Have you ever wished that God was more like you? That may seem like an odd question, and at first glance we would probably answer, “No, of course not! I am thankful that He is more powerful and more loving than I am!” But let me share with you a few times when I, somewhat unknowingly, wish that God was more like me.
My first example is when I sin against God and begin to experience the shame and guilt for disobeying Him. My tendency is to minimize the seriousness of my sin by comparing my obedience to others as opposed to God. Whether I am aware of it or not, what I am actually doing in that moment is wishing that God’s standard for holiness was human holiness, not His perfect righteousness. If it were, I would not have to feel as guilty and shameful, because I would still be more righteous than most humans.
A second example is when others sin against me and I withhold forgiveness for a season. In doing so, whether I am aware of it or not, I am actually wishing that God was less merciful and gracious so that I was more justified in holding onto the grudge.
Yet, in Psalm 113 we are reminded that God is quite unlike us, or any other God for that matter. He is deserving to be praised above all (vv.1-4), He rises above all nations and peoples (vv. 4-6), He lifts up those who are poor and needy (vv.7-8), and He is the giver of joy (v.9). From cover to cover of our Bibles we see that there has never been anyone like our God, nor will there ever be anyone like Him.
So why is that good news? Why would it not be better if God were more like us in some ways? Why would it not be better for us if God were all powerful and able to still govern and lead the world, yet less perfect so we did not have to feel as much guilt and shame when we fall into sin?
The answer is simply this: it is better to have our guilt and shame removed than it is to have it be lessened. The gospel is the good news that Christ died for us to take away our sin, not to lessen our guilt and shame. It’s the good news that God loves us while we were still sinners, not when we sin less than others.
Therefore, we would not want God to be like us in the ways of righteousness, for then he could not completely take away our sin, our guilt, and our shame. He could merely make us feel less guilty and shameful. Nor would we want our God to be like other gods who insist that the path to eternal life is human religious obedience, for then none of us would ever inherit eternal life. We want a god who can save us from our sin, who loves us while we were still sinners, and who shows this love by sending His own Son to live the perfect life of obedience for us.
The Psalmist cries out, “Who is like the LORD our God?” The answer is “No one!” May we be reminded this month of what great news that truly is!