What God is Not – Learning Through the Process of Elimination

What God is Not
Learning Through the Process of Elimination
Rev. Tony Cooke

The article below is adapted from the audio CD series, “The Wonderful Nature of God.  To learn more about that series or to order it, please click here.

As much as we’d all like to be omniscient and get it 100% right the first time, every time, most of us on occasion learn through some trial-and-error, through the process of elimination.  Even some of the great leaders of the Bible learned this way:

  • When Samuel went to anoint the new king, he thought Eliab was the one (1 Samuel 16).  Actually, Samuel looked at seven of Jesse’s sons, but none of them were the right one.  When Samuel finally saw David, God said, “This is the one.”
  • David had it on his heart to build a temple for God, but God told him he would not be the one to do it, but that his son would (2 Chronicles 6:7-9)
  • Elijah saw great manifestations on Mt. Horeb, but he recognized that God wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.  It was after he realized what God was not in that he perceived God in the still, small voice.
  • Paul had certain ministry destinations in mind (Acts 16:6-7), and he attempted to go in those directions.  Scripture says, though, that the Spirit did not permit him to go to those places.  Paul obeyed, though, and then received direction concerning where he was supposed to go.

In each of these cases, they found out what the will of God wasn’t before they found out what it was.  One of the great skills (or graces) in life is the ability to trust, but these kinds of situations also require that we have the ability to adjust.  We must have the humility to admit that we may have missed it, even if our intentions and motives were right.


When it comes to knowing God and perceiving Him correctly, many of us had wrong ideas about God.  Even today, we have to acknowledge that in some areas we “see through a glass darkly.”  When we see the truth of the Word about God’s character and nature, we have to decide whether we will hold on to an old tradition, or if we will embrace His revealed truth.

In Psalm 50:21, God had a pretty sharp word for some who had misperceptions of Him.  He said, “You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.”  God has revealed Himself, and he wants us to know Him for who He is.  With the “process of elimination” in mind, let’s look at some of the things God is not… that helps us better understand who He is!

1. God is not equaled.

God has no equal.  He is in a class all by Himself.  It’s sad, but some people see Satan and God still battling it out, wondering who will win.  But Satan has been defeated and is not in God’s league.  Isaiah 44:6, 8 says: “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.  Is there a God besides Me?  Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

2. God is not changing.

God is the only being in the universe who has no room for improvement, growth, or development.  Malachi 3:6 says that He is the Lord and that He does not change!  He can’t get any better, stronger, more loving, or more kind than He already is.  You can’t do anything to get Him to love you more or less.  The old song says that He gets “sweeter and sweeter as the days go by.”  I appreciate the sentiment, but the reality is that He only seems sweeter and sweeter to us as we get to know Him more.  He was just as sweet before we came to an increased appreciation of His sweetness.

3. God is not a man that He should lie.

God is reliable, trustworthy, and dependable.  Numbers 23:19 says that, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

4. God is not afraid.

You may have heard about the well-meaning but misguided person who endeavored to prophesy, saying:  My little children, don’t be ascared.  But if you are ascared that’s alright, cause I get ascared Myself sometimes.  Seriously, what would God be afraid of?  The future?  He dwells in eternity, and he knows the end from the beginning.  He can’t be afraid of the unknown.  He knows everything.  He’s not afraid of the dark because He is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  Paul said (2 Timothy 1:7) that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 

5. God is not ashamed.

There are two very powerful verses in Hebrews that let us know that God is not ashamed of us!  In speaking of the sons who are being brought to glory, Hebrews 2:11 says of Jesus, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”  Hebrews 11:16 says that “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

6. God is not tired.

We all love the Scriptures about God giving us strength!  Isaiah 40:29 says that, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”  Verse 31 tells us that, “…those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength.”  Have you wondered, though, why God is able to provide such strength?  Verse 28 reminds us of God’s eternal strength when it says, “The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.”  God can give power and strength because He’s got it.  And no matter how much He gives, He never runs low or gets depleted!  He’s the one who never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4).

7. God is not confused.

The world may be full of confusion, but God is not!  1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that, “God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”  Thank God for the peace and clarity that comes from Him, enabling us to rise above the chaos and confusion of the world!

8. God is not a respecter of persons.

Numerous Scriptures testify to the fact that God is not a respecter of persons.  God loves you as much as any person that has ever lived!  There is a tendency to think that God loves others more, but He loves you with an everlasting love!  I like what one person wrote:

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.

If God had a wallet, your photo would be in it.

God sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.

When you want to talk, He’ll listen.

He could live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

And that Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem?!

Face it friend, He’s crazy about you.

9.  God is not a thief.

Jesus seemed to be very emphatic in differentiating His work from the work of the enemy.  In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  God has been blamed for all kinds of tragedies and heartache, but He is the life-giver, the comforter, the healer, and the restorer. 

10.  God is not stingy.

An amazing number of verses reveal God’s very benevolent nature:

·  Psalms 84:11 – No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

·  Psalms 68:19 – Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!

·  Luke 12:32 – Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

·  Hebrews 11:6 – …he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

·  James 1:5 – If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. (Amplified)

It sure helps us to approach the throne of grace when we know that God’s heart and hands are open toward us.  Augustine even said that “God is more eager to bestow His blessings upon us than we are to receive them.”

There is something transforming about coming to the knowledge of Who God really is… not just “information” about God, but a personal realization of Who He is toward you.