How Great is God?

That might sound like a ridiculous question but for many people, including many Christians, it’s exactly the right question. Christians, especially in America where we have it so good, have lost sight of the greatness of God. We don’t think that He can solve our problems. We don’t believe that He can still part the Red Sea – at least not our Red Sea. We don’t trust Him to protect us, provide for us or help us through our problems.

We say we do – but we don’t. We still rely on our own wits, money, connections, physical strength, etc. etc. We have lost sight of the Greatness of God. Our God is a god made in our own image.

There are many passages that talk about the greatness of God but Psalm 113 paints an interesting picture. Verses 4-6 says

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

The Psalmist begins by stating the greatness of God. He is high above all nations. His glory is even above the glory of the heavens (have you looked at any of the pictures being sent back by the Hubble telescope? Check out www.hubble.org/gallery/. Then he asks an interesting question. It’s a rhetorical question. It doesn’t expect an answer because the answer is so obvious. No one is like our God! No one or thing is as high, as glorious, or as great as God.

What I find interesting is the phrase he uses to show us just how great God is. He says God humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth. The key word here is the word humbles. Some translations give the idea that God stoops down to see what’s going on, on the earth. The NIV renders it who stoops down to look. Others simply give the idea that God looks down. The NASB says he looks down to see.

But there is another way to understand this phrase. The Hebrew word literally means to be or become low, to be cast down from a high rank, to make low, IE to be humbled (Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon). That’s the primary meaning of the word. When viewed this way it has the idea that for God to even look at the earth He has to come down from His great glory; He has to humble Himself – just to look at us! And not just us – heaven as well! He’s not stooping. He’s not simply looking down at us. He is degrading Himself. He is humiliating Himself. He is debasing Himself – just to look at us. That’s how great He is.

I don’t think that I’m pushing the issue to far here. The problem is that we don’t understand the exalted position of God. We don’t comprehend just how great He is. He isn’t just the Queen of England great. He isn’t just Beethoven great or Leonardo Da Vinci great, or Michelangelo, or Picasso or anyone else great. In fact you can take all of that greatness and put it together and it won’t come close to the greatness of God.

The contemporary songwriter, Chris Tomlin, like so many before him (Stuart Hine, How Great Thou Art) has tried to capture the idea of the greatness of God in his song How Great is Our God.

The splendor of a king
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God

I like the song – but it only scratches the surface of the Greatness of God. His greatness cannot be measured, it cannot be contained, it cannot be explained, it cannot be comprehended. It can only be accepted.

That’s important. It’s important because it will change the way we worship. It’s important because it will change the way we pray. It’s important because it will change the way we relate to our God.

It would help all of us if we could just get a new perspective on God’s Greatness.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve

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