October 29, 2015

The power of God

Daniel 7:1–8:27, 2 Thessalonians 1:1–12, Job 41:21–34

God makes His power known in many ways. One is in creation. In the book of Job, He describes a great beast that He formed. Part of this description says: “His belly is armor-plated, inexorable — unstoppable as a barge. He roils deep ocean the way you’d boil water, he whips the sea like you’d whip an egg into batter. With a luminous trail stretching out behind him, you might think Ocean had grown a gray beard! There’s nothing on this earth quite like him, not an ounce of fear in that creature! He surveys all the high and mighty— king of the ocean, king of the deep!” (Job 41:30–34, The Message)

Job stopped questioning God after this description. Since God can create a beast like that, is there anything He cannot do? However, many people have decided that there is no Creator and the worlds around us happened by chance or some other means than the power described in the Bible. They miss seeing the power of God.

Governing the affairs of the world is also included in God’s to-do list. While this power is described in many ways, prophetic declarations and their fulfillment are most amazing. This week, a radio preacher said that at least 100 prophecies from the book of Daniel have already been fulfilled. Imagine God writing a to-do list and over the decades and centuries of time, as those events happen He checks them off.

Yet the list has more events that are yet to happen, like this one: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13–14) This points to Jesus Christ whose kingdom is “already but not yet” among us.

God’s unlimited power goes by the theological word ‘omnipotent.” He displays it in a general way like the creation of our planet, and in specific events like prophecy and its fulfillment. But God’s power is also seen in the lives of His people. He has the power to build my faith, to increase my love for others, to protect me from anyone who wants to hurt me, and to even use me to show the world that judgment is coming. His Word puts it this way:

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3–10)

God takes care of me, but He does not ignore those who do not know or obey Him. Some of this passage is not very popular for even Christians struggle with the idea of eternal punishment. Yet God says those who reject His offer of forgiveness and eternal salvation will not enjoy those gifts. How can they when they have made it clear that they are not interested in being with the Lord forever?

My understanding of eternal condemnation is being separated from God without all the good He is and does. There is nothing but emptiness, no beauty or light but darkness and ugliness, no sense of consistent care or a solid rock on which to stand. Instead, there is fear and unsteadiness, no love but alone and abandoned.

My short description makes me feel both horror and gratitude. I am glad to be a child of God who enjoys His power, but there is a great burden in my heart for those who don’t know Almighty God because they have ignored or rejected Him. His power is evident. His love is not far away. All that He is is best displayed in His Son who gave His life that we can know and enjoy our powerful Creator.

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