Welcome to the first stop on our Grown-up Guide 1:1 Who is God? While the kids play on God for Kids app, you can be ready to engage with those grown-up questions and make your conversation a little more interesting.
Treasure or Trash?
In the first stop on the desert adventure – ‘Who is God?’ – kids put words into either a treasure chest or a rubbish bin. That’s because many people have lots to say about who God is and what God is like and some words are like nuggets of gold to be treasured but others belong in the trash. How can you tell the difference?
Firstly, in the Bible, in the book of Job, lots of things are said about God’s character by different people. This story was written thousands of years ago but it’s surprising how people’s reactions to bad events doesn’t change. Job suffered tragedy in his life and his friends tried to comfort him but ended up making him feel worse (sound familiar? Well-meaning friends who have never gone through what you are going through and can offer only clichés and platitudes as moral support?)
Based on Job’s personal tragedy, people around him made all kinds of assumptions about the character of God – does that also sound familiar? Job’s friends think they understand God but when God finally speaks into the situation this is what God says about Job’s friends:
“I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” (Job 42:7, NLT)
So it is possible to get it wrong sometimes. It is possible to have listened to the wrong friend or asked the wrong person for advice. Especially when we are going through something that they have not experienced. Sometimes we make assumptions about a person and those assumptions belong in the rubbish bin. They are not true! So how do you know who to ask?
Who s God? God is Famous
When someone is famous, you can find out all about them from a million different sources. The blogs, magazines, newspapers will all have an opinion and be more than willing to share it. But if you want to find out the truth you go to someone who doesn’t just know all about that person, but who knows them personally, like a family member or best friend. Better still, you get to know them for yourself.
It’s exactly the same with God. You can Google God and get every opinion possible on His character. You can read the opinion of people who talk about Him but don’t really know Him. You can listen to opinions of plenty who, like Job’s ‘friends’, have not spoken accurately about God.
But if you want to find out the truth, you go to someone who knows God personally. A member of the family of God perhaps, or someone who is a true friend of God. Just because they are a friend doesn’t mean they will put a biased, positive spin on God’s character – a true friend is someone who knows the truth about God – even the difficult truths that we sometimes find hard to understand.
Who are God’s friends?
Who do you know who is a friend of God? Can you think of lots of people? Or just one? Or none?
The Bible was written by friends of God. People who knew God personally – not just knew about Him. The Bible doesn’t offer just opinions about God, it offers life stories of those who knew God personally and saw His character play out in their lives.
Moses, who wrote down the first 5 books of the Bible, was described as a friend of God (Exodus 33:11). Check out this amazing Bible verse:
He [God] revealed His character to Moses and His deeds to the people of Israel. (Psalm 103:7)
Do you see the difference between how God revealed himself to his friend, Moses, and to the rest of the Israelites who were too scared to get close to God? (See Deuteronomy 5:23-31) The Israelite’s only got to see God’s deeds – they only saw the external stuff, what God did. Moses, God’s friend, got to know God personally. When Moses was invited to draw closer to God, he dared to say ‘Yes!’ As a result, Moses knew what God was really like. Deep down.
So what is God like? The very next verse is the one we use in God for Kids app: ‘Who is God?’ the first stop on the desert adventure:
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. (Psalm 103:8)
This verse is part of a song written by King David, someone who knew God personally and closely. David knew God was compassionate because he had experienced God’s compassion. He knew God was merciful because he had experienced God’s mercy. He knew God was slow to anger because he messed up many, many times in his life and only occasionally saw the righteous anger of God. He knew God was filled with unfailing love from the beginning of David’s life to the end, while many beautiful women and faithful friends had come and gone, God’s love for him never failed.
Who is God? Get to Know God
You can read about God from people who do not speak accurately about Him.
You can learn the truth about God by listening and reading what His friends have to say about Him. Real life friends you see regularly, or the friends of God who were inspired by God to write the books of the Bible.
Or, if you are not already, you can become a friend of God, and get to know God for yourself. It’s easy. You start with a prayer: “God, I’d like to know you better. Can we be friends? Please show me the way.”
Who is God? Collect a sticker
Congratulations! If we were playing the app you would now be presented with a maze and a be rewarded with a sticker to collect in your desert scene. Instead, why not treat yourself to a nice cup of tea? (or alternative beverage of choice…)