How Big is Your God?

Posted: June 14, 2013 in Pastor Posts

I find it disturbing how so many of us believers today have what I call a “small God” complex. Consider that the way we talk about God, use the name of God, pray to God, respond to the Word of God, and claim how and what God speaks to us, are all indicators of our personal views of God. Let us just take a moment to observe how some people in Scripture respond when they encounter God, and as we do, ask yourself if your view of God today fits with the reality of who God is.

Job in Job 42:1-6
Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Moses in Exodus 3:1-6
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-5
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Paul in Acts 9:1-9
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

John (the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved) in Revelation 1:9-18
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Why is it that so many people, when confronted with the reality of God, end up with their face in the dirt? The reason is that God is to be feared! C.S. Lewis in his parable of sorts, The Chronicles of Narnia, describes the “God-like” character like this: “Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

God is good! But, He is not “safe”. Why do we so often forget or ignore a healthy fear of God? In a reaction to legalism, we have sometimes overemphasized God’s grace. Grace is essential. We must not forget the grace of God. In fact, Exodus 34:6-7, the most quoted passage in the Bible by the Bible, reveals a God of incredible love, mercy, compassion and grace! Yet, let us also not forget, that God, while full of love, mercy, compassion and grace, is still to be feared. Fear, kept in its proper perspective, is a good thing. It is a vital thing. In fact, Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Realizing who God truly is and in relation to that who we actually are, is one of the most healthy exercises a person can do. James MacDonald states it this way:

“I experience transcendence when what God has made reminds me how little I am. I stand on the shore of an ocean and realize that there are worlds underneath the waves. I look up from the base of a mountain and am reminded, ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.’ To experience the transcendent is to sense your smallness. By that I don’t mean transcendence makes me feel belittled or self-deprecating. A true encounter with the God of the universe makes me feel gladly small, perfectly puny, and happily so, in my assigned place and actual size! A true experience of eternity leaves us feeling, as C. S. Lewis said, ‘the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.’ Transcendence is a healthy dose of insignificance to a race whose root sin is pride. Transcendence cuts us all down to our proper proportion before an awesome God. That you and I are not significant is a wonderful, freeing discovery, and that’s what church is for.” MacDonald, James (2012-08-01). Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs for. What Every Church Can Be. (Kindle Locations 568-577). Kindle Edition.

Let’s have a proper view, a God-sized view if you will, of God! Seeing God for who He really is should result in the response of Isaiah who wrote, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:6-9). I find that every time I am tempted to lessen God, or magnify myself, there are things like the video below that help put me back in my proper place! Watch to receive a healthy dose of humility and a proper view of the greatness of God!

Written by Pastor Dave

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Comments
  1. Tom Waugh says:

    Whenever I hear the praise song that goes, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart. I want to see You,” I think of the biblical passages that you have quoted, and I wonder if I really do want to see Him. Everyone in Scripture who encounters God falls on his face in terror. Our God is an awesome God, too big to comprehend, too powerful to oppose, and yet He humbled himself and took the form of a man, so that He could pay the price for my iniquity. In the words of last Sunday’s sermon, “Oh, crud! I am toast.”

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