Cogitation VII: God’s Psychological Profile

If you want to relate with God, be close to him, it’s important you understand how he thinks, how he processes stuff. He’s quite different from us. He’s very unique. The average human is more or less defined by just one thing. Not God. He’s defined by four powerful things. Those four things operate as principles. They are intellect, power, trust quotient and love. The combination of the four definitive factors are encapsulated into a technical and stylistic container phrase called “righteousness.” Everything God does is righteous, both in material form, as well as stylistically. In Britain for example the Queen has “Royal Mail.” Were God to name his postal service he’d probably call it “Righteous Mail.”

The first factor we come across concerning God in the scriptures is his intelligence – all that science stuff in Genesis. He not only conceptualised creation, he manufactured creation. That required original science. The power of God is the underpinning of his sovereign authority. He delegated governmental authority to Adam in Genesis. Genesis 1:26. The first few chapters of Genesis are the interplay of man’s delegated authority vis-à-vis God’s sovereign authority. And we see it play out in the saga of the Tower of Babel. Meaning God has over-arching political authority over mankind. By the time we meet Abraham however we see the other two factors that define God come into play. We see trust and love come into play. God liked Abraham. They were friends. James 2:23. He shared intimacies with him, including his political agenda. He confided to him about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah for example. Trust was the defining factor between Abraham and God.
Not only did Abraham put extreme trust in God’s word, he staked his son’s life on implied promises and God’s power. When God asked him to sacrifice his heir, Isaac, Abraham complied believing God would raise him from the dead. God stopped the sacrifice but we can see this was a relationship of extreme trust and confidence. Rumour has it that because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his heir God reciprocated by sacrificing his own heir, Jesus Christ. Talk of mutuality! Because of their closeness God chose to save the descendants of Abraham over angels. Hebrews 2:16. God has long memory and he values friendship a lot. He’s extremely loyal to his friends. The technical term for that trust quotient is “faith.” But the way we use the word it’s almost lost meaning. It’s not personal, and faith has to be personal. It’s about trusting another person intimately.
God values trust. It means a lot to him for someone to trust him. It’s affirming for him. He rises to his creative best when there’s trust. But he takes great exception to distrust. He considers it an affront. If you want to rile God doubt his promises. Distrust perplexes him. It’s like doubting his capability and character. The problem God had with those pesky Israelites in the wilderness was the fact they didn’t trust him. Psalm 95:10. And when God talks about trust he’s talking blind trust. He’s that kind of person who expects you to trust him as he drives at 200km/hr blindfolded. Faith is simply about trust – being able to trust God in everyday situations. God values that highly. Blind trust, no second-guessing.
Getting into God’s mind is not easy. You can’t process him the way you process humans. He’s already told us, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” Isaiah 55:8. God has an insanely high IQ, far, far beyond human capacity. He said to us, “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” Isaiah 55:9 MSG‬. God is very cerebral. His IQ is off the charts. He’s very fond of long range strategic plays. He can plan thousands of years in advance. The incarnation of Jesus was a detailed 4000 year master plan.
Words mean a lot to God. And not just as per integrity and all that. We see words as a means of communication but God uses words as technology. Remember that statement he made, about his words not coming back empty handed… They must accomplish their programmed purposes: “They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” Isaiah 55:8‭-‬11 MSG. Words are technology to God. We can actually deduce from Isaiah 55:8-11 that God’s primary weapon is “word.” It’s his most critical technology. “Word” is God’s creative program. He named Jesus “Word” because he’s the creative agency of the Godhead. “For by him were all things created…” Colossians 1:16. ‬‬‬
Now, here’s the thing about God. He hates oppression. Every time the Israelites came under an oppressive regime he sent a political deliverer. In the Old Testament they were officially known as “Judges.” Othniel delivered the Israelites from eight years of Mesopotamian oppression. Ehud delivered them from 18 year of oppression under the Moabites, Ammonites and Amalakites. Deborah and Barak delivered them from the 20 year oppression of the Canaanites. Gideon delivered them from 7 year oppression of the Midianites. Jephtah delivered them from the 18 year oppression of the Ammonites. Samson delivered them from the 40 year oppression of the Philistines. The Israelites were politically subjugated for over 541 years! But the uber-deliverer was Moses. He led the first liberation movement. That was a tough job. The Israelites had been slaves for 430 years. Their mental conditioning did not brook deliverance. Slavery was generational. The other celebrity deliverer was Samson. His demise was as dramatic as his controversial lifestyle. But he took out the hierarchy of the Philistines, beheaded the political headship in one fell swoop. Samson had married a spy. He was a classic case of sleeping with the enemy. Delilah was “the spy who loved me.” It conflated Samson but she was clear-headed. In the end her loyalty was to her country, not Samson. She did him in.
We see the trend of God fighting for the underdog in Jesus. He couldn’t stand the politicians – Pharisees in particular. They were insufferable and exploitative. Not to mention hypocritical. Jesus rained invectives on them, called them “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind fools”… “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.” “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance!… Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? What about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting!… What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise.” Matthew 23:13‭, ‬15‭-‬22 MSG‬‬. ‬‬‬‬‬‬
Here’s another thing about God: he’s incredibly disciplined. For someone with that kind of power God is pretty controlled and disciplined. Take the case of Cain. Here was a guy who killed his own brother in the first murder and fratricide on Earth, and he was defiant and unrepentant. He was absolutely insolent. The hothead asked God if he was his brother’s keeper at his murder trial. Only an incredibly controlled God could have restrained himself from swiping Cain out of existence. He indulged his stupidity, even granted him a plea deal. And that’s the other thing about God. He’s incredibly indulgent. He understands human folly. “For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalms 103:14 NLT. He makes room for tolerance. God tends to give a long rope. A very long rope. He illustrates his tolerance for human excesses with volumetric expressions. For example in Genesis 15:16, he spoke about the cup of the Amorites not being full.
Personal covenants mean a lot to God. He treats covenants as living agreements. Long after Abraham was gone God kept honouring their agreement with his descendants. God would fulfil the promise made to David for a perpetual heir on his throne with the investiture of Jesus. He’s a living heir. David is Jesus’ ancestor after the flesh. That was the point of the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-16. Though he largely works in an understated manner God can be fond of the dramatic. He parted the Red Sea. He descended on Mount Sinai in a convoy of nature. He brought water out of the rock. Talk of show business. Exodus 14, 19, 17:1-6. God is amazingly technology obsessed. Before we invented virtual corridors for planes he created a virtual corridor in the Red Sea for the Israelites. In Psalm 77:19 David spoke about a pathway through the sea no one knew was there.
God likes people fessing up. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. Nothing shocks him anyway. You do wrong, just fess up; he’ll forgive. “If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins make a clean breast of them – he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:8‭-‬10 MSG‬. John further wrote: “If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.” 1 John 1:8‭-‬10 MSG‬. David knew how to fess up and ask God for forgiveness. He knew how to get God: “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.” Psalms 51:1‭-‬6 NLT‬. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
It’s dangerous to get on the wrong side of God however. As Paul wrote, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31 NLT. But God is essentially a loving person. When it comes to humanity he takes reckless risk in love. He murdered his own Son for us, banking on an unproven technological innovation called resurrection. Lazarus was a test run. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NLT‬. ‬‬‬
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
© Leke Alder |