In the English language great can simply mean above average but as we know that God is perfect in all He is and does, He is not simply above average but the Greatest. This is not in the sense that Mohammed Ali thought he was the greatest – he was only great at boxing. God is the greatest in everything He does and everything He is.
Apologies for the grammar lesson but what we have here is a superlative – “the form of an adjective or adverb that expresses that the thing or person being described has more of the particular quality than anything or anyone else of the same type.” (Cambridge dictionary)
This means that whatever way I choose to refer to or describe God, He is simply the best example of it. The writers of the Psalms understood this when they referred to God as Lord of Lords, and King of Kings they are using superlatives. We can’t say king-est or lord-est so we say king of kings and lord of Lords. There is no better, more powerful, more resourceful, more wise, more knowledgeable etc, king or lord.
Just to remind myself that God is the best helps me to see God as he truly is, to give wider perspective to my view of Him. Let’s just look at a few of the names and attributes of God and see how this widens our view of God.
- Father. God is not just a Father, He is the Father. He is the best Father there ever was and ever will be. This means that there can never be anything lacking in his care for me as his child. It means that He truly will never let me down because it is against his perfect nature to do so. In the spiritual sense I can never have a deprived childhood because I am a son or daughter of the best and perfect Father. He always knows best for me and is always good towards me. He never turns his face away, never leaves me.
- Friend of sinners. Again not just any old friend but the best friend. There can be no better friend. Even if I think I have no friends, I have the best friend in Jesus who always has my back, will always be there for me, always praying for me. I can be confident when I introduce people to Jesus that he really is the best friend they will ever have too. As I have meditated on this I have thought about how I can relate to God friend-to-friend. How I can share all of me with him and enjoy his company (presence) more. I can easily get locked into relating to God in the same way e.g as a child to a father but there is always more to experience of my relationship with him in all its different facets. How can I know Him more as my friend?
- Warrior (Jer. 20:11) The Lord is the greatest warrior. No one can conquer Him because He is all-powerful. He is invincible. He has destroyed the works of the enemy and taken captivity captive. He has defeated the last enemy – death. We have this warrior championing our cause. He is our shield and protector. There is no enemy that He cannot defeat.
In my last blog I said words were labels for things and concepts but they can’t describe them fully. We use words because we must but God can’t be contained by them.So often the words we use to describe God are limited and we struggle to put into words all that He is but I think it is worth having a go.
Jonathan Edwards the American preacher said this “There is an infinite fulness of all possible good in God, a fulness of every perfection, of all excellency and beauty, and of infinite happiness.”* He understood that God is the superlative of all superlatives.
I encourage you to write a list of the names, attributes, and qualities of God and to think about what each of them means as a superlative. Then think about what that means for you. As you think about this I am sure that your understanding of God will increase and you will be inspired to worship Him more. Let me know how you get on.
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*Jonathan Edwards, Concerning the End for which God created the word. Dissertation published in 1765″ available on Kindle here