Great is Our God
Great is Our God
The story is told of a wife who went to wake her husband up one Sunday morning. “Honey, its time to wake up,” the wife said with a cheerful voice. The husband responded, “I don’t want to get out of bed!” “Now dear,” she responded, “we don’t want to be late for church?” “I don’t want to go to church,” the husband snarled back. “Give me three good reasons why I should go to church.” The wife answered: “First, you need to go to church because of the fellowship with loving people. Second, you need to go to church because the Bible says so. And third, you need to go to church because you are the pastor!” (sermoncentral.com illustration)
I want to let you know that that did not happen this morning. My wife and I are thrilled to join with you today as we worship God together.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This morning I want to share with you a message entitled: “Great is our God.” With all the challenges and trials life affords, it is important that we understand that God is in control. We do not have to live in fear—to live stressed-out lives—but we can live in the confidence on knowing that God is greater than any problem, any heartache, and any turmoil that we may face.
I think this is why the Old Testament governor of Judea, Nehemiah, declared to his people: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Although we can easily be concerned about the devastation of sin in our world and in the people we love, it is a wonderful thought that we can “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Isaiah chapter 40 is my favorite passage of Old Testament Scripture. The prophet Isaiah is led of the Lord to write about the Omnipotence and greatness of our God. There is no greater study, no greater pursuit than to earnestly seek the truth about God. Isaiah declared in another part of his book that we are to “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). In fact Jesus, during His earthly ministry, as He preached the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew proclaimed: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
So, I think we are on solid, biblical ground, in seeking the truth about God. And, why is this so important? The value may seem obvious, but, so many people, for so many different reasons, have dismissed the discipline of knowing God. The ramifications have sadly become clear. Sin seems to abound. Victory over transgression seems elusive. Faith has been replaced by doubt and fear.
But for you, you are here this morning not just to hear a message given by a guy from California—I think you deeply desire to hear from God—to experience the life changing power that God’s word affords. And, quite frankly, that is why I am here as well. So we journey together—you and me—and we journey through one of the great passages of Scripture.
Let me set the stage for you. The people of Israel were angry with God. “Instead of praising the Lord, the nation was complaining to Him that He acted as though He did not know their situation or have any concern for their problems” (Be Comforted) “Instead of seeing the open door, the Jews saw only the long road before them; and they complained that they did not have strength for the journey. God was asking them to do the impossible” (Be Comforted). Left to their devices and emotions, Israel would abandon God—and many times they did just that!
So God intervenes. He cuts through the fabric of time, and enters our world. He pushes back that stumbling blocks of doubt and confusion, and makes clear of who He is and what He expects from us. And, in this passage of Scripture reveals to us at least four incredible principles that will change and transform our lives.
Look with me at verse 28: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.” And with this God reveals the principle of how:
I. Great is His Power
As God responds to Israel’s complaint—he asks a rhetorical question: “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” The answer is obvious and clear. Throughout Israel’s existence, God revealed His awesome power and authority. From Abraham to Jacob to Joseph to Moses to Joshua to Gideon to Samuel to David to Solomon to Josiah to Jeremiah to Isaiah—God has demonstrated His great power.
One of the more humorous stories of Scripture is found in 1 Samuel 5:1-12. The Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. They placed the Ark in the temple of their god, Dagon. This was supposed to be a great insult to the God of Israel. But, the Philistines had no idea who they were messing with. Look what happened—I pick up the story in verse 3: “1 Samuel 5:3-4 (NIV) “When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.” The Philistines didn’t know what to do. Wherever they took the Ark, great calamity befell the people. In fact, they finally decided to give the Ark back to Israel. Why? Because they realized that God was greater.
Whether it was the Red Sea, or manna from heaven, or water from a rock, or walls of the enemy falling down, or trumpets and lamps defeating mighty armies—God was not to be messed with.
No mighty man, or impressive idols made of stone or precious metal, or kingdoms of this earth could stand against an awesome and dreadful God. You would think even now we would learn—but like Israel, we have often become cenacle, wondering if God really is as great as His Book makes Him out to be. But one day, there is coming One who will unleash the “fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (Revelation 19:15).
Revelation 19:11-16 (NIV) “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF LordS.”
Friend, you may find yourself under the pressures of life: sickness, poverty, depression, confusion, humiliation. But remember—God is greater—His power is greater than any disease, any struggle, any sin, any problem. God, by His power has caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dead to come to life—and God can reach into your situation and by His power can cause you to overcome—can bring healing to your life and can bring restoration to your soul.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Not only is His power great, but:
II. Great is His Understanding
“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
“Understanding no one can fathom.” Eugene Peterson, in his paraphrased Bible, The Message, puts it this way: “And he knows everything, inside and out.”
Is that wonderful—that God knows it all? It is reassuring to me. Life is confusing at best. Recently I was looking at health insurance plans on the internet. The web site gave me 99 different plans to review. Each one had a different deductible, co-pay, limitations, network details. It was information overload. And this is just one of the hundreds of things we have to juggle. And yet, God knows all things, all the time—past, present, and future. Is that incredible?
The Apostle Paul put it this way in a declaration of praise in Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.” Paul must have had what God said in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Life is complicated. We are overwhelmed by all the cares of the world. Then there is God. He doesn’t just know all things, He knows us. He knows our thoughts, our concerns, our fears, and our heartaches. He knows what we need to grow in Him. Because He “knows everything, inside and out,” we can have a confidence in Him.
Because of His great Understanding, we do not need to worry—and we do not need to understand everything. The writer of Proverbs gave us this instruction: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Trusting in God is made easier when we come to terms that He is all-powerful and He is all-knowing. It is these truths that declare His authority to reveal how:
III. Great is His Grace
Isaiah 40:29 (NIV) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
This is amazing—God—the God who is all-powerful and who is all knowing, grants to the weary and weak His promise of strength and power. In other words, God presents to us His grace—that unearned, unmerited favor of life everlasting. And nowhere has God demonstrated this truth than through His Son, Jesus Christ.
John 1:1, 14, 12 (NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Even in our sin, our imperfections, our ignorance, our foolishness—God dispensed His grace upon us. And the price was high. Jesus paid that price with His life. He died for us—taking our place. For the spiritual law required payment for sin: Romans 6:23 (NIV) “For the wages of sin is death.”
Through Christ, if received by faith, grace is given. To the weak and weary, there is hope. God’s grace is sufficient.
In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul admitted a weakness—he called it a “thorn in his flesh.” He prayed that God would deliver him. And God responded: 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
So we have something to boast about—something to offer in praise and adoration. God’s grace is sufficient for us. Even in our weaknesses, God’s grace is sufficient to lift us out of the miry clay and set our feet firmly established in Christ Jesus.
Oh friend, you do not have to walk this globe wondering if God can help you. Remember His power to help you overcome. Remember His understanding to help you through this life. But most of all, remember His grace that gives you strength and might to face a new day with confidence and assurance. However this confidence and assurance is not rooted in our ability, but in God’s grace.
God reminds us that we cannot do life by ourselves. He declared in verse 30: Isaiah 40:30 (NIV) “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.” Even those that seem to have it all don’t have anything apart from God. Only God’s way is lasting.
We now come to my final thought this morning.
IV. Great is the Benefit of His Love
In verse 31, we see that God has something incredible in store for those who trust in him:
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Here is the application to this message. This is where the “rubber meets the proverbial road.” Do you want the benefit of know first hand God’s power? Do you want to experience the truth that God knows all things? Do you want to submerge yourself in the grace of God that will strengthen you when you’re weary and empower you when your weak? Then, there is something you need to do.
God tells you what you need to do. You need to place your hope in Him. This hope is a patient expectation of God’s promise to you that God intends to fulfill in you. This hope is faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This hope is a confidence that what God says He will do.
When we come to the place in our lives that our faith and trust is directed solely on God alone (not ourselves, or rituals, or institutions, or other people), then we will experience the benefit of His great love. That joy unspeakable and full of glory. That peace which surpasses all understanding.
In the very early days of the Church, Peter and John went to the Temple in Jerusalem. A beggar was wanting money from these two Apostles. Acts 3:4-10 (NIV) “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
Why does God heal? Why does God give good gifts to His children? He gives good gifts because God loves us. He loved us so much; He gave His Son to die for our sins. He loves us so much that He wants to bless our lives. He loves us so much He wants to calm our hearts, give us the assurance of His grace, and be our encouragement and peace.
A couple of weeks ago, Southern California was facing disaster with numerous fires that were fanned by eighty mile an hour winds. Growing up in California, it was something that I learned to live with. But, as a young Child, it was terrifying. One fire came right up to our back yard and nearly burned our house down. After the fire was contained and put out, my dad took me into the field behind our house. I was nervous and frightened. The field was black—the chard remains of plants and trees. My dad invited me to touch the blackened earth. I was reluctant. But he assured me that everything was ok. And know that dad was holding my hand seemed to make everything ok.
Life can be hard sometimes. It can be scary. But know that God holds on to me gives me the assurance that with Him everything is going to be ok.
And why? Because great is His power, and great is His understanding, and great is His grace, and great is the benefit of His love.