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Not in My Image

What “this God is our God” really means.

by Jen Oshman


In our current age we make gods in our image, rather than subscribe to the reality that we are made in the image of God. Here’s what I mean. We live in a self-made age. As a people, we believe we can determine our own identities and future outcomes. As self-proclaimed, self-made men and women, we rebuff the influence of others, holding tight to individual autonomy. 

This way of thinking bleeds into our spiritual lives too. We make our own gods, in our own image we make them (the very opposite of Genesis 1:27). These self-made deities can be seen on yard signs, bumper stickers, and in the revealed thoughts of celebrities and coworkers and friends in casual conversation. It’s evident when you hear people proclaim, “Well my god would never…” or “My god says…” followed by a sentiment that contradicts what God has said about himself in the Bible. We take our values, shaped by the world around us, and we assign them to our own personal deities. 

And our gods can feel satisfying in the moment. They can bring some comfort or justification to our present circumstances. If we struggle to understand the world around us, or wrestle with whether we should engage in some kind of activity or behavior, we can quickly deem, “My god wouldn’t mind. He’s not like that” or, “My god didn’t do that. She would never do that.”

In truth, a god made in your image or mine is no God at all. He or she is an idol—someone or something we contrived in our hearts, as if we fashioned them with our own hands, like the people of old. They are totally made up. And a god who’s made up offers no certainty, no hope, and no help at all. Out here in the real world we have real problems and real pain and even real death. Out here, we need a real God. 

So when the psalmist says in our verse this month, “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end” (Psalm 48:14), we must first ask who is this God? We must ask if we know this one true God in whose image we are made, or if we have subconsciously made a different god in our own image? I must ask if my God is this God for ever and ever? Do I trust in this Guide to the very end? Or am I holding fast to something or someone I made?

How can we know if we know the one true God? The first and last verses of the Psalm give us an idea. 

Psalm 48 opens with, “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain” (Psalm 48:1). And the Psalm ends with, “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end” (Psalm 48:12-14). 

The Psalmist invites us to explore Zion, the City of God, and to explore the God who reigns there and everywhere. These words are an invitation, “Come see our God. Come see his city. Come see what he’s like. Come see what he has done.” 

This invitation is a gift—you and I can know if we do in fact believe in the one true God. He is not elusive. He is not unknowable. He is not man-made. He is not far off. He is right here in his Word. 

In the Bible we see the history of our God. We see his work of creation and his delight in us—men and women made in his image—from Genesis to Revelation. We see his promises to Abraham fulfilled in Jesus. We see his faithfulness and devotion to the Israelites and his church. We see our Savior, his life, death, resurrection, and great acts of mercy to make us his own. We see wisdom and poetry and letters and exhortations which are instructive for all people across all countries for all time. We see the beauty of the coming New Heavens and New Earth and we are invited to await them with joy and anticipation. 

Our God is knowable in his Word. In his Word, we can know our God who is “for ever and ever” (Psalm 48:14). Through his Word, “he will be our guide even to the end (Psalm 48:14). 

Come and see so that you can know who he is and what he is like. Come and see so that you can tell the next generation (Psalm 48:13). Come and see so that you can be held by him. Come and see so that you worship him and none other. 

Knowing the good, beautiful, and true God—who is very real, very alive, and very active— exceeds the temporary and superficial comfort of the false gods we have made in our own image. This God is our God, not the god you or I have contrived in our hearts and minds, in our own image. He is not an idol crafted by human hands. This God—our God!—is the one true God who reigns forever and ever.

Jen Oshman

Jen Oshman has been in women’s ministry for over two decades on three continents. She’s the author of Enough about Me and Cultural Counterfeits, she hosts a weekly podcast about cultural events and trends called All Things, and she is the mother of four daughters. Jen's family currently resides in Colorado, where they planted Redemption Parker.

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