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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday message

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art

This hymn came to mind as I went through a week of verses whose main connection was the power of Almighty God.  It is really amazing to consider all the things, seemingly beyond control, that are safe within the hands of our God.  We see the signs occasionally- "Relax, God has it under control"- but what does that mean?

I began this week in Joel 2, an apocolyptic book of prophecy.  This chapter looks at the what-will-be for the enemies of God, and the what might be for those who

“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart
and not your garments. (Joel 2:12-13.)
But see, the help is not contingent on our repentance, for it says just a few verses later:
Who knows if He shall turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him... (Joel 2:14)
And that is the core theme of this week, the things that God does on His own initiative.  In this chapter, He goes on to spell out the first of these things.
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,[e]
My great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)
He promises to "restore the years"; the sorrows collected on earth will be "repaid" in heaven.
Tuesday was Genesis 25, and the death of Abraham.  Abraham was the man on which God's promises to future Israel were founded, promises of a land, a future, "descendants more than the sands of the seashore.  He died, but following that, the chapter says:
And it came to pass, after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac. (Gen 25:11)
As Paul would say centuries later, Abraham believed the promise, but did not receive it.  But unlike human promises, we see in this verse that the promise passed after Abraham's death to Isaac.  The promise didn't die with Abraham, as a human promise might, because God made Himself the guarantor of the promise rather than any man.  The promise lasts forever because God made it to Himself.
Wednesday brought us to Isaiah 45, and its talk of God building His city.  This is a future city, after the nations have been subjected to Him.  And it is to be a symbol of His glory:
15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!
16 They shall be ashamed
And also disgraced, all of them;
They shall go in confusion together,
Who are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever. (Isa. 45:15-17)
But more than that, the reason is Himself, something that man fails to comprehend:
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
In many ways, this is tied to the concept of "My ways are not your ways".  Restoration, everlasting promises, and a heavenly future, all done for us- but for His Name's sake.  Thursday took me to I Samuel 16 and the choice of David by God as king over Israel.  Even Samuel, the holiest man of the day, had trouble seeing as God saw.  Just as Israel had accepted Saul as king for his tall, handsome, heroic looks, Samuel looked at the sons of Jesse and thought surely the eldest son, Eliah, was God's choice for that same reason.  But God said:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Seven son in order of age passed before Samuel before the youngest, David, was chosen by God- Just as God had chosen younger sons Abel, Jacob, and Joseph.  Symbolically for us, this is how God chooses for our good in our day-to-day life- often in ways we won't understand until much later.
Friday's verse (and thank God I do these the night before, since I couldn't have comprehended a comic book Friday) found us in the penultimate chapeter of the book of Job.  Here, God spends a long time describing the mightiest creature of the day, a monstrous entity Job knew as Leviathan.  Far more press has been given trying to say that this beast was a mere crocodile or whale, but the fact was, this was something beyond today's experience, roughly on the scale of a giant Plesiosaur.  The point, though, is it was beyond anything that anyone of Job's day could have coped with.  Even the thought of trying to bring him to bay was frightening:
Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?
8 Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle—
Never do it again!
9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;
Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?
10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. (Job 41:7-10)

And having put it into terms which Job could easily understand, God got to His point:
Who then is able to stand against Me?
11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?
Everything under heaven is Mine.
So now we see that God has under his control the restoration of time, the promise everlasting, the future, the here-and-know, the powers that man cannot hope to best himself.
I finished out the week in Acts 7- the end of Stephen's final sermon.  And of all the things packed into this powerful chapter, I sought the one that would most clearly reflect the theme of this week- the power of God, and the inability of man to comprehend, affect, or understand it:
 47 But Solomon built Him a house.
Huh? You might be saying.  But consider:  Stephen had spent the last several minutes retracing the history of Israel, the promise from Abraham, the power He exhibited as Moses lead them to the Promised Land.  And at the end of all that, this almost stand-alone statement.  Consider it now in light of the next few verses:
48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?'
So here we have the single wisest human of all time- and he thinks to build Almighty God a home of mud and rock.  and thus, in that one statement we have the three things God wants us to see today:

1.  God is great beyond our imaginings.
2. We are not now, not ever, going to understand the counsels of God, for that very reason.
And three, just like I mentioned at the beginning, God has it under control.  So, relax!


  1. Boy, this was just what I needed to hear! Thank you!

    1. Worth it to have you back popping around the neighborhood!