Book Review: None Like Him

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None Like Him by Jen Wilkin may be my favorite book of 2017.  It’s the last book I read this year.  I finished it up earlier this evening (New Year’s Eve).  I’m so grateful for the way that Jen approached this book with a desire to clearly communicate Scripture in a way that results in looking to the Lord with awe.  Thankfully I read this book in the paperback version and was able to highlight and write notes while also writing in my Bible.  As I was retyping the highlights to post below, I was able to experience the truths all over again.  I look forward to returning to this book many times and know that I will e purchasing several copies to give away.  Books that point us to drink deeply of the truth of God’s word are meant to be shared, discussed, and lived out.  Great job Jen!

I highlighted several things while reading and have typed those notes and quotes below…

  • “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 p. 9
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” p. 11
  • Hebrews 12:28-29 ”Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus slet us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” p. 12
  • When we fear God rightly, we recognize him for who he truly is: a God of no limits, and therefore, utterly unlike anyone or anything we know.  This is the start of becoming wise. p. 13
INFINITE: The God of No Limits
  • “Could we with ink the ocean fill
    And were the skies of parchment made
    Were every stalk on earth a quill
    And every man a scribe by trade
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole
    Though stretched from sky to sky” The Love of God, Mercy Me p. 16
  • We will believe ourselves to be without rival.  And that’s where a measureless God begins to upend our sense of personal awesomeness. p. 19
  • Job 11:7-9 7 “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” p. 19
  • Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3 p. 19
  • Isaiah 40:12–13 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? (ESV) p. 21
  • Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? (Psalm 113:5-6) p. 21
  • Human beings created to bear the image of God instead aspire to become like God.  Designed to reflect his glory, we choose instead to rival it. p. 23
  • We must recover the truth that was obscured by the Serpent: rather than being like God in his unlimited divinity, we are to be like God in our limited humanity. p. 25
  • Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord.  They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God.  When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags.  When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out. p. 25
  • But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.  Romans 5:20 p. 27
  • And because of Christ, God urges us to learn to count others as Christ counted us: Doing nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3 p. 28
INCOMPREHENSIBLE: The God of Infinite Mystery
  • Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3 p. 31
  • God is incomprehensible.  This does not mean that he is unknowable, but that he is unable to be fully known. It is the joyful duty, the delightful task of his children to spend their lives, both this one and the next, discovering who he is.  p. 33
  • Psalm 139:1–6

[1] O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
[2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
[3] You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
[4] Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
[5] You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
[6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (ESV) p. 38

  • He reveals himself to those who seek him, and in seeing who he is, we see ourselves more clearly.  p. 39
SELF-EXISTENT: The God of Infinite Creativity
  • “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.” Cecil F. Alexander, p. 43
  • “Man is a created being, a derived and contingent self, who of himself possesses nothing but is dependent each moment for his existence upon the One who created him after His own likeness. The fact of God is necessary to the fact of man. Think God away and man has no ground of existence. That God is everything and man nothing is a basic tenet of Christian faith and devotion.” –A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961),  p. 28. p. 45
  • For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20 p. 47
  • What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Corinthians 4:7 p. 51
SELF-SUFFICIENT: The God of Infinite Provision
  • “Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rules in might.” Walter Chalmers Smith, p. 57
  • “I need thee every hours, most gracious Lord.” Annie S. Hawks, p. 57
  • Acts 17:24–25 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (ESV) p. 59
  • If God needed anything at all outside himself, he would be capable of being controlled by that need.  A need is a limit, and as we have seen, God has no limits.  Because he needs nothing outside himself, he cannot be controlled or coerced, manipulated or blackmailed by another who possesses what he lacks. p. 61
ETERNAL: The God of Infinite Days
  • He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 p. 72
  • When we work to redeem the time, we reflect our Creator.  God is the ultimate time-redeemer: He redeems all of time, and he redeems at just the right time.  We are charged with redeeming the years he has given to us as a reasonable act of worship. p. 77
  • So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 p. 78
IMMUTABLE: The God of Infinite Sameness
  • “Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.  As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.” Thomas Chisholm p. 83
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8 p. 84
  • James celebrates the goodness of God “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 p. 84
  • Just as my assurance of salvation rests in the fact that God cannot change, my hope of sanctification rests in the fact that I can.  p. 87
  • There is no rock but the Rock of our salvation. p. 91
  • Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge. Psalm 61:2 p. 91
OMNIPRESENT: The God of Infinite Place
  • “Within thy circling power I stand;
    On every side I find they hand;
    Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
    I am surrounded still with God.” Isaac Watts, p. 93
  • By tethering our spirits to a body, God decrees that we will be present where we are present, and nowhere else.  Yet God, who is spirit, is able to be everywhere fully present.  p. 94
  • “In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 p. 96
  • “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.  But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Philippians 1:23-24 p. 100
  • God sees.  God is present.  Nothing is hidden.  And this is cause not just for vigilance, but for assurance, the most blessed assurance the human heart can know. p. 102
  • “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 p. 103
OMNISCIENT: The God of Infinite Knowledge
  • “He knows, yes, he knows,
    Why not trust in him then,
    And confide joys and woes
    To the Savior of men?” Georgia C. Elliott, p. 107
  • Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than the other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1961), 56-57. p. 110
  • “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 p. 116
  • “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3 p. 117
  • Because God holds all knowledge, we don’t have to. p. 118
  • Resting at the end of the book of Psalms, only three verses in length, is Psalm 131.  David gives a picture of a heart at rest before God, free from the anxiety of human not-knowing…
  • Psalm 131 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV) p. 119
  • “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29) p. 120
OMNIPOTENT: The God of Infinite Power
  • “Most High, omnipotent, good Lord, to thee be ceaseless praise outpoured, and blessing without measure.” St. Francis of Assisi p. 123
  • “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:27 p. 125
  • In Revelation 19:6 the multitude at the marriage supper of the Lamb hails God as omnipotent: “Hallelujah!  For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” p. 125
  • Our words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21).  Those who recognize this delegated power will use them in life-giving ways for the voiceless. p. 133
  • The truth of God’s limitless power would be absolutely terrifying were it not paired with the truth of his limitless goodness.  p. 135
SOVEREIGN: The God of Infinite Rule
  • Romans 13:1 tells us to submit to earthly authorities: “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” p. 143
  • I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2 p. 144
  • Lesser forms of control reveal themselves in as an inability to admit we are wrong, a need to have the final word, a need to have the upper hand, a “my way or the highway” attitude.  Whether we behave this way toward a child, a spouse, a friend, or a coworker, we are exercising control in an unhealthy way.” p. 147
  • 1 Chronicles 29:11–12 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. (ESV) p. 149
  • The redeemed obediently submit thought, word, and deed to their heavenly Ruler, trusting uncertainty to him who “works all things according to the counsel of his will” Ephesians 1:11 p. 149
  • Behold, I am making all things new. Revelation 21:5 p. 150
  • Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3 p. 150
FEARFUL AND WONDERFUL
  • I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 p. 153
  • Our primary problem as Christian women is not that we lack self-worth, not that we lack a sense of significance.  It’s that we lack awe. p. 154
Without question, the subject of Psalm 139 is not us.  It is God.
He searches, knows, discerns—omniscient.
He is behind and before—eternal.
He is beyond human reckoning—incomprehensible.
He is near and far, high and low—omnipresent.
His right hand sustains—self-sufficient.
He creates life—self-existent.
He does wondrous works—omnipotent.
He ordains each day—sovereign.
He is immeasurable—infinite.
He endures—immutable. p. 157
Psalm 139
    [1] O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
    [2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
        you discern my thoughts from afar.
    [3] You search out my path and my lying down
        and are acquainted with all my ways.
    [4] Even before a word is on my tongue,
        behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
    [5] You hem me in, behind and before,
        and lay your hand upon me.
    [6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
        it is high; I cannot attain it.
    [7] Where shall I go from your Spirit?
        Or where shall I flee from your presence?
    [8] If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
        If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
    [9] If I take the wings of the morning
        and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    [10] even there your hand shall lead me,
        and your right hand shall hold me.
    [11] If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
        and the light about me be night,”
    [12] even the darkness is not dark to you;
        the night is bright as the day,
        for darkness is as light with you.
    [13] For you formed my inward parts;
        you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    [14] I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
        my soul knows it very well.
    [15] My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
        intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
    [16] Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
        the days that were formed for me,
        when as yet there was none of them.
    [17] How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
        How vast is the sum of them!
    [18] If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
        I awake, and I am still with you.
    [19] Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
        O men of blood, depart from me!
    [20] They speak against you with malicious intent;
        your enemies take your name in vain.
    [21] Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
        And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
    [22] I hate them with complete hatred;
        I count them my enemies.
    [23] Search me, O God, and know my heart!
        Try me and know my thoughts!
    [24] And see if there be any grievous way in me,
        and lead me in the way everlasting! (ESV)

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