The Supreme God

The God identified in the Bible as Almighty God stands as the supreme being of all existence. To illustrate the profound significance of his being allow me to show His supremacy in the core areas of human existence.

Human Existence

Human existence and human life experience are governed by a range of structures, systems and realities. For the purpose of this article let me identify a set of those core areas of human existence.

Individuality is a core issue in human experience. We are all individuals, unique from every other person and creature.

Family is also a core issue, since we are all brought into the world as a result of the actions of others. Those parents and the family from which they come are a reality we cannot ignore.

Society is also a basic issue of human existence. We all live in some form of society with at least some form of social inter-action with others. The society may be a village or a city, and it may be a small group of associates we meet face to face or a global set of friends linked by a virtual social network.

Religion is yet another core issue of human existence. Even those who ignore religion must recognise that much of society and human history is deeply influenced by religious thought and process.

Politics is also included in this list, as societies manage their processes through leaders, elected officials or others who take charge over them, for better or for worse.

Law is another basic issue, whether in the form of human conscience or highly developed legal processes. Law stands apart from politics because political entities are not exempt from, nor lords over, legal processes.

Commerce should also be included in a list of structures and systems which impact our human existence.

Education and Communication are also components of our life experience, whether they are in definable systems or not, so let’s throw them into the mix for good measure.

God’s Supremacy

Let me now review this list of systems and processes and point out where God stands in relation to each of them. You will see that God is ‘supreme’ in every sphere.

Individuality: Our personal individuality cannot stand independent of God. God is supreme over our personal independence and individual uniqueness. God, as our creator, is the master of our whole existence, being the very author of our individuality and existence. So God rules supreme over every individual, no matter how defiant he or she may be in asserting a right to unique existence. They are the pot which the potter has made (Jeremiah 18:1-11) and their individuality has no existence outside of God, who rules supreme.

Family: We are each the product of a ‘father’ and ‘mother’, no matter how casual the relationship may have been which caused us to be conceived. We also come under the influence of those who are not our biological parents but who function in the capacity of father and mother in our lives, by nurture, mentoring or the like. Yet God is the supreme parent. He is our Father in heaven, as Jesus revealed (Matthew 6:9). He is our ultimate ancestor, as the lineage of Christ reveals in Luke 3:38. Christ’s family line is traced back to Adam, as is true for all of us, and we are told that Adam is the “son of God”. So, in terms of ‘family’ God is supreme. He is the most wonderful father ever imaginable, but He is also our ultimate ancestor. We are all His children by virtue of our natural birth as descendents of Adam.

Society: God is the ultimate source of social reality. While it is people who collectively create social entities it is God who has the most profound power over social interaction. When two or more people (society) gather in His name He joins their group (Matthew 18:20). But God is able to do more than just participate. It is He who is able to change the social experience for that group of people or their relationship with other groups of people. Ephesians 2:14 speaks of the ministry of Jesus Christ as the one who makes disparate groups compatible and who removes the social barriers which separate them. God is supreme over social experience.

Religion: God is clearly supreme in this dimension because He is the God above all gods (Exodus 15:11). Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). All the religion of earth pales into insignificance against the heavenly temple and religious practice which is described for us in Hebrews 9:11 and 12,24. God is supreme over all religious reality, because He operates out of the heavenly temple with spiritual processes which have eternal impact, not temporary significance.

Politics: Here again God is the clearly supreme being. Christ is described as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16). And the kingdoms of this world are taken under the supremacy of God (Revelation 11:15). Politics is clearly an area where God rules supreme – even though most politicians probably react to that notion. They may not mind whatever claims God makes theoretically, but many would not like God to exercise His lordship over them in practice.

Law: Once again this is not an area where there is any doubt. God is supreme over all legal process, because He is the judge of us all. The flood of Noah’s day and the destruction of the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are historical testimony of God’s legal supremacy. His Great White Throne judgement (Revelation 20:11,12) will call everyone to legal account, including all the kings, high court judges, magistrates and potentates who have exercised any level of legal authority over another.

Commerce: Commercial practice is regulated by God and overturned by Him. God demands just weights and balances, so commerce is honest and equitable. God limits the capacities for the charging of interest on borrowed monies. And God calls people to find provision in Him, completely independently of commercial process – “come buy without money” Isaiah 55:1. God is also supreme over those processes by which people seek to make commercial gain. God controls the crops, the completion of the building project and whether the money goes through holes in your bag. Commerce is not independent of God, but subject to God’s blessing or frustration. God is supreme over commerce.

Education & Communication: The revelation of God, through the Bible, is the most supreme education and communication in all of human history. No announcement or instruction has ever matched God’s Word in personal, social and national impact, throughout the entirety of human history. All of the news channels, universities, schools of philosophy and so on are lame when compared with the power of God’s word in the mouth of a child or God’s communications in the heart of a frail old man. God is supreme over all these processes and he will hold us accountable for every word which we speak, so teachers, media and entertainers are subject to God’s supremacy in their roles.

God is Supreme

This summary document should alert you to the truth that God is supreme. All those who beat their chests and seek to impress you with their pre-eminence should be recognised as humble and insignificant when compared to God’s presence in your life and circumstances.

I call you out of the tyranny and beguilement of those who wish you to come under their influence. I call you back to the simplicity and power of working with the one who is supreme and not getting entangled with those who wish to displace Him in your world.

Giving Honour is a Visible Process

Giving Honour is a Biblical mandate. We are commanded to give honour to those to whom it is due (Romans 13:7). We are also commanded to give honour to our father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Yet most westerners have no real idea what giving honour looks like.

I mentioned in a previous post that years ago Dr Dewberry prompted me to question if I gave honour to my dad. I could not answer the question one way or the other, since I really had no handle on what giving honour would look like. Recently I found my heart turned to this subject yet again and some light has been filtering through, so that’s what I want to share with you in my posts on this subject.

Giving Honour is a matter of the heart. Honour is something that comes out from the inside of us. It is not an external ritual but a heart commitment. Yet it will also be a visible process, since it will lead to external expressions of what the heart feels.

It is appropriate, we would all agree, that honour should be given to a ruler. In my childhood it was the practice at every picture theatre (movie house – or whatever they may be called in your culture) to play the Australian national anthem at the commencement of every movie screening. Music would fill the theatre and images of the Australian flag would brighten the room. We would all stand to our feet as an act of giving honour to our country and our monarch. Images of a youthful Queen Elizabeth II, sitting side-saddle on a decorated horse, would fill the screen. We were giving honour to our Queen.

This external act was supposed to be an expression of our heart attitude of giving honour. Similarly army personnel salute a superior officer. A judge is addressed as “your honour”. A police officer is addressed as “sir”. These external expressions reveal that we hold them or their position in honour.

Sadly western culture has slaughtered honour on the altar of individualism and hedonism. But I’ll wax lyrical about that in a later post. Let me take time here to reveal what giving honour might look like in a home.

A man enters his home after work and is confronted with a cacophony of rowdy sounds. A child confronts him and berates him for not being home sooner, since they needed some of his money to buy something they wanted. Another child demands to know where the father has placed something they have been looking for, since they are sure he had it last. On the bench is a note from his wife, advising that he will have to fend for himself, since she decided to go shopping with some friends and would eat out.

What are the evidences of honour in that scenario? Do we see anyone giving honour?

Since the Bible commands us to give honour, what would a home look like where honour was embraced at a heart level? Maybe it would look like this…

A father arrives home from work to be greeted by his attentive and quiet children who take care of his bag and coat. The children remain quiet, so as not to disturb their father. Refreshments have been prepared the way dad likes them, to soothe him. A report is given to him of all matters that he should be apprised of, since he is the one who is responsible for all the members of the household. Several children respectfully give him their report on their day, so they can share with their dad, but also to be sure that he knows things which he might not otherwise find out about.

When the dinner is ready there is a special seat at the head of the table for dad. He is served first and the children are respectfully quiet, taking their lead from the dad’s questions and directions.

Now, without going any further, does that not strike you as a stark contrast to the first scenario? And aren’t you just a little bit inclined to think of the second scenario as being a bit too ‘old fashioned’?

It’s interesting that we relegate giving honour to some past era. It is now out of fashion. It is almost absurd. So let me take my illustration a little further.

The wife is asked by a friend to head off for a fun shopping trip with some surprise visitors. The wife thanks her friend for the invitation but explains that her husband will be home in an hour and she has several things to prepare. The friend suggests that the wife do just as the friend is doing, “Make hubby fend for himself for a change”. The wife declines, explaining that it would be wrong to set that example for her children.

The friend reacts to this. “For crying out loud, you aren’t still thinking you owe your husband something, are you? You know what men are like! They need to be put in their place every so often. If I gave my husband special treatment he’d be likely to expect it all the time.”

The wife explains that she promised God to give honour to her husband, since the husband is God’s gift to her. She explains that she also promised to train her children to give honour to their dad, and so she must be the first to give a positive example. She further explains that her husband is only an ordinary man, and he has no special qualities that earn him such honour. It is simply that God requires it of her and that it is her special gift to her husband.

That’s why I mentioned the visible process in the title of this article. Giving Honour is a Visible Process. If you have honour in your heart it will be seen in your actions.

I did not know how to give honour to my dad, because I grew up in a culture that was throwing off the old fashioned ideas of honour and other Victorian values. It was somehow noble to be arrogant. It was part of the evolutionary advancement of our society to be big enough to move beyond those childish rules and regulations of a simpler and less developed age. Wow! What arrogance and deception was being foisted on us.

Giving Honour is now finally filtering through to me. Maybe you’ve understood it all your life. Next time I’ll share about how the person and the position impact the whole honouring process.
(Honour is the English spelling, while Honor is the American spelling. So this article could just as well have been called “Giving Honor Is a Visible Process” and I could have said, “Honor your father and mother”. Please excuse my default to the spelling of my schooling. The American form may be simpler, but it just looks ‘wrong’ when I write it. I pray my American friends can tolerate the fact that I actually enjoy being who I am, and that I decline the offer of American simplifications.)

Giving Honour

We are to “give honour to whom honour is due” (Romans 13:7). Ha! That is SO un-cool in today’s western culture. Rabid individualism and contempt for authority have bred a culture where it is obnoxious to have to give anyone respect, honour or special place.

This is not to say that it isn’t done and that in various aspects of western society it may be done well, but among many within current western culture it is not done at all. Rebellion, scorn, independence, cynicism and similar attitudes mitigate the ready giving of honour to others.

So let’s take a closer look at what the Apostle Paul instructed us to do:

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:7

Christian’s know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honour our mother and father (Exodus 20:12). We also know that there is a blessing which goes along with that commandment.

“Honour your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12

There is a promise of longevity attached to this commandment to give honour. So ‘giving honour’ is something which demands at least some serious attention.

The Apostle Paul quoted this commandment, giving it special relevance to the behaviour of children. He notes that there is a ‘promise’ attached to the giving of honour in line with this command.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour your father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” Galatians 6:1-3

Unfortunately for modern Christians Paul’s reiteration of this command has skewed its application toward children, and not to the rest of us.

So I want to re-focus your attention on ‘giving honour’. I think it’s much more important than most western Christians assume it is in their daily lives.

What does giving honour look like? Many years ago when Dr Harold Dewberry was staying in my home, I asked him to pray for some health challenges we were facing. Harold is a remarkably perceptive man, in particular with use of the gift of Word of Knowledge. I have been amazed at times with the profound accuracy and effect of his use of this gift in counselling. However, in praying with us, Harold didn’t seem to get any particular revelation.

Then, after spending a good amount of time praying with us, Harold asked me a question. He asked, “Chris, do you honour your father?”

I was caught off guard. I really did not have any clear reference point on the subject, to understand the giving of honour to my father, and so I could only guess at whether I did or not. I was not conscious of giving my dad honour, nor was I conscious of denying it to him. When I explained my inability to answer clearly Harold advised that he felt prompted to ask the question, but he also did not have any particular wisdom on how to be certain that honour had or had not been given.

As soon as I could after that, I organised a series of meetings for my dad to teach. I guessed that promoting my dad’s ministry was one expression of giving honour.

Now, let me ask YOU the question. Do you give honour to your father? Do you know how to measure the level of honour you give or don’t give? By what evidence can you prove that you do or do not give honour?

My guess is that most western Christians don’t have clear answers to those questions. My guess is you’ll like to know what I am coming to understand on that topic. Keep an eye out for a post I’ll do in the next week or so, where I will share my emerging understanding. By the way – the application of ‘giving honour’ goes beyond how we respect our dad. It impacts how spouses treat each other, how Christians treat each other and how we function in the broader community.

Excessive Liberation is Slavery

We live in an age of liberty. Everyone wants to throw off the shackles – without even thinking too much about what they are there for. The pulse of our culture is beats with the demand to be able to do our own thing, as and when we feel the impulse to do so.

There are many images and messages that support the notion of throwing off other people’s constraints upon us. In Ratatouille we have a rat wanting to escape the cultural abhorrence toward his kind and the disgusting cultural values of his family. Fights against oppression, determination to rise above family limitations, and such sentiments are common fare.

What brought me to this topic, however, was that I was reflecting today on one of the many stories which carry this theme and I saw something I had not noted before. The story is outdated now. It is the Australian made movie, Strictly Ballroom. As I recall the story (and it’s been several years since I last saw it) a particular ballroom dancing competition has become the life focus of a group of young people.

The central character of the story is a young man whose own father was once a successful competitor in the competition but who somehow damaged his career by going outside the limitations set by the competition. Everyone is now quite intent on meeting the strict requirements, except this young man who, like his father, has a penchant for free expression.

The climax involves the boy stepping outside the prescribed rules and creating something that expresses who and what he is. The whole competition shuts down as a consequence, until the boy’s father steps up to support his son’s individualistic expressions. The story ends with a triumphant liberation of the people from the rigidity of the competitions controller.

The sub-text speaks of each person’s need to find who they are and to be brave enough to step out for the liberation which they should be able to claim. Like many other packagings of the same theme, the subtext is to be the individual that we each are.

But here’s the rub. Some constraints are not the product of egocentric control freaks. Not all things that limit us and make performance demands on us are evil, self-serving structures designed by others and which oppress and limit our self-expression.

Liberation from oppression is one thing, but liberation from godly morality, responsibility and the like is a completely different proposition. The current popular cultural theme of self-expression, self-discovery and self-assertion is not anchored in the fear of God as it needs to be. It does not respect our need to be who God has made us and to face the limitations which He has placed on us.

The Bible supports our personal liberty through Christ. We are even told to hold on to our liberty from sin and degradation. We have been called to liberty, Paul tells us (Galatians 5:1). However, Paul also warns us not to use liberty as an excuse for indulging our fleshly desires (Galatians 5:13).

What is being promoted in our culture is a notion of liberty without bounds. Liberty for liberty’s sake has become the value proposition, rather than liberty within the bounds of God’s holy purposes in our lives. We are to stand firm in the liberty which Christ has purchased for us, but not to be brought into slavery by our inappropriate application of liberty. Hence my title “Excessive Liberation is Slavery”.

When people pursue personal freedom as an end in itself they end up applying that freedom to their own self-serving ends. That then brings them into slavery to sin, shame and degradation. They become slaves to the things they indulge in. Their liberty has led them to slavery and they are not free at all.

Stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made you free – but be not entangled again in slavery.

Individualism as the Satanic Theme

Satanism openly admits its link to individualism. I only observed that fact recently. The connection between Satanism and individualism makes sense and is probably plain to any serious thinker, but I had not given the subject much thought. What made this observation stand out to me is my recent consideration about what a true ‘son’ is. Observations about the prodigal heart as compared with the heart of a son focus the idea of being ‘individual’.

In my book, “Family Horizons – Creating Families of Destiny”, I point out that individualism in the western culture has been promoted at the expense of family. In reality, people are not individuals in the way they like to think of themselves. They are members of a family and a society. God takes those family and broader connections very seriously, even if the person does not.

The rejection of family, such as we see in the example of the Prodigal Son, is based on the idea of being separate from the family connection. The prodigal demanded to get what was his, then he headed off to live without the constraints his father and family would have imposed on him. This is individualism.

In the context of a prodigal who pulls away from his family to live an independent life, being an individual is an act of rebellion. Such ‘individuals’ are rebelling against the place God put them in within their family. And the Bible teaches that, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1Samuel 15:23)! It is no surprise, then, that being ‘individual’ is a strong point for satanists.

A quick web search of the terms ‘satanism’ and ‘individualism’ comes up with the following quotes. “Its teachings are based on individualism”. “Polish Satanists are individualistic oriented”. “Modern Satanism preaches individualism”. “Satanists treasure individualism”.

Satanism stands counter to worship of the Judeo-Christian God and it celebrates each person’s personal pursuit of self-interest. The ‘individual’ is promoted, over family, society and community values.

Individualism prompts a person to think of self first. Instead of loving their neighbour as they love themselves, individuals are more concerned about “what’s in it for me?” Self-interest takes centre stage of the individual’s life.

The rampant individualism of western culture deserves closer scrutiny in the light of its anti-Christian values. Rather than celebrating the individual, we are wise to be suspicious of all promotion of individualistic themes.

Now, God clearly deals with individuals. His call is to “whosoever will”. God has called individuals to step out in faith and to obey Him. However, these individuals are not to despise their family connection, but even to fulfill family destiny.

God called Gideon. No one else in his family was given that call. He was the individual who God chose to deal with. Yet the first task Gideon was given was to pull down his father’s altar to the false God, Baal. The ‘individual’ was given a ‘family’ assignment.

Each of us is a uniquely created person and we each stand before God as master of our own destiny. Yet, each one of us is to live for others, within the context where God has placed us. We are to honour our parents and to love our neighbours. Our unique, personal identity includes our family heritage and a destiny connected with the community in which God has placed of called us.