Friday, November 19, 2010

My thoughts today are on God's power. Power is a strong word. I know that God is powerful, but I haven't really taken time to examine, really examine, the extent of God's power. I don't think I have really taken the time to think about His power. In my daily devotions I am currently in Hebrews, chapter 11. While I know the chapter really dwells a lot on faith, it was the power of God that really struck me at the beginning of the chapter so I thought I'd take a little time to dwell a little on the power of God.

God called the universe into existence out of nothing; he declared that it was to be, and it was. My faith is in the God who created the entire universe by his word. God's word has awesome power. Imagine...the earth didn't exist...just a few now exists. Wow! Powerful words.

We have many more words from God. Do we really realize the power of those words too? We can see what He created - it is visible. There are many instances of visible demonstrations of God's power, one of which was when He helped Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt that was told time and time again through the Bible as a reminder.

What about these other words we have in the Bible? Words of God - what power do I really assign to them? Do I really give them the authority they deserve and do I rely on that power?

I know that God is "omnipotent". Breaking down the meaning of the work, it is easy to see that "omni" means all and "potent" means power so God is all powerful. As with the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, it follows that if God is infinite, and if He is sovereign, which I know He is, then He must also be omnipotent. He has all power over all things at all times and in all ways. There are many instances where this is reflected in the Bible.

Job had great trials, yet he continued to trust in God. In Job 42:2 he says "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job never lost his faith in God, even under the most trying circumstances that tested him to his core. I couldn’t even imagine losing everything I have in one day – even my kids. Job never waivered in his understanding that God was still in control. What would I do if I were that situation? Although I would hope that I would, I can’t imagine being as strong as Job. I know that I am told to "Cast your burden on the LORD; And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved" (Psalm 55:22) but in an extreme situation would I do it?

This last week I have been reminded much about the persecuted church. Every day people are put in situations where they are arrested, tortured, beaten, family kidnapped, belongings taken, many times they and/or their family are killed. They rely upon God's strength and power to carry them through because of the hope that they have in Christ. Again, wow.

It is clear that Job had such an intimate, personal relationship with God that he was able to make the statement "Though he slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 13:16). How strong really is my relationship with God? Again, what would I do if I were put in such a situation? The spiritual depth of Job shows throughout his writings. we must trust in our sovereign, holy, righteous God whose ways are perfect. He knew “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). If God’s ways are “perfect,” then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect.

Looking at Ephesians 1:16-20, Paul tells the church at Ephesus:
"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know...what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."

The Greek word translated “greatness” is megethos which means “strong” or “great,”. Paul did not just say "power" but added a another word. The ESV translates the word "immeasurable". Other translations use the word "surpassing". The word in Greek is huperballo, which literally means to “throw beyond the usual mark” or to “excel or surpass.” If you put the two words together you get huperballo megethos which would be a power that is beyond measure, superabounding or surpassing power, power that is more than enough. The two words together give the power much more weight; it tells us that God has power far beyond any possibility of being measured. This power is huge - enormous even. ;-)

God will sustain us, He will never let us fall, and He cares for us. God declares both His ability and His willingness to be our strength and support-mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He is able (and best of all, willing!) to take everything that threatens to overwhelm us and use it for our benefit. God's promises are great: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Even at times when we doubt Him, He is still working for our good and His glory. God also promised: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). He will not let us fall, as He promised in Psalm 55:22. The statement “he cares for you” gives us the motivation behind His other promises.

Having total omnipotence, nothing is too hard for God. As God incarnate, Jesus Christ is omnipotent. His power is seen in the miracles He performed—His numerous healings, the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), calming the storm (Mark 4:37-41), and the ultimate display of power, raising Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter from the dead (John 11:38-44, Mark 5:35-43), an example of His control over life and death.

Death is the ultimate reason that Jesus came—to destroy it (1 Corinthians 15:22, Hebrews 2:14) and to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. Paul tells us that God said to him that
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9b-11).
God "is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20).

So, each day, taking one step at a time, I need to pray for God's Word to guide me, read or listen to God's Word, and meditate on God's Word when the problems, worries, and anxieties of life come along. God's power is more than I can imagine. I can see the visible things in creation which are fantastic, God's power is that and so much more. It is God’s power that continues to hold us in a state of grace despite our sin (2 Timothy 1:12), and by His power we are kept from falling (Jude 24). His power will be proclaimed by all the host of heaven for all eternity (Revelation 19:1).

"Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 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. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name." 1 Chronicles 29:10b-13