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Have You Ever Been Baffled by God?

If you’ve never been baffled by God, you should.

So often, we treat God as if he’s basically like us humans, just a few notches better or higher. But according to the Bible, God is holy. In other words, you can’t compare God with anything else because he’s not like anything else. He’s in a category all his own.

I once heard someone describe the holiness of God as the complete “otherness” of God, and that’s a helpful way of putting it. That same person went on to explain that God is not quantitatively different than anything else (the same, but greater). Instead, he’s qualitatively different (a completely different being).

That’s why, when Moses was about to go to the Egyptian ruler Pharaoh with God’s message and wanted to know what name he should use in describing God to the Egyptians, here’s what God said his name was: “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14).

Maybe you’ve heard that verse before and perhaps were a bit confused. But think about it like this: When we’re describing something to someone who doesn’t know anything about what we want to describe, how do we go about describing it? For example, if I met somebody from the deep jungle who had never seen any kind of a machine or engine in his life, and I wanted to describe an airplane to him, what would I say?

I might say, “It’s kind of like a big bird that flies in the sky, and this bird is so big that it can actually take us with it wherever it flies.” That’s a very rudimentary description of an airplane. But what does a description even that basic assume? It assumes my jungle friend knows what a bird is—that he’s seen birds and knows something about them, which is probably a reasonable assumption.

So, in that situation, I’m able to say, “An airplane is like a bird.” But when God speaks about himself, there’s nothing he can refer to that would help us understand him better. He can’t say, “I’m like this” or “I’m like that.” No, the only thing God can refer to in describing himself is…himself. That’s why he says, “I am who I am.”

All of this shows that God is utterly incomparable in his holiness. He has his own category. There’s no one like him. Aren’t you glad we have a God who actually deserves our worship instead of merely demanding it?