god that he had been worshipping and the God I introduced to him. And yet he couldn’t choose. He just liked the way he was. You can’t do anything about such a person. We clearly know our God whom we worship. How did I explain to that man about my God? I said many things, but ultimately what I said was that God is the self-existing God from the eternity past. Is that a perfect explanation? No, it’s not. That doesn’t mean that I can give him the faith that will save him. All the people that were under the Law, under Moses, had this faith – that God is the self-existing One. But they were not saved by that faith. Even the Muslims believe that God is self-existing. But are they saved? No, they can’t be saved by believing only that. So what must we believe? Who is your God?
Let’s say that somebody asked you: “You seem to have a very close relationship with your God. Can you tell me who your God is?” Then what would you answer? You don’t have to say much. (God who has blood). Ah, God, who has blood. Yes, you’ve learned a lot. That’s right. That’s what the overseer taught us yesterday. What else? (Jesus). Yes, just say the name. Jesus. How are we going to introduce our God? His name is Jesus. That would be enough.
Let’s read Galatians 1. Galatians 1:1. “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)”. Who is God? The God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That is our God. God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Why did He raise Jesus from the dead? The Father of Jesus. Our God. You could say, “The Father of Jesus is our God”. Or you could say, “the God who raised Jesus from the dead”. There is only one God who has done that. The God who testified to Jesus, the God who was with Jesus, is the God whom we believe.
Who is your God? Jesus. But if we just say His name without saying who He is, it can be quite abstract. We are living in the real world, so we need to be more specific. “You know the man Jesus? Did He not die? But people testify that He was raised to life. You may not have seen Him, but the God whom we believe in is the God who raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead”. That is what Paul said. In the Old Testament times, they couldn’t say anything more but that God is the Almighty. Or they said, “He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. But now, we can say it concisely with just a few words. Because His identity is clear to us: God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Hence, He is the God who will also raise anyone that is united with Jesus. So He is the One who saved us. God, who was with Jesus, is also with us. Now the question is, do you want to be with this God or not? God, who raised Jesus from the dead, will also give you life. Do you want a relationship with God or not? If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. If you want, then be baptized and be united with Him and live with Him. Receive the Holy Spirit. That’s it. What do you want to do? Do you want to follow Him and come out of Egypt or not? Whoever wants to come out would have to put blood on their door; whoever doesn’t want to would stay. No one is forced. They can stay and live with the gods in Egypt. But on the day when all the gods are destroyed, they would perish with them.
I actually think of it this way too. Our God is truly good, but everyone has a different notion of what is good. Thus, some people may not think our God is good. Some may even say that our God is vile and cruel. That’s fine. Because I am still going to live with Him. Why? Because I want to live. Even if they say He is evil, that’s fine. Even if He is so evil that he destroys every god, that’s fine. I want to stick with the strongest God. Only then I can live. The most powerful God; the almighty God; the God who will judge all things – I will be with Him. What would you do? We should stand on His side. Actually, He is not an evil God. When I read the Bible, I find that this Almighty God is actually the most humble God, there is no other god so good as Him and no other god so full of compassion as Him.
If anyone has not yet found this God, he has read the Bible all wrong and misunderstands Him. Those misunderstandings need to be cleared up quickly. This God is the Almighty God, the One who will judge all things. Yet in this world, there is no god as humble as Him, let alone no human being as humble as Him. He is indeed humble. He is so kind, full of compassion and love. Do you want to live with this God or not? Do you want to come out of there or not? Yes, I want to come. So the people left Egypt at that time. They didn’t have all of this revealed to them but only ten miracles by which they came to know the power of this God. But for us now, we know Him, and it is not out of fear that we worship but because we love Him.
If anyone is still in fear, he does not know this God yet. You need to know Him. My people are perishing because of their ignorance. Press on to know Him. Let us know Him. Let us press on to know Him. If you don’t know and thus misunderstand Him, you must know Him and receive life. If you don’t know, you will perish. Eternal life is this: that you know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Jesus Christ came that we may have life and that in fullness. So we need to know Him more. Any misunderstandings we have need to be cleared up so we may know Him better. He came to the people of Israel 430 years later, even when they all forgot about Him. Likewise, even when we forget, He remembers us and will surely keep the promises He made. Let’s pray and ask for help to know God deeper.
God our Father, when we didn’t know what god was in this world and were living in fear, You came to us first, met with us, and have been with us. Thank You, God. We now know that You are truly all-powerful, living from eternity past, and full of love, grace, and mercy. Since we have received such great grace even when we didn’t know You, we give you thanks and praise. Let none of us fall away from You by misunderstanding You, God. Instead, help us to know God deeper, love God deeper, and be devoted to God even more. Almighty God, be with us and give us power and courage. We do not have the courage to do these many works with our own strength, but God our Father, give us the power that we may carry out these works. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center