The Greatness of God #3
Follow up to Week 2 Preview of Week 3
Tell a small group around you …
1) What have you learned or experienced about holiness this week that was meaningful to you?
2) If you wrote a hymn, prayer, or poem on p 25 and are comfortable, share it with your group
3) what is the “essence of God’s Character?” (p18)
4) how do you define holiness? (p15)
5) why was Isaiah afraid when he saw God’s holiness?
6) what one thing do you sense God most wants you to do in response to this week’s study?
Last week’s Memory verse –
Psalm 48:1 – “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the City of our God, his holy Mountain”
This week’s Memory Verse –
Isaiah 6:3 – “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
This coming week’s Memory Verse –
Deuteronomy 10:17 – “The Lord your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of lords the great, the mighty, and the awesome God”
Mountain Top in Isaiah this week
Isaiah 40:10-11, 21-22, 26
Do we overuse the word AWESOME?
What kinds of things have you used or heard the word used for recently? (DISCUSS)
Are those things ALL AWESOME?
Did it surprise you maybe?
Did you think, “wow that’s better than me”
Did you think “that’s the best I’ve experienced”
But did it really FILL you with AWE, blow you away, strip away words for description, make you fearful, remove all explanatory words?
What does AWESOME mean? We just quoted it in Dt 10:17
That verse says he is GREAT, MIGHTY, AWESOME
Great – gadowl – /gaw-dole/ large in number, intensity, in importance loud, older, great, distinguished
Mighty – gibbowr - /ghib-bore/ strong, mighty, strong man, mighty man, brave man
Awesome – yare’ - /yaw-ray/ to fear, revere, be afraid, to stand in awe of, honour, respect, to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
Have someone read - READ Isaiah 40:10-11, 21-22, 26
We have lost or never gained a true wonder and appreciation for the greatness of God
I think we are often more impressed by when an average person pulls off the lucky or fortunate amazing thing than when greatness reproduces greatness.
I saw a video the other day of a high school kid tossing a basketball into the air, jumping over another kid, catching the ball off the bounce, taking it through his legs and dunking it. Now that was a pretty amazing thing. And the gym full of people went CRAZY. Why because it shocked them that he did something they had never seen anyone do.
Now, if Michael Jordan or Lebron James, or Carmello Anthony had done this we would still think it was cool, but not be as crazy cause we say, “yeah that’s what Michael does”.
Tiger Woods hits a hole in one and we think “there he goes again”
But this week, I saw where a lady in her 60’s had TWO hole in one’s and we think … that’s amazing
I saw a video on the internet today of some college kids at Texas A&M – they call themselves “dude perfect” they are video sensations making basketball trick shots and filming them. They shots look fake they are so outrageous. They say they are all real and are happy that people think they are fake. Their latest shot is taken from the upper deck of Texas A&M football stadium with a goal down on the track. They throw it and make it. Amazing? Perhaps … Course it probably took hundreds of tries to pull it off. But what’s amazing is these guys Christian young men and are going to sponsor 1 child through compassion international for every 100,000 hits they get on youtube. Well they are over 3.3 million hits so far.
But is that AWESOME?
GOD is AWESOME
But sometimes we lose our sense of wonder for his awesomeness, either because we haven’t taken time to notice it for ourselves OR because we just expect it.
Just because he’s great, doesn’t lessen the wonder of who he is.
Let me give you a few things quickly that I saw in our Mountaintop Passage in Isaiah for today
In this passage we can see the awesomeness of God. When we realize how awesome God is and we see how insignificant we are, if we are not careful and do not have the right perspective, we could become depressed and discouraged. But that is NOT the purpose of this study, nor of this chapter in Isaiah’s prophesy of God’s Word.
Look first with me at the opening of Chapter 40. I used to sing a version of these verses in college as a music major. They are in Handel’s Messiah. The Tenor solo “Comfort ye” comes from the beginning of this chapter. Look at vv 1 and 2.
“Comfort my people says your God”
“Speak tenderly to my people”
“Her sin has been paid for”
So, take comfort in the Awesomeness of God. Our leader in this study has suggested we look at these selected verses in Chapter 40. This is one of the great chapters in all of Scripture. But we look particularly at these 5 verses 10-11, 21-22, and 26.
Look at this awesome outline of an awesome God in v10
No matter your situation or circumstance tonight, God IS AWESOME and if you cry out to him, he will show up and he will reveal himself. It will not always be when you want or how you want but he will show up in HIS purpose and HIS plan and HIS personality and it will be AWESOME
Isaiah writes SEE … or BEHOLD … LOOK … PAY ATTENTION
The Sovereign Lord – that’s the word “Adonai” again … the dominion of God, that is Jesus Christ … combined with Yahweh the Covenant Name of the Essence of God or the Father …
The Lord COMES – bow’ – go in, enter, come, go, - God comes when we cry out and reveals himself … he comes with Power, Ruling, Reward and Recompense
Let’s see them each quickly
The Dominion of and the Essence of God will come and reveal His Awesome self to you …
1. With Power (Might)
What kind of Power does our Awesome God have?
Power – chazaq /khaw-zawk/ strong, stout, mighty, firm hard, strong one
But as I look at these verses, I see his awesome power
A. To Create All v26
Why does the world so fight to reject God’s hand in creation? Because if he isn’t strong enough to create all why should I turn to him for the strength for what I am facing today. And if he didn’t create me he doesn’t have a right to instruct me for life.
Isaiah writes, look around … take a long look … WHO CREATED all these?
If you came to my house and came up into our bedroom, you might say “who made that bed?” and I would say “Tom Kennedy” … you would say “really, hmmm I’ll bet he could make me a bed, but I don’t need a bed, I just need a footstool, but if he can make that big beautiful bed, I’ll bet he could make a footstool.”
If you had been in my office today you might have heard me listening to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” If he were still alive you might say “wow I don’t need a whole Symphony written, but I just need a new song for worship, but if he can write that, I’m sure he could write a little song to go with the service”
You look at a majestic waterfall, a glorious sunrise, a moon in orbit, a bird in flight, a human heart pumping wonderfully … and you say “I don’t need a sunrise, or an ocean or a moon, my need is a footstool, and a little song compared to that, but if GOD DID THAT … Oh I think he can handle it”
He has power to Create
B. To Care for ..
Tends his flock like a Shepherd
ra’ah - /raw-ah / to pasture, tend, graze, feed, to be a friend of, a companion, a special friend
wow what a full definition of what he does for us. He is our special friend. He is friend with power to tend and the compassion to act.
He cares for you. We are created, just a little lower than the angels, we are exalted above all of his creation
Luke 12:6,7 says are not five sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God; (Matthew says not one falls to the ground apart from the will of your Father) 7 Indeed the very haris of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Don’t you see he will care for you.
Matthew 6 teaches that he clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air so why do we WORRY so … he Cares and has the Power to Care in Action for us
C. To Carry Us
Nasa’ - / naw-saw/ it lift, bear up, carry, take, take away, carry off, forgive, to be exalted
The Shepherd would carry different kinds of sheep
He would carry a favorite / special sheep
He would carry a wounded sheep who was unable to walk with the flock
He would sometimes carry a disobedient sheep and break a leg and carry it or keep it close until it healed and realized close to the shepherd was the best place to be
He would carry sheep as a reward for good actions, in celebration
He loves us and we are precious in his sight, the apple of his eye he holds us close to his heart
He has the power to lift us as a wounded sheep and carry us until we can walk again on our own
He will sometimes wound or discipline us himself and carry us close to teach us that close is the best place to be
He also carries us through forgiveness, lifting us out of our state of rebellion into a state of right
He will rejoice over us carrying us in victory
He has power to Create, Care for, and Carry Us and
D. To Conduct Gently leading us
He gently leads – nahal /naw-hal/ lead, give rest, guide to a watering place or station, bring to rest
He has the ability to lead us … Rom 2:4 says “his kindness leads us to repentance”
He leads us to himself, the stream of living water so that we will never be thirsty again
He leads us into rest Hebrew 4:1 says the offer to enter his rest STILL STANDS
He Creates, He Cares, he Carries, he Conducts and the power
E. To Come to and For Us (Gather)
He gathers – qabats /kaw-bats/ to gather, assemble, collect
In order to gather, he has to come to us
In order to gather he has to be with us
He does not leave us on our own
But he comes to us
James 4:8 says “come near to God and he will come near to you”
Some times we feel alone … But Jesus said, he goes to prepare a place for us and if he goes, he will COME AGAIN and take us to himself (John 14)
1 Thes 4:16-17 says for the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first 17 after that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever
We have an Awesome Powerful God
Power to Create, Care, Carry, Conduct, Come
An Awesome God, Behold he Comes with Power
An Awesome God, Behold he comes and his Arm Rules
2. Ruling vv 10, 22
It says “his ARM RULES”
zâro’ah /zer-o-ah/ arm as a symbol of strength, forces political and military, shoulder of animal sacrificed
mashal /maw-shal/ to rule, have dominion
Oh there is important truth in these Hebrew words … He is Ruling his is own Arm, with his OWN Inherent Power, he Rules by Political Force and by Military Force, he is KING and he has the Spiritual Forces to back his claim and finally, he comes Ruling because of the Shoulder of Sacrifice. Jesus Christ, the last and perfect sacrifice, laid down his life for us on the cross and thus has the right to rule because of his sacrifice.
He comes as a Ruling God … He
A. Sits Above the Circle of the Earth
Interestingly before science had come to understand that the earth was ROUND God had already written that the Lord sits ABOVE THE CIRCLE of the earth … that is above the atmosphere that encircles our earth
1. enthroned – you put the words sitting and above … or can be translated sitting upon … it carries the understanding of reign and rule
2. sits, his dwelling is far above all that we know
3. there is a dimension that is above and beyond all that we know and God is Enthroned there over everything we know
4. he is not limited to our understanding or our physical laws … he is AWESOME
B. Above the Inhabitants
Ps 33:8-11 – let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him … the Lord foils the plans of the nations … but the plans of the Lord stand firm …
Is 40:15-17 – surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires … 17 before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing
Lebanon had the greatest trees in the region but their trees aren’t great enough to offer the sacrificial altar he is due … Ultimately we have nothing of worth to offer him
Make a cup with your hands … God can whole all the water of the earth right there
Stretch your fingers out … God can measure the heavens like this …
Imagine who small we are in comparison …
AND YET YOU LOVE … What an Awesome God
We are as insignificant on one hand as grasshoppers yet significant enough to warrant the gift of his only son for us!
How Awesome our Ruling God
C. Using Creation for His Benefit
V22b – stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in
Psalm 104:2 – “he wraps himself in light as a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind
You can read on with that Psalm and see the Majesty of our Awesome God
He stretches out the HEAVENS – shamayum /shaw-mah-yim/ heavens, sky, abode of the stars, the visible universe
To give you an idea of the Awesomeness of our Ruling God … in your study this week, he explains the Heavens. Let me summarize. It’s 93 million miles to the Sun. IF that distance was represented by the thickness of a piece of paper, you can stack paper 71 feet high to the nearest star. You could stack 310 miles, here to Chicago to reach the edge of our galaxy. Now, there are 10.4 million sheets of paper in ONE mile high. And to the edge of our KNOWN universe that stack of 10.4 million pages per mile would be 31 million miles high.
That means our universe is 299,832, with 18 zeros after it, miles … and it is ALL for HIS benefit … he stretches it out … he keeps it stretched out for HIS benefits and when he is finished he will roll it up and recreate it
HE IS AWESOME
Do those numbers blow your mind?
Is 40:13-14 – who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge?
Who directed God?
No One …
His purposes and ways will always be completed. Because he is the Awesome and Ruling Powerful God.
If you want YOUR way … You better line your way up with HIS way and you will GET YOUR WAY
Behold the Dominion and Essence of God Comes
With Authority to Rule
3. With Reward and Recompense
OH I finish quickly … but when he comes he comes with what is DUE
Matthew Henry says “He brings along with him, as a returning prince, punishments for the rebels and preferments for his loyal subjects
The word here is sakar /saw-kawr/ hire, wages, reward
That is when you turned to Christ, he promised you everlasting life, he promised us rewards in heaven. He promised us blessing and I guarantee he will pay what he has promised. Jesus uses this illustration in Matthew 20 when he talks about a landowner calling to some unemployed men in the morning, at mid morning, at mid day, in the middle of the afternoon, and at the last hour. They each receive his invitation to join him at work and at the end of the day, he pays them all what he has promised.
Have you ever been promised pay and then not get what you were promised? Have you ever been laid off?
Not our Awesome God!
V 26 – lift your eyes and look to the heavens…
Some of us are too busy looking around for our rewards. We have our gaze to low. We have our hopes set on earthly things
Colossians 3:1-2 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on thigns above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Your reward is not HERE so don’t be looking around for it
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reward here
Lift your eyes to the Hills
You won’t be short changed by God because of his great might, because of his great power
V26 reminds us that nothing he holds is EVER MISSING. His reward is WITH him … so wait for the Lord he has your reward
The word pâ’ullah /peh-oo-law/ work, recompense, wages - recompense means “to return in kind, to give for service rendered, or damage incurred”
When he comes we will be repaid for anything we have lost for our service to him
When he comes we will be given an overabundance of the same kind of good we have done to and for him.
But if we reject him he will give to us what our rejection also has earned us.
V21 says do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
We know who he is v22 – he is on the throne over all things
We know he thus has the RIGHT v26 says he is the creator of all
We what is expected – we are without excuse v21 – we have always known it is written in our hearts we know it even when we reject it
We know that he knows all of his creation by name v26 and will call us out one by one by name and call us to account for our lives
He comes … with reward and recompense
Behold our AWESOME GOD …
He comes with Power, with Ruling Authority, with Reward and Recompense
So be comforted because THAT God … That AWESOME God … loves us, provides for us, Created, cares, carries, conducts and will come for us … and THAT is AWESOME!
Isaiah 25:9 In that day they will say “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation”
THIS IS OUR GOD
Powerful to create, care, carry, conduct, and create
Ruling heavens and earth and the affairs of men
Rewarding what has been earned by our life or what has been awarded because God’s Grace
This is our God!
Thursday – Dt 10:17 meditate on the Great, Mighty, Awesome God
Friday –Isaiah 40:10-11 meditate on the Creator of the ends of the earth (Is 40:28)
Sat/Sun –Psalm 33:8 – meditate on Ruler over all kingdoms (2 Chron 20:6)
Monday – Psalm 111:9-10 – meditate on God who keeps his covenants and lovingkindness (Neh 9:32)
Tuesday – Psalm 145:5-6 – meditate on Lord Great and Awesome God (Dan 9:4)