The Greatness of God #4
Follow up to Week 3 Preview of Week 4
Tell a small group around you …
1) How would you define Awesome? Did God show himself awesome this week? Share
2) Share your response to Activity 2 on p40 – or Write One Now
3) Activity 3 p43 – share and reasons
4) Are you more familiar with God’s Imminence or Transcendence? Why?
5) Share answers to activities 1,2,5 or 7 on pp51-53
First 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”
Last week’s Memory Verse –
Isaiah 6:3 – “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
This 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”
This coming week’s Memory Verse –
Romans 8:28 – “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
Mountain Top in Isaiah this week
Sovereignty - Some thoughts
1) Don’t compare God’s Sovereignty to anything you know or understand about Sovereignty
2) God lives in the Eternal Now
3) God of Authority + God of Mercy = Tension for us
4) God’s Purpose is not for you to be healthy, wealthy and wise. His purpose is for you to be like Jesus and he can use all things toward this end … you WILL get there –
5) Part of the problem is we bring our definition to the table for Love or Compassion or Sovereignty
6) Circumstances are like tools in the hand of our conforming and transforming, loving God
7) Helen Rosevere – “can you thank me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why?”
8) Betsie (sister of Corrie ten Boone) “no pit is so deep that he is not deeper still” – she had also said that God wrote “Ravensbruck” across the blueprint of their lives (the death camp they lived in during WW2 where she died.
9) will we fight the word written or even the God who wrote them or will we live grandly and graciously in the house our Lord built for us
About God’s Sovereignty from Norman Geisler’s
1) God is Prior to all
2) God Produced all
3) God Sustains All
4) God Transcends All
5) God Knows All
6) God can Do all
7) God Owns All
8) God Rules Over All Things
9) God Is In Control of All Things
Three Important Necessities for God to Be Sovereign
1) Omniscience – Knowing All
2) Omnipotence – All Power
3) Omnisapience – All Wisdom – meaning he knows the end AND the BEST MEANS to the END – also not just COMPLETE Sovereignty but PROPER Sovereignty
One more thing before we see our scripture
If you claim to understand God’s Sovereignty and all it’s implications
1) You are fooling yourself and you are more limited than you think you are
2) you don’t know God very well – because God is beyond our knowing
3) you are making it all about you – I need to understand, I can understand – because it is all about him and not you or me
Let’s Read our Scripture and Make some Observations
READ Isaiah 45:1-13
Some observations to take with you as you study this week
1. God is Directing This World
“ Cyrus … whose hand I take hold of” – do you see God … taking a child by the hand and leading him where he wants him to go … That is Cyrus …
à God will make Provision for his purposes – v2
à He will Provide the necessary Resources – v3
à He will Reveal himself v 3
2. God Alone is God
Can you say that about a million times this week --- The boss is NOT God … my Child is NOT God … that glass ceiling is not God –
à He can use ANY tool willing or unwilling, knowing or unknowing – v5
à The Purposes at Work are Bigger than You – v6
3. God’s Purpose is ALWAYS at Work
à the perceived Outcome does not define who is in charge
Form Light – yatsar – form, fashion, as in conception
Create Darkness – bara’ – shape fashion, of new conditions and circumstances
Bring Prosperity – ‘asah – fashion, accomplish, produce and act with effect
Create disaster – bara’
I, DO all things – asah – IN ALL THINGS God’s Purpose is Accomplished though he may directly do it or use circumstances and situations to bring it to pass yet still we must wrestle with his purpose at work his active hand or permissive hand …
So what do we do?
à Seek Him as the Source of Righteousness in the Midst of Good or Bad v8
à Don’t Fight His Purpose v9
It is useless …
Enjoy being a creation
4. He Has the Future Well In Hand
à Don’t Question the Father’s DNA v11
“why does your kid have Brown Hair?” Is that the best you could do?
à Don’t Question the Craftsman’s Handiwork
“why would you paint that”
“why did you build it that way”
à Look at his Previous Work and Trust his Current Work
Would you look at the Grand Canyon and ask “Lord why did you carve this out there?” “This shade would have looked better”
Can you look at the beauty of the moon and not question the placement of the craters? Can’t you just enjoy the beauty?
If you were building a skyscraper and you had hired the architect of the Willis Tower, would you ask him, “why does this steel go there?” or would you just trust him from his previous work that he knows what he is doing? Worse yet, the question is alright, but to insist it be different … look out
5. A Final Example from OUR Vantage Point v13
Imagine how terrifying each new conquering Kingdom was for Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, Cyrus … each was strong enough to destroy the previous. But God told them 150 years earlier – Cyrus is Coming … He won’t know me … but I will know and direct him
- Make his way straight
- Rebuild the City
- Set Exiles Free
- NOT FOR A PRICE … but Jesus because God chooses to move him – it will be “out of his heart” as moved by God …
Can you imagine Daniel … He Knew his Bible! He knew the Promises.
So when Cyrus shows us … don’t you know Daniel said
“excuse me, what did you say your name was?”
“Oh we’ve been waiting for you!”
God is Sovereign
God Is ABLE to do what he says to complete his purposes
You can Trust him, you can believe Him
Read these words from 150 years after Isaiah’s Prophesy
Ezra 1:1-4 (NIV)
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”
From OUR Side of the story, can you see it?
Can you Trust it?
Can you READ Revelation and Trust our God to work it out?
Can you trust him in Promotions or in Layoffs?
Can you trust him in health or in Sickness?
Can you trust him in Life or in Death?
Yes You Can
He is Able
He is Sovereign
Let’s Pray -
Thursday – Rom 8:28 - meditate on the Sovereign Lord – Isa 40:10
Friday –Isaiah 45:6-7 - meditate on the The One causing well-being and calamity Isa 45:7
Sat/Sun –Isaiah 45:5 – meditate on The head over all rule and authority Col. 2:10
Monday – Isaiah 45:9 – meditate on Jesus Christ Ruler of the kings of the earth – Rev 1:5
Tuesday – Isaiah 66:2 – meditate on Our only Master and Lord, Jesus – Jude 4
Thomas Aquinas’s Response
God is the efficient Cause of all things, and all effects preexist in their efficient cause; thus, whatever exists must preexist in God. He knows Himself perfectly, and to know Himself perfectly entails knowing all of the various kinds of perfection in Himself, as well as those who can participate in His likeness. Therefore, it follows that God knows whatever exists or will exist perfectly insofar as they all preexist in Him (ST, la.14.5).
God knows everything in one eternal Now, including the past, present, and future, and He knows the future before it happens in time. So when time changes, God’s knowledge does not change, since He knew in advance it would change. In other words, God knows what we know, but not in the way we know it; that is, in successive time frames. God knows the whole of time from (in) eternity, but He knows what is before and what is after the present momentum (now) of human history (ibid., la.14.15). He knows the whole series of temporal moments in His one eternal Now.
God does not know things sequentially, since He is timeless and knows all things eternally at once. Nor can God know things inferentially, for He is simple and knows all things through the oneness of Himself (ibid., la.14.7). Therefore, God does not have to wait for things to happen before He can know them: He knows them eternally in Himself as the primary Cause of all things, including the power of free choice. In brief, God knows the created effects in Himself, but not through other things in a discursive way (ibid., la.14.7 ad 2). He knows them this way because, again, all effects preexist in their first Cause.
God not only knows all things in and through Himself, but He also causes all things by His knowledge, for God causes all things by His being. His Being is the cause of all other beings, and God’s Being and His knowledge are identical. Hence, God causes all things by His knowledge, including future free choices (ibid., la.14.8).
Further, God’s knowledge is not simply of the actual; He also knows the potential. He knows both what is and what could be, for God can know whatever is real in any way it can be known. Now, both the actual and the potential are real—only the impossible has no reality (ibid., la.14.9). Thus, God cannot know what is impossible to know, since contradictions do not fall under the omniscience of God. However, God can know future contingents; that is, things that are dependent on free choice. The future is a potential that preexists in God, and He knows whatever exists in Himself as the Cause of those things (ibid., la.14.13).
Therefore, as the omniscient Being, God necessarily knows true future contingents. This He can do because He knows necessarily that what will be must be; that is, if it will be and God knows it, then what God knows about what will be, must happen. The omniscient Mind cannot be wrong about what it knows; therefore, the statement that “everything known by God must necessarily be” is true if it refers to the statement of the truth of God’s knowledge, but it is false if it refers to the necessity of the contingent events (ibid., la.14.4).
In summary, God has infallible knowledge from all eternity of everything that would ever occur, including all free actions. This infallible knowledge does not diminish the freedom of the creature, since God knew for sure (i.e., determined) what they would freely do (i.e., by free acts). Consequently, no contradiction is involved with God’s complete control of the world in advance; He has absolute certainty of how everything will turn out, including our free choices.
Geisler, N. L. (2003). Systematic theology, volume two: God, creation (558). Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers.