by Russ Bowman
In the Old Testament book of Job, a recurring topic of discussion between Job and his friends is the power and majesty of God:
- “To God I would commit my cause, Who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” (Eliphaz, 5:8-9)
- “God is wise in heart and mighty in strength… He removes the mountains… He shakes the earth out of its place and its pillars tremble; He commands the sun and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; He alone spreads out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea… He does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number.” (Job, 9:4-10)
- “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” (Zophar, 11:7-9)
- “Dominion and fear belong to Him… Is there any number to His armies? Upon whom does His light not rise?” (Bildad, 25:2-3).
Perhaps Job best summarizes when he concludes, “Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power, who can understand?” (26:14).
These men served a “big God.” Perhaps their understanding was due in part to their lifestyle, which was far more connected to the powers and mysteries of the natural world than ours. They did not inhabit grand mansions in massive cities, illuminated unceasingly by artificial light. They watched the sunrise and sunset and gazed upon the brilliance of starry nights. They watched storms cross the landscape, stood upon the shores of the sea, and saw all of the power and mystery of “nature,” believing that God was greater than and reigning over it all. Such observations prompted David to write, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psa 8:3-4). While we have tended to insulate ourselves from the natural world with our technology, we still have occasional reminders of the power of the world around us, and we are made to feel small. I watched and listened as Hurricane Ike devastated the Texas coast a few years ago, and I felt completely helpless in the face of such power. Yet God has stopped storms, prompted earthquakes, halted the sun, and created the universe with the mere utterance of His voice. That makes Him pretty big, and reminds me that I’m pretty little.
Until we recognize God’s power, wisdom, sovereignty, and majesty, we will not truly trust Him or consistently honor Him with our lives. However, when we begin to acknowledge Him in all of His glory (realizing how feeble and dependent we are), the seed of real faith begins to grow. His power and wisdom and majesty not only arrest us with awe, they attract us because we are made in His image and offered fellowship with Him.
What a truly humbling consideration, that a Being of such grandeur and knowledge and honor, would condescend to live as a man and die on a cross simply so that He could offer association to weak and powerless men! “Behold what manner of love” (1 John 3:1).
And yet, how pitiful when we are so consumed with inferior pursuits. I live in a small town. I see people every day trying so hard to be so important in such an unimportant place. People are sacrificing their souls to be numbered among the movers and shakers in a town that most of the world couldn’t find on a map if their life depended on it. And all the while, the most awe-inspiring and impressive Being in existence rules the universe. Not only has He created me and the world around me, He sustains me, has sacrificed for me, and continues to provide for me, all with the hope in His heart that I would aim to be associated with Him. Who cares if anyone in Lumberton, Texas knows me when I can be known by and associated with God Almighty! What honor or ambition can surpass the honor of being claimed as His own son or daughter? What can any man offer me that is greater than eternal life in a glorious realm where I am privileged to reign with the King Himself?
“From where then does wisdom come?… God understands the way to it, and He knows its place… When He made a law for the rain, and a path for the thunderbolt, then He saw wisdom and declared it; He established it… And He said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom’” (Job 28.20-28). He is truly a big God. And I am so very little.