Summary: God is bigger than all of our problems. He is big enough to be worthy of our faith.
February 3, 2002 Hebrews 11:29-30
“Is God big enough to trust?”
“It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined, who went to see the elephant (though all of them were blind), that each by observation might satisfy his mind. The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl, “God bless me! But the elephant is very like a wall!” The second, feeling of the tusk cried, “Ho! What have we here, so very round and smooth and sharp? To me ‘tis mighty clear. This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear!” The third approached the animal, and, happening to take the squirming trunk within his hands, thus boldly up and spake: “I see,” quoth he, “the elephant, is very like a snake!” The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee; “what most this wondrous beast is like is mighty plain,” quoth he; “’Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.” The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, said, “E’en the blindest man can tell what this resembles most. Deny the fact, who can, this marvel of an elephant is very like a fan!” The sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope, than, seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope, “I see,” quoth he, “the elephant is very like a rope!” And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long, each in his opinion exceeding stiff and strong, though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong.” – John Godfrey Saxe, quoted in James Gilbert Lawson, The World’s Best-Loved Poems
Three months ago, we began an examination much like these 6 blind men. We too wanted to examine something very big with very limited resources. We have spent a great deal of time studying one chapter of the Bible. And if as we near completion of this study, I was to ask each of you what this one chapter is about, you might give me one of several answers. Some of you would tell me that the chapter is about the great heroes of the Bible. And it is true that their stories are told here. Some of you would tell me that it is about great events in the Bible. And many of those are recorded here. We will look at two of them today. And still others of you, the more spiritual ones, would tell me that the chapter is about faith. The writer begins the chapter by giving us a definition of faith “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) and says that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6). But I want to suggest to you today that none of these – not the heroes of faith, the events of faith or the substance of faith – are the main focus of what we must see in this chapter. It is something much larger than any of these. It is the cause for faith – It is God Himself. The writer wants us to get an understanding of what God is like.
That is a difficult task – even more difficult than 6 blind men trying to understand a big elephant. For you see, we are not only hampered by the fact that we are at least partially blind, but also by the fact that God is invisible and the fact that God is much bigger than the biggest elephant who has ever walked the earth. But God has given us some help to enable us to understand Him.
"Mommy, what does God look like?" asked 5-year-old Timmy as he put down his peanut butter sandwich & took a big swallow of milk. "Well, God is a Spirit & we can’t see Him in the same way that we see people," his mother began, not knowing quite where to go from there. "But if we can’t see Him, how do we know what He’s like?" he persisted. "Well, suppose you were blind," she suggested to Timmy. "Would you be able to see Daddy, for instance?" He shook his head. "But would you know what Daddy is like?" He thought for a moment, then vigorously nodded his head. "You’d know what Daddy is like by the things he says [and the things he does], wouldn’t you?" He nodded again. "And we know what God is like, too, by the things He says in His Word [and the things he does]. And you’d know that Daddy loves you, because he would tell you so & do everything he could for you. That’s how we know God loves us, too. He tells us so, & He has given us so much to help us have a wonderful life. But most of all, He gave us Jesus to take away our sins & to show us what God is really like…That’s why, even though we can’t see God, we can be very certain what He is like."… – Melvin Newland