Summary: An exploration of God’s wisdom, power and love, and how they work together to accomplish His purposes.
His Wisdom, Power and Love
February 13, 2005
What do you think of when you think of the word “power?” When I think of power, many different things come to mind. When we’re working here in the office and a thunderstorm moves through, I think of electrical power...because often we don’t have any.
Electrical power is vital to our daily lives, and we often don’t realize how important it is, and how much we take it for granted, until we don’t have it.
The other thing I think of is nature...which, of course, we as Christians know is created by, and under the control of, our heavenly Father. I think of earthquakes.... I think of tornadoes...I think of lightning and thunder...I think of hurricanes...
In recent weeks, we cannot think of the power of nature, without thinking about tsunamis. What we note about the power of nature is not just its awesome look, but its power to literally change the landscape, and as a result, to change lives.
One of the other things we think of when we think of power, of course, is the power of God. Even then, we tend to think of the spectacular. We think of mighty creative acts. We tend to think of amazing miracles.
Here’s a Random House dictionary definition of power...for our purposes this morning, I’ve highlighted four of the definitions:
1.ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.
3.great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force.
4.the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men’s minds.
7.delegated authority; authority granted to a person or persons in a particular office or capacity: the powers of the president.
—Syn. 1. capacity. 3. energy. See strength. 4, 5. sway, rule, sovereignty.
Though it’s sometimes not the case that our modern-day usage of a word corresponds fairly closely with the biblical use of a word, in this case, power as dictionary-defined, and power as viewed in the Word of God, are actually very similar.
dunamis (doo na mees) is one of the Greek words translated in our various English translations as power. It means literally – to be able.
All the words derived from the stem duna – have the meaning of being able, or capable. It may even mean to will.
Another theological dictionary says:
“Power is an English logical construct referring to a variety of ideas relating to ability, capacity, authority, and might or strength.”
This Greek word is the word from which we get our English word dynamic.
1. pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful
So, power is a key concept in scripture. The Theological Dictionary of the Bible explains it this way:
In Greek thought, power was portrayed as a major cosmic principle.
“Greeks viewed God and cosmic principle as equivalent. It was rare for them to speak of “the power of God” since these ideas were nearly equivalent. In the Bible, however, God is a person, and not merely power. Therefore, a phrase like “the power of God” takes on new meaning, because a person who possesses the characteristic of power is the prime mover of the universe. Furthermore, the biblical deity is a God of history, not just nature. Therefore, this God brings the world into existence, and distributes power to people to fulfill his historical purposes (Exod 15:6, 13; Deut 3:24; Pss 46:1, 86:16). The biblical description of power relates primarily to God and people.”
That’s the view of power I want to look at in scripture this morning. While God’s mighty acts of creation, His superintendence of the power of nature, and His amazing miracles in Scripture, and in our own time, are awesome signs of His power, it’s even more amazing to me when I consider how this Awesome God, a God who’s omnipotent ....that means all-powerful....when I think of how our omnipotent God, works in people, through people, in ways we can sometimes see, but also, in ways that are transparent to us, to accomplish not only His grand scheme of history and redemption, but also, to get to that end, by accomplishing His specific purposes in each and every individual life.
Even the mighty things He does, the amazing miracles, and yes, even the acts of nature, are designed in ways we can sometimes see, and in ways we cannot understand, to impact His plan with people, with groups of people, individual people, or both.
Let’s ponder this today. The apostle Paul pondered this great truth, and it caused Him to fall to his knees in worship before God, as we’ll see in a moment.
Our God is an Awesome God...I’m calling this message this morning Awesome God, in part because when we sang that Rich Mullins chorus last week during worship, I was already working on this morning’s message, and I pondered this phrase in the song...