God the Creator
God’s glory is beyond our understanding. We could never contain Him in our own knowledge. But by viewing Him from different perspectives, we gain opportunities to understand Him more fully and love him more deeply. Our new study, Divine Portraits of God, will grow your love for our great God over the next few weeks, starting today with a look at His incredible work of creation.
If modern secular theories are to be believed, we have no purpose. Our entire existence is a mistake. But this isn’t the case. God created the whole world, including you and me, with a distinct, intentional purpose. Your life matters to the Lord of the universe—that’s an amazing truth! There is great comfort in knowing our God is sovereign over all. This week’s program will help train your perspective of Him in a way that helps you appreciate His power over the universe and His personal care for you.
Chris Katulka: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Chris Katulka, your host and teacher. We have a great show for you, but before we get to it, I'd like to encourage you to visit our website foiradio.org. There you're going to find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East, not the kind that you're going to find in mainstream media.
While you're at our website, you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Now, we have a fantastic show for you today. We're actually going to start a new series called the Divine Portraits of God. We're going to look at different aspects of God's character and nature through many different aspects of the Scripture. But today we're going to start with one of the most important aspects, which is creation.
Chris Katulka: But before we get to that, first let's see what's going on in the news. As Israel heads into its fifth election in just three years, the Times of Israel reports that opinion polls are back in the news. The first polls recently released provide a picture of the number of seats each party can expect to win if the election were held today.
At the top of the list is former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party with 34.7 seats, and trailing Likud by 13 seats is Yesh Atid, the party of current Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
Well, here's my take. Netanyahu's party will continue to win elections. The early polling data shows his party leaving others in the dust. But the real question remains whether Netanyahu has enough friends in the parliament to form a governing block. There's no doubt he is still the most powerful politician in Israel, but is he the most liked? That we'll have to wait until November 1st to find out.
Chris Katulka: Today we're going to start a new series that we here at The Friends of Israel Today are excited to start. It's our Divine Portraits of God series, where we want to show from a Jewish perspective, the divine portraits of God, from various angles of the scripture.
Now, over the course of the next few weeks, we will see God from many different angles. We're going to see how God displayed himself in the 10 Commandments. We're going to see how God manifested himself in the suffering of his people. We're even going to see how God displays himself in the Book of Revelation at the very end of the Bible.
But in today's program, we're going to look at the divine portrait of God in creation. What does creation say about God's character and nature? And as followers of Christ, how can our relationship with the Lord grow deeper knowing that he's the creator?
I think when it comes to creation, people will often jump to Genesis chapter one and two, which is exactly where I would go too. But there are other very important passages in the Old Testament that talk about God as creator over his creation. That's why today I want to focus on Psalm 104. There are some splendid creation passages that come from the Psalms, but we want to give glory and honor to the one who created all things by looking at Psalm 104.
Now at the heart of the Scriptures is the truth that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the creator God. He sits enthroned over his creation, holding everything in his hands. But most of the world didn't believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when Psalm 104 was written, was the creator God. In fact, I would argue that there are many people today that don't believe that God is the creator.
Secularism has become its own religion. The belief that everything was created by happenstance, by accident. Scientists teach that the universe began with an explosion of space itself, what's been called the Big Bang. It all started by happenstance when through extremely high density and temperature, space expanded, the universe cooled and the simplest elements started to form. Then gravity gradually drew matter together to form stars in the first galaxies.
Throw in a couple of billions of years of time, and here we are today. Your existence is a cosmic science experiment. There is no reason or divine purpose for you at all. As scientists would argue, planets eventually formed, and it just so happened that on one such planet, life evolved to consciousness and that life with consciousness started to question, where did I come from? There's no meaning to life if we all just came from the primordial soup of the universe, and by chance, just magically, here we all are.
I've been hearing this more and more from people that when good things happen to them, they praise the universe. Have you ever heard that? They say things like “thank you universe.” They believe the universe is like a cosmic casino where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When good things happen, it's the universe, but when bad things happen, it's just the hand that you are dealt by the universe.
Look, there is a reason that the Scriptures open with God speaking all things into existence. It shows us first that God is the creator and we are his creation.
Second, it tells us all things were placed in his care and his order. And finally, because God is the creator, there is a purpose and a meaning to each individual life. We all know that the scriptures open with "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." That's Genesis 1:1. That opening verse sets the pace for the entire Bible.
But now listen to Psalm 104. Listen to how Psalm 104 begins. "Praise the Lord, o my soul. O Lord, my God, you are magnificent. You are robed in splendor and majesty. He covers himself with light as if it were a garment. He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds.
He makes the cloud his chariot and travels on the wings of the wind. He makes the winds his messengers and the flaming fire his attendant. He established the earth on its foundations and it will never be moved.
The watery deep covered it like a garment. The waters reached above the mountains. Your shout made the water's retreat, and at the sound of your thunderous voice, they hurried off, as the mountains rose up and the valleys went down to the place you appointed for them. You set a boundary for them that they could not cross so that they would not cover the earth again."
Notice how God thought intentionally about his creation. The one who is robed in splendor and majesty, as the Psalmist says, purposefully designed the universe. He stretched out the skies. He established the earth on its foundations. He made the mountains rise up and the valleys go down.
Just listen to what verse eight says, these were not made by accident. They were appointed by God. There's a purpose to the design because God is the creator who made everything.
But it also shows us that God is sovereign over everything. He holds everything together. It's God who orders the streams to flow between the mountains to provide water for the animals as Psalm 104, verses 10 and 11 says. It's the God who provides the rain which causes food to grow, to feed animals and us as people.
Listen to what the Psalmist says when God provides the food that comes from the ground. It makes us glad, it says. It makes us shine and it sustains us. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control of all things, which absolutely flies in the face of the way those who believe everything was created by chance.
God's sovereign design gives meaning to everything we do, even down to the food that we eat. I actually love this one Jewish prayer. It goes like this, Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, which translated means, “Blessed art thou, LORD our God, King of the universe”. Then it goes on bo’re p’ri ha’adama, which says, translated from the Hebrew into English, “Creator of the fruits of the earth.”
So again, it says “Blessed art thou, oh LORD, our God, king of the universe who created the fruits of the earth.” In that Jewish prayer the God who holds everything in balance, everything in the universe is actually concerned with the very food that we eat, to sustain the systems that we have, that he would provide for us. He provided through his sovereign plan, the way that all things should be ordained, even to sustain us.
God even holds time in his grip. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 104, verses 19 through 23. "He made the moon to mark the months and the sunsets according to a regular schedule. You make it dark and night comes, during which the beasts of the forest prowl around. The lions roar for prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they withdraw and sleep in their dens, and then people go out to do their work and labor until evening.”
The Psalmist is saying even time is sovereignly controlled by God. Time has purpose. Time has meaning. The sun and moon mark days and nights. They mark months and years. Certain events happen at night, which give way to the day where we work and labor with purpose and meaning until the morning. It all rests in God's sovereign control.
So what does this all add up to? Why is the divine portrait of God in creation so important to us as followers of Christ? Well, hang on for a moment and I'll share all that with you on the other side.
Chris Katulka: The Bible holds the fascinating stories of Israel's divinely appointed kings and prophets. That's why I'm excited to share with you our Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets DVD. Now you can watch these stories come to life with new archeological breakthroughs, see the evidence for biblical battles, the bones of Israel's kings, Nehemiah's rebuilding of Jerusalem, and even an artifact called the first bill of human rights. Each discovery testifies to the truth and glory of God's words.
This DVD will help you understand scripture as the real history of God's chosen people. To get your copy of the DVD Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets, visit us at foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: We started a new series here, the Divine Portraits of God, and today we're looking at God through the lens of his creation as the creator of all things. But we're doing it through Psalm 104, a very important creation Psalm. We saw that God is creator of all things. It was God who stretched out the skies, made the clouds, established the earth on its foundations. Spoke and made the waters retreat, mountains rose up, valleys went down.
We saw that in God's creation, his sovereignty is seen over all of the things that he spoke into existence. He didn't just make heaven and earth, and then he stepped back to let it all spiral out of control. But that, through his grace, he sustains all things from the food that we eat, to the time that we have here on earth, God is in sovereign control.
But why does the divine portrait of God in creation matter? Why is claiming God as creator of all so important? The reason? Because it gives divine purpose and meaning to everything. First, God is the creator, the one who's robed in splendor and majesty, as the Psalmist said. Who covers himself with light as if it were a garment, separated himself from all other creation stories from the past.
Most creation stories from the times of Moses and the time of the Psalmist, those gods pitied and looked down on humanity. But our God, think about this, breathes his breath of life into us. He takes pleasure in his creation.
Listen to Psalm 104, verses 30 and 31. It says, "When you send your life-giving breath, they are created and you replenish the surface of the ground. May the splendor of the Lord endure. May the Lord find pleasure in the living things that he has made."
When God created mankind, beginning with Adam, he did more than just look down on Adam as a servant or a slave. God created Adam with a purpose. Adam was created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26 and 27. It says, "Then God said, let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.
God created humankind in his own image. In the image of God, he created them. Male and female, he created them.” God gave us a divine purpose. We are created in his image and his likeness, which means that humans share, though imperfectly, God's nature. That is in his communicable attributes, the attributes of life, personality, truth, wisdom, creativity, love, holiness, and justice.
Because of that, think about this, because of that, we have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with the Lord. All humankind is made in the image of God and we all bear his attributes, which means we all have value, meaning and purpose.
Adam's sin in the garden has deeply marred the relationship that we have with God, but through Christ, the new Adam, that is where we find our value, our meaning and our purpose.
Earth is not just a ball of dirt floating in the universe haphazardly, and your life is not an accident of the universe, and by some cosmic chance, you just so happen to be alive. No. As Moses and the Psalmist and other writers in the Scriptures remind us, God is the creator who cares about his creation, to sovereignly hold all things in his grip, even down to the bread that you eat.
The same God breathed his life-giving breath into Adam to set him apart from everything else that he created. By doing that, we have been made in the image and likeness of God, which gives you, you who are listening right now, purpose. It gives you meaning, and it gives you value.
When you think about God, this divine portrait, remember it all starts, everything starts with him as the creator and he created you and he cares about you, and he loves you enough that he sent his one and only son to give you eternal life.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah.
Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations. Many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: I am in uniform again in the mountains where the winds blow fiercely in Israel. Vendettas can go for years. Both sides attack each other night and day and seem happy when they have out-harmed the other. What will be the end of it? Only the Lord knows.
Some lay awake at night, thinking about these things, but I've gotten over it. They can shoot all the guns they have, but I have peace because I have a good protector, one whom few others have.
The other night, someone awoke me. He was jealous that I could sleep during all the uproar. He asked, "How can you sleep at a time like this with shells bursting all around us? Have you no fear?"
Quoting Psalm 56, verse three and four, I said, "When I am afraid, I will trust in God. I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?" I then told him, "One who has no faith must always be in fear. You must trust God to watch over you. We must be like sheep. They sleep securely when protected by a good shepherd, but quiver in fear when they are alone. My Lord said, ``I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and I'm known by my own."
The man replied, "What does the parable mean? What are you trying to tell me?" I told him how Messiah Jesus slept in the bottom of a boat on the Sea of Galilee while his disciples were terrified because of the fierce storm and huge waves were raging around them. And when they woke him, he rebuked them saying, "Why are you fearful, oh ye of little faith?" Matthew 8:26.
I explained that I can sleep soundly because my shepherd watches over me. "Trust in the Lord," I told him, "and go to sleep. In the morning, we will talk further." He then put his head down on the rocks, which we called the Hilton Hotel, and immediately went to sleep. He slept soundly for two hours while the shooting continued.
In the morning, we met again at the field kitchen. He said, "I slept like a child. What type of psychology did you use on me? I do not understand what this is all about, but if it is going to do for me what it has done for you, then I am ready to believe as you do." I then asked him, "What do you think is better? To walk against the wind or with the wind?" "With the wind, of course," he answered. "It is the same when you walk with the Lord," I explained. "You are never alone. He's always with you and gives you strength."
We are going through dangerous times now. Any moment might be our last. It would be terrible at such a time as this to deny the truth. How can a person reject the Lord who has given us new life, new thoughts, and a wonderful future?
The Lord told us, "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Is it not better to trust him than to walk in fear and worry?
The soldier took the soup from the kitchen and sat down beside me, and he said, quietly, "I thank God that he gave me comfort. I now feel as if I were home, even the shooting does not bother me anymore. There must be some great power from above. I can see what it has done for me."
We became fast friends. Wherever I go, my new friend tags along. He seems to be a different person. He has no fear and laughs and talks to me all the time.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life in ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel, and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine, and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the State of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere.
So when you give to The Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Chris Katulka: Hey everybody, thank you so much for joining us on The Friends of Israel Today. Join us again next week because we're going to continue our study on the Divine Portraits of God. We're actually going to look at God through the lens of the 10 plagues from the book of Exodus. You're not going to want to miss that.
Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our executive producer is Steve Conover, and our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Chris Katulka, your host and teacher.
Chris Katulka: Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. Also don't forget, you can get your Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets DVD by going to foiradio.org.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets DVD
Discover the fascinating world of archaeology that makes the Bible come to life! This DVD’s archaeological evidence focuses on the era of Israel’s kings and prophets, including a look at Jewish life during Babylonian exile, the bones of kings, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Nehemiah. You’ll find your faith in Scripture strengthened through these phenomenal discoveries!
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Our 2022 National Prophecy Conference will uncover the Jewish roots of your faith and draw you closer to your Savior as you learn how the Jewish feasts and the cyclical nature of the Jewish calendar reveal God’s plans for restoration and redemption. Discover God’s rhythms of redemption in The 7 Feasts of Israel!
Apples of Gold: How Can You Sleep?
It was wartime, and Zvi found himself in uniform and stationed in the mountains. Both sides were attacking each other night and day, seemingly with no end in sight. Many soldiers would lie awake at night, wondering when life would return back to normal, but Zvi slept just fine. They could shoot all of the guns they had, but he had peace because God was his protector. Other soldiers needed to hear this truth, and when one man was ready to listen, Zvi was ready to share.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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