Summary: Man has always sought unlimited power. God has given believers just that. What is this power that God has given us, and how do we avoid squandering it?
I) The search for unlimited power has been constant theme of history.
A) Politically, we see this in attempts throughout history to rule the world. For example, Alexander the Great ruled Greece at the age of sixteen and soon set out on a conquest that saw him ruling most of the known Western world. But with all of that power, he found himself powerless against the simple fever that killed him at the age of 33.
B) In the physical realm, we see this search for power exemplified in the quest for perpetual motion, for a machine that can do endless work without refueling. Pierre de Maricourt made one of the earliest efforts to create perpetual motion in 1269, designing a method to keep a wheel in motion with magnets. Ultimately his efforts failed, as have all attempts since.
C) The search for unlimited power is seen even more clearly in the metaphysical realm. Mankind has sought throughout history the power to control events through witchcraft, sorcery, and the occult and has sought the power to foretell the future through astrology and fortune-telling. This quest is personified in the legendary character of Merlin in Camelot, who “youthens” instead of growing old, and therefore has already lived the future and thus has knowledge of it.
D) The common theme in all of these efforts is failure. Man has sought limitless power in every way imaginable. But all have failed to find it.
II) Incredibly, we, of all mankind, do have an unlimited source of power available to us!
A) Nahum 1:3-6 describes a power that can cause an entire ocean to dry at a single word and can shake even the very mountains. “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, And dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, And the flower of Lebanon wilts. The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him” [NKJV]. The source of that power, of course, is God.
B) Job 26:7-14 tells us that as great as we see that power to be, what we see is only a small part of it. In Matt 19:26 Jesus said, “with God all things are possible,” and Genesis 18:14 tells of God asking Abraham the rhetorical question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
C) As Christians, we have this very power made available to us. In Eph 1:15-19, Paul tells the Ephesian church that his prayer is that God might open their eyes to truly understand just how great is God’s power that He directs “toward us who believe.” And in the third chapter of that same letter, in verse 20, he speaks again of the unimaginable power of God “that works in us.” “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” [Eph 3:20-21, NKJV].
D) Take a close look at that passage. Paul says that God is able to do everything that we ask. I could ask some pretty extraordinary things, so that is quite a statement by itself. But Paul goes further to say that God can not only do anything I might ask, but is able to do even those things that I might think, but that might seem too absurd to ask. But Paul doesn’t stop there; he says that God can do “above all that we ask or think.” But not just above all we ask or think, but “abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Then, just to make sure we get the idea, he says God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” And all of that power, he concludes, “works in us.” Christ has power we can’t even imagine, and is willing to use it “for us who believe.”
E) Let’s consider briefly some of the powers that God makes available to us.
III) God gives us the power to foresee the future.
A) Even Merlin could only see forward to the day of his birth as an old man. In contrast, we know through God what will happen at the very end of time as this world knows time.
B) Is 46:9-10 tells us that God’s power to know future is unlimited. “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done….” From the beginning, God has known and declared what the end will be. We need only listen and believe to share that knowledge. Oh, it won’t help us play the stock market, or even tell us how many grandchildren we’ll have. But God shares with us complete knowledge of something so much more important–our final outcome.