Our Awesome God

 

6By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6-9)

 

Modern man is so busy with the fast pace most of us have grown accustomed to, and our lives is so cluttered with activities, that we often have little time for meditation or communion with God. As a result, God seems far away, a mere shadow, unreal. We often sing the beautiful old song “Take Time To Be Holy” “Sweet Hour Of Prayer” What a blessing indeed to spend time with our Awesome God, and Creator getting acquainted 

 

Our purpose in this study, is to make God seem more real to each of us..... I begin by saying.... I wish we could know God as personally as many of the Old Testament faithfuls did.  As Moses neared the age of eighty, was introduced to the God of the Hebrews in a very  dramatic scene at the burning bush. The story is told in the scriptures in these words,

 

1Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy 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 upon God.”  Exodus 3-1-6.

 

We read this statement in Exodus 33:11

11And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. 

 

I wish we could know God as personally as Abraham knew him.  In Genesis 12 we read of God selecting and calling him out to receive a great blessing. Genesis chapter 15 records some promises of God to Abraham.   Among these was a promise of seed, at a time when Abraham was childless. Seed as numerous as the stars of the sky. Abraham believed God on the basis of His word alone   Hear  the account Genesis 15:5

5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be....  6And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness”.

 

James adds this regarding the relationship between God and Abraham   James 2:23

23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,  Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God”.

 

While we might wish we could have such personal experiences with our God, it is not possible in our day, for God has chosen to reveal himself to us through his written word, the Bible.

 

Several thousand times the word God appears in this book, telling us many things about the God who created the world and all things in it. As we read the Bible we achieve a certain understanding of God. To the degree that we read and meditate upon the scriptures do we achieve the personal relationship with God that was so real in the lives of Moses and Abraham and others of the long ago.

 

As we read the scriptures, we become overwhelmed with the majesty of God, Who is infinite in power along with all His attributes. As we read it  develops within us an awe and reverence for a God so great. One of the most meaningful religious songs of our day is the song “How Great Thou Art,” 

O 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.”

 

Turning to the Holy Scriptures we cannot read the account of Creation without a feeling of great awe for the creative power of God:

    

“1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. Genesis 1:1   6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.  7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”  Genesis 1:6-7    again Genesis 1:9;  9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”  Verse 11; “11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”    And these words  “and God said;  and it was so” are repeated over and over showing us the power of our awesome God. 

 

Finally we read in Genesis 1:26-28

 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

      

Many centuries later, David felt the impact of this same creation when he wrote,  

1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.  3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:”  Psalm 8:1-6

 

In another of our favorite Psalms, David wrote,  Psalm 19:1-6

1The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 2Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard. 4Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 6His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And his circuit unto the ends of it; And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

 

Our opening text  Psalm 33:6-9

6By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

 

When we read these great passages and observe the marvelous works of God’s hands in the realm of nature, we feel the majesty of God. It is with this in our minds that we often sing with such deep feelings “How Great Thou Art.”

O 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.”

 

There is a second side to God’s nature, which at first might seem a contradiction  of the first, but it is merely another indication of the greatness of God. For all his power and majesty, God is also very near to those who are his children. There is a second song that we often sing with unusual feeling and meaning. Its title is “My God and I” and the words are as follows:

 

My God and I go in the fields together;

We walk and talk as good friends should and do;

We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;

My God and I go through the meadow’s hue.

He tells me of the years that went before me,

When heavenly plans were made for me to be;

When all was but a dream of dim conception,

To come to life, earth’s verdant glory see.

My God and I will go for aye together;

We’ll walk and talk as good friends ever do;

This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,

But God and I will go unendingly.

 

This song, expresses so vividly the intimate relationship we want to achieve with God. We find this song emphasizing a feeling that is just and right. God’s child can draw near to him and enjoy a wonderful relationship. Even though God always remains God and man always remains sinful man.

 

This closeness of relationship is taught in the great sermon that Paul preached on Mars Hill in Athens.

 

1- Midway in his message to these learned men of the long ago, in describing the true God whom they had not yet known, Paul stated: Acts 17:24-28

24“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25“Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28“for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

 

It was Christ who first taught us the full meaning of the fatherhood of God.  In the opening of John’s gospel we read,   John 1:1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.......... 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth........    18No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

Christ came and lived among men, revealing the true nature of God to mankind. This is put very directly in John 14:6-11, where the conversation between Christ and Philip is described,

“6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way,  the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7If ye had known me,  ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

 

The majesty of God and the nearness of God are both possible, because of the comprehensiveness of God’s nature.

 

Even in man, however we can see some suggestive trace of both these qualities in the same person. For example, the President of the United States is the first citizen of his nation, his name and reputation are known far and wide. Potentates from all over the world seek audience with him. Whenever he speaks, a nation, and perhaps even a world, eagerly listens.   Wherever he goes crowds assemble just to see him. A letter bearing his signature is passed on proudly to one’s children and grandchildren. A few moments of private conference are considered the experience of a lifetime, yet on the other hand, the members of his own family do not find it difficult to be in his presence.  While he may be the President of the United States, to them he is husband, or father, or brother.

 

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most influential of our Presidents, yet his biographer tells that how at the end of the day he would change his clothes, go into the nursery, get down on his hands and knees, and play horse with his children. This suggests at least something of the possibilities of God’s infinite greatness, and at the same time the wonderful nearness which he feels to his children.

 

God has loved us with an infinite love, has created the world for us, has created us in his own image, He has blessed us with every conceivable blessing, and then has prepared a place for us to spent eternity with him. All he asks in return is our love. How wonderfully blessed we are; how little it is to give our abundant love in return.

 

It may be that some of us have never yet declared openly before men our love for God, and have never yet taken our place in his family.  Let me appeal to you to confess the name of Christ before men, turn from the world with its sin, and then be buried with your Lord in baptism in order to arise to live a new kind of life with him.

 

 As one obeys these simple God-given commandments, he is born again and begins to live in this close, intimate relationship with his God as Father. All are invited; none is excluded. Will you heed his call , and finally serve him vigorously in this life.?

We love him because He first loved us. John 15:14

 

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Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658