I recommend that you read the accompanying article on ‘Heaven’s Response to your prayers’ with this one.
What is God like?
What type of God is He?
The Character of God is one of the most amazing and rewarding Bible studies there is. Coming to the place where you know Him for who He is and clearly understand His character will strengthen your faith in Him incredibly.
Many of the questions and uncertainties people have about God and His Word come down to not understanding HIM and His character, not understanding the type of God He is.
If there is anyone who has been misunderstood and misrepresented, it is God!
He has been accused of all kinds of things. Some of the wildest and most outrageous claims have been made about Him and what He does. He has been blamed for endless tragedies and suffering.
It seems like whenever people don’t understand ‘the reason’ for something, they just ‘blame it all on God’. Whenever people’s prayers don’t get answered, ‘well it must be because God has a reason…’
Has anyone stopped to think there may be other factors and other reasons?
People don’t like to consider things like that, it upsets their ‘comfortable theology’ of blaming God for everything. It is a lot easier to point fingers at God than to face the truth.
The problem with that though is that you can blame God all you want, that doesn’t mean He IS to blame. Just because WE point fingers at God doesn’t mean it IS His fault.
I learned a wonderful truth many years ago that has really helped me in this area, and I hope it helps you:
God is not the way you THINK He is, HE is the way He is!
God is not who we think He is, HE is who HE is!
God doesn’t become who I think He is, just because I think that is how He is! I can theorise and debate and argue all I want about ‘Who God is’ and ‘What God is like’ but He doesn’t change and become that. God doesn’t fit into my little box and definition of Him. He is who He is.
Really it’s not my job to theorise about Who God is, it is my place to DISCOVER who He is and get to know Him for who He really is.
I can theorise all I want to, but that doesn’t change Him. He is who He is, and He will stay who He is, no matter how much I theorise to the contrary!
Many people try to fit God into their box. They want to make God in their image and define Him the way THEY want Him to be. Everyone wants to have ‘their own little versions’ of God.
But God doesn’t become the way you define Him. God is not ‘your little puppet’ that you can give your ‘own little character’ to and make Him be ‘the way you want Him to be’!
Just because you define Him a particular way doesn’t MAKE Him that way. It may just make you ‘wrong’!
The thing is, God is a Higher Being than us. He is not accountable to us, WE are accountable to Him!
He doesn’t have to change for us, WE have to change for Him! That is why HE is GOD.
So rather than trying to come up with our own version and opinion of God, let’s rather seek to see Him for who He really is, and get to know Him for who He is. Let’s relate to Him for who He IS, rather than just who we ‘think’ He is.
You can ‘think’ God is your problem and ‘the One who is stopping your prayers getting answered’ all you want, but that doesn’t make it true.
There are so many conflicting opinions and ideas about God. We need to believe RIGHT about Him.
Can we know God?
Some say, ‘you can’t know or understand God and His ways’ Then these same people will turn around and be TOTALLY convinced that God DOES NOT answer prayers, or that it IS His will for people to suffer and be sick or poor!
I thought they claimed you cannot know or understand God?
Then how can they be so convinced about Him in negative areas?
If it were true that we could not know God (I don’t believe that by the way, I am totally convinced the Bible teaches otherwise), but IF it were true, then we couldn’t draw negative conclusions about Him either!
In truth, the people who try to use excuses that we cannot really know or understand God just want to use that as a cop out to defend their negative ideas about Him – that He makes people sick, poor and suffer!
The real problem is not that we cannot know or understand God, but instead that people do not want to believe GOOD things about Him!
Anytime someone tries to stand up and teach something GOOD about God, all the preaches of negative ideas come out from everywhere and pull out religious sounding arguments about why we cannot really know God with an degree of certainty! Their purpose is to sow doubt in the minds of those who want to believe anything good about God!
We are trained to think bad things about God
People find it easier to believe God kills and hurts people than that HE heals and wants to take care of them
They find it easier to believe that God wants them poor, than to believe that He will meet their needs and prosper them
They find it easier to believe that God is their problem, is standing in the way of their progress or answered prayer than to believe that God answers prayer and will bless and take care of you!
We are inclined to think and believe negative things about Him, and resist believing good and positive things about Him!
The moment anyone wants to try to point out something positive about God, there is always someone standing close by who will quickly jump in with a, ‘yes but… what about this or that…?’
I am sure that even when this article is read, there will be those who immediately think of all the reasons it is NOT true! Some of them will come up with one or maybe two scriptures to try to disprove the whole load of scriptures contained in this article!
The problem is people try to set scripture up against scripture, rather than trying to understand how the Bible fits together.
It amazes me how people will hold to ONE scripture that they think defends their position and as a result not listen to a whole load of scriptures that says the opposite. No matter how many scriptures you show them, they keep pulling back onto ‘their one’, as if their ‘one’ is THE final say on the subject.
They think they can deny everything else the Bible is saying, because they have found ONE scripture to defend their negative way of thinking on the subject.
They don’t want to hear the whole counsel of God’s Word on the subject because they think their ONE or TWO verses speak with louder volume than the rest. Every time you show them something positive, they say, ‘Yes but what about …..’ (and they usually go on to point out the same old scripture they have always been pointing out!)
Really it comes down to the fact that they simply don’t really want to hear the truth, they just want to find a minority of scriptures that defend their messed up believing on the subject. Then they close off their minds to hearing any more, because the issue has been settled as far as they are concerned, now that they can defend their negative view of God with a small minority of scriptures!
In all honesty, this is not the place to study all the wrong ways people interpret the Bible, I will look at those in other places, except to say that most often the way they are interpreting the Bible with their limited view of certain scriptures is faulty, causing them to draw faulty conclusions. That is down to the subject we call Bible Interpretation, which will be studied else where.
(By the way, the ‘few’ scriptures people use to try to prove God is their problem, CAN be properly interpreted and DO fit in perfectly with the truths that God is GOOD. They do not have to remain as ‘hard to understand’ scriptures. These will be studied elsewhere though, as this article does not have the space for that study)
Do you WANT to know Him for Who He REALLY is?
For those who are hungry to understand the Bible and it’s truths and are not looking for excuses to believe negative things about God, this article is for you!
Let’s not try to deny the whole wealth of positive things said in the Bible about God, just because of a few disputed scriptures that most people admit they don’t understand!
There are many scriptures that are NOT hard to understand and lay out plainly GOOD things about God. Lets be quick to grab and believe those rather than trying to dispute them!
When the Bible says God is good, let’s believe it!
When the Bible says God answers prayer, let’s be quick to believe it.
Who do you think wants us to believe negative things about God?
Well that is not a hard question to answer! The devil!
The devil wants you to believe that God is your problem, that God is the One stopping your prayers getting answered, and that He is the One who wants you to suffer sickness and poverty.
The devil has been very good at convincing the church that GOD is doing the things that he is actually doing! How’s that for a masterful strategy? Convince your enemy that their real enemy is someone who is actually on their side and get them to turn on each other!
The devil has very successfully managed to get the church to blame God, and to see God as their obstacle, when the truth is God is your ANSWER and Helper.
Let me say this loud and clear: GOD IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM.
God is not standing in your way, He is not stopping you getting answers to prayer and He is not trying to withhold healing and provision from you!
As long as we persist in seeing GOD as the reason for us not getting results, we will remain blinded to the TRUE reasons we are not getting results. If we do not see the true reasons for suffering, sickness, unanswered prayers etc, we will never be able to get it put right and start to get results!
God the GIVER
While there are many aspects of the character of God that we need to understand, this article is aimed at focusing on one particular aspect of His character that we need to see and understand.
It is a very important part of Him that has been very misunderstood, and has caused a lot of confusion in the church.
The title to this article says is: God the Giver.
The Word of God has amazing things to show us about God as a giver, but sadly the church has portrayed Him as a ‘tight fisted’ God who is reluctant to give. He has been shown as a God who with holds things from us that we really need. We have been trained to think that if we need anything from God we have to beg and cry and do everything we can to talk Him into giving to us, almost like God sadistically like to see us beg!
This mentality is NOT scriptural. The Bible does not present God this way, so where did we get it from?
We got it from our own preconceived ideas. We got it from man made conclusions and religious traditions that were not based upon the Bible.
Let’s look to the Bible to see how it portrays God in this area.
He is a Rewarder
:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Notice the underlined phrase, ‘he who comes to God must believe …’
The word ‘must’ is added in there to show us that this is not optional or negotiable, but instead that it is laid down as a requirement.
It does not say that, ‘..he who comes to God might want to consider believing this if he wants to…’ or ‘… this is ONE of the things you can believe, but really it doesn’t matter…’. No, it says what it says, the way God wants it said: ‘…he who comes to God mustbelieve …’
In order to have faith that pleases God, there are some things we MUST believe.
In other words if you do NOT hold these beliefs, then you are not obeying the Bible and you are not going to have faith that pleases God.
It does not say you can believe this if you want, or believe it if it fits in with your own theological ideas! It says he who comes MUST. You are required to believe these things if you want to get anywhere when you come to God.
‘But I just believe this or that…’. He Didn’t tell you to ‘believe this or that…’
He did not tell you to believe ‘whatever you want to believe’, He specifically told you what you MUST believe if you are going to get anywhere with this!
How can we expect to get anywhere with the God of the Universe if we are not coming the way HE told us to?
We are not the ones who determine what is necessary when we come to God. We are coming before Him. He is God and He has laid down what is required when we come to Him. If we want to be successful in our approach to him, we need to do it the way HE said to do it.
He said when you come, there are some beliefs that you must have.
So, WHAT must you believe?
:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Now that we have established that we must believe these things, let’s take a closer look at specifically what it tells us we must believe whenever we come to God.
There are two specific things we are told we must believe:
- ‘…that He is…’ (this is PRESENT tense)
- ‘…that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him…’
If you do not hold these two specific beliefs, then you are not approaching the way He said to come.
Before we comment on the specifics of the beliefs, notice that BOTH of these are beliefs about GOD – believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder. In other words they relate to the way we see Him.
Other places in the Bible we are told to believe things God DID, or will do etc, but here we are told to believe something specific about Him.
This relates to who He is and what type of God He is.
If you believe and think wrong about God, it will affect your approach before Him.
For the purposes of this article, we are examining the second one of these beliefs. The first one can be studied elsewhere.
We are told to believe that He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek him.
Firstly, what is ‘a REWARD’?
The dictionary defines rewards as:
- give somebody something as reward: to give somebody something in return, especially in thanks for kindness or help
- benefit received: a benefit obtained as a result of an action taken or a job done
- thing given in return: something desirable given in return for what somebody has done
Notice that in the definitions above, I have underlined the words ‘give’, ‘received’, ‘obtained’, ‘thing given’
A reward means you GET something or some benefit. If someone says they are going to reward you for doing something, then you expect them to do something, or give you something!
If they just sit there and do nothing, you will not agree that they have rewarded you!
Now, the moment you mention GETTING something from God, people start to jump up and down in protest! They don’t like that kind of mentality, but really, are we trying to please all of them or do we want to see what the Bible is saying to us?
The Bible SPECIFICALLY tells us to believe that God is a Rewarder. The Bible connects God to rewards. If we follow the Bible, then we ought not be ashamed to do so as well. Religious mentalities have taught us that we cannot do that, but not the Bible.
God is the Rewarder
So we looked at what a ‘reward’ is, but what about a ‘Rewarder’?
A ’rewarder’ is the person who GIVES the reward. So we are told to believe that God is a Rewarder. A reward has to do with GIVING SOMETHING. If God is a rewarder, then He is a GIVER.
There are a lot of Christians who do not see God as a Rewarder. They see Him as someone who is withholding the answer to their prayer. If God is a withholder, then He is not a Rewarder.
So which is He? We need to make up our minds and get our believing in line with the Bible
What if you believe God is a withholder? Then you DO NOT believe HE is a Rewarder!
What if you believe God does not answer prayer when you come to Him
Then you DO NOT believe He is a Rewarder
If you do not believe He is a ‘Rewarder’ then you do not fulfil the requirements that this verse lays down you MUST believe when you come to God! ANYTIME you come to God, you must approach with the believe that He is a Rewarder, otherwise you do not fulfil the requirements of this verse.
Does God REWARD those who come before him?
A ‘reward’ carries the meaning of giving away, and it is connected to you doing something and then getting rewarded for it.
So what does this verse teach that God is REWARDING you for?
‘…that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him…’
The reward is connected to the thing you do. You are rewarded for seeking Him, which in this case is part of the ‘coming to Him’
When you come to God and seek Him can you expect that there is benefit and reward for doing so, or is it just empty and fruitless activity. Are we supposed to come with the attitude, ‘well maybe I’ll get something and maybe I won’t’
Does that attitude show a person believes there is reward in coming before God?
No it does not. So if a person comes with that kind of attitude, then they are NOT coming believing He is a rewarder, so they do not fulfil the requirements of coming before Him.
What else does the Bible teach us about God in connection to giving?
:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
What is a ‘gift’?
The most basic definition of a ‘gift’ is, ‘something given: something that is given to somebody, usually in order to provide pleasure or to show gratitude’
There are two parts to a gift. Firstly for there to be a ‘gift’ there has to be a ‘giver’, the person who gives the gifts and secondly there is a receiver, the person who gets the gift that is given.
If the Bible talks in terms of God and GIFTS, then that shows He is a giver. He gives gifts. It also shows that He wants us to receive His gifts.
This verse does not say that God is the giver of every good gift and He holds on to them up in heaven. NO! It says the gift, ‘comes down from the Father…’
If God was sitting in heaven holding on to the gift, then it wouldn’t be a gift would it? If it is never given, then it is not a gift.
God loves to give. It is in His nature
James has more to say about this aspect of God in His first chapter:
:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
:7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
When you come and ask for Wisdom how does God respond?
Does HE withhold?
Does He say no?
Verse 5 tells us some very specific information about God in connection to us asking for Wisdom:
Vincent’s Word Studies make the following comment on verse 5
The Greek puts it so that giving is emphasized as an attribute of God. Lit., “Ask of the giving God,” or of “God the giver.”
In other words, ‘…let him ask of God, the Giver…’
We are to ask of God, the Giver! That is so awesome, because it shows what kind of God we are praying to. This is such a different mentality to what many have where they portray God as one who is withholding what we need!
Notice the last phrase of the verse: It WILL be given to him.
It does not say, ‘…ask of God the giver… and He may or may not give…’
God’s side is clear and this verse leaves us no room to be uncertain about HIS side. Once it clearly states God’s side of the issue, it then goes on in verses 6 & 7 to examine your side and that is where it locates the possible areas the prayer may not work.
God’s side is unquestioned. God’s side is clearly stated: He GIVES.
The only explanation it gives for the person in James 1:5-7 NOT receiving is because they got into doubt. This verse does not show that the person does not receive because GOD decides to withhold and not answer the prayer. The reason give for no results is on our side, not God’s side.
Why is it that modern theology spends time questioning GOD’S side of our prayers, when the Bible spends no time on that issue?
Surely if we are accurately teaching the Bible, we should put the emphasis in the same places the Bible does! The Bible does not question God’s side, rather it teaches God’s side as open and willing to give.
God gives liberally.
Consider the following verses:
(Each of these verses is talking about various things, but they also give us some information about the kind of God we serve. This is what we need to see in these verses as it is relevant to what we are studying right now)
1 Timothy 6:17
:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withholdFrom those who walk uprightly.
:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
The verses above show us that God is a giver not a withholder.
Notice the phrase, ‘God who gives… ‘repeated a couple of times in a number of different contexts.
He IS God, who gives.
Proverbs 3 holds an important truth along this line:
:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
:28 Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.
:29 Do not devise evil against your neighbour, For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
These are instructions in God’s Word given to us about the way we should treat and respond to people who have needs when we have the power to meet the need. We are told NOT to withhold and the Bible calls withholding ‘evil’.
Do you think God would instruct us to act a certain way, and then do the opposite Himself?
Would God call withholding ‘evil’ then go ahead and withhold from people Himself?
I do not believe so. God is not evil and He is not associated with evil, but to say that He is withholding from people is to say He is doing evil. No, God is a GIVER
: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.
This is probably about the most famous and well known verse in the Bible and it teaches us that God is a giver!
When God saw humanities lost condition, He did something about it. He did not withhold His son, because His Son was the only answer and help for mankind! God GAVE
:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Really this verse sums it all up. Anyone who believers the Bible has to look honestly at this verse and conclude once and for all that God is not a withholder. God gave us His Son, his very best. To say He would withhold anything else from us is to go contrary to this verse of scripture. The Phrase, ‘…freely give us ALL things…’ is a very broad statement.
Many who teach the Bible these days are afraid to make such a broad promise, but God Himself did not hold back in making this promise in the first place.
Can we believe God? Can we take God at His word? Or should we accept the opinions of those who want to talk us out of verses like this by saying they are not really so or not really for us today?
I would rather go with God.
We have also seen that God is a Giver and that when we come before Him we can have confidence of receiving from Him. God is a God who gives upon request.
Now, in closing, I encourage you to go through the list of scriptures which show that God is a giver. They can be found by clicking the following link:
God the Giver Scripture List
These scriptures add incredible weight to the truth that God gives.
He is a giver…. THE Giver
This article, along with others by the same author can be found at www.exceedingfaith.com
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.
© 2008 O Walton & Exceeding Faith Ministries International. This article is written by Owen Walton and is made available for free distribution under the following terms:
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