“Might makes right” is an old adage that equates size and power with correctness, referring to the fact that those in control make the rules. This size may be attributed to military strength, more powerful weapons or sheer numbers. Consequently, each of us struggles with being in the minority, which places us in situations beyond our control. We worry about the outcome of many seemingly large problems:
• Am I going to lose my job?
• Will I have enough money to pay the bills?
• Will I die from this disease?
• I am so lonely and I cannot see any solution.
Yet each situation is smaller than we imagine it to be if we serve the one true God.
In the Bible, many different stories point to God demonstrating that He is singly and unequivocally in control of every situation, regardless of the size of the opposition. Remember a young David, who would become King of Israel, battling the 9 foot-9 inch Goliath with a sling and five smooth stones. David rightly said, before facing the giant without fear, “the battle is the LORD’s.” Another example involves the Assyrian King Sennacherib. His troops surrounded Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32), and the people were dismayed that they either would be taken into captivity or killed. But Hezekiah, the King of Judah, tore his clothes, a symbol of humbleness, and went to the Temple to pray to God, asking for deliverance. In the middle of the night, an angel of the LORD killed 185,000 Assyrian troops. Another Old Testament example tells us of a time when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He offered a challenge to the far more numerous prophets. Both Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal would take a bull, chosen by the prophets of Baal, and both would prepare that bull for sacrifice by cutting it into pieces and placing it on the wood. Then each would call upon the name of their god to light the fire and burn the sacrifice. The 450 prophets called upon their god, but there was no answer.
27 It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” 28 So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. 29 When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
1 Kings 18:27-29 (NASB)
Elijah then followed his taunts by placing his bull on the altar. He then poured 12 pitchers of water upon the bull and the wood, to make it even more difficult to burn. Then Elijah spoke to the LORD and asked Him to demonstrate that He was the God of Israel. Immediately, fire came from heaven and consumed the bull, the wood, the stones and the dust.
In each situation, the humble defeated the mighty. We do not have to be larger, smarter or more powerful than our enemies. We just need to serve and honor the God who is all of those! God never sleeps. He loves us so much that He cannot take His eyes away from us. Think of a 3-year-old boy asleep in his bed, after wreaking havoc all day. His parents walk down the hallway and look in on that boy, sleeping peacefully, with eyes of adoration. Our God sees the past, the present and the future. He does not just look at our sin, thankfully, for He already has handled that for us when He sent His Son to die for those sins. If we have chosen to follow Jesus, then the sins of our past, present and future already have been forgiven. Certainly, His grace is sufficient for me, for you and for all the rest of the world!
Many people believe in God, but do not believe He has anything to do with our daily lives. They are rightly estimating His powers of creation, but completely underestimating His powers of love. As Jesus said when explaining God’s love to His own disciples,
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:7-11 (NASB)
A Catholic woman explained that the reason she prays to Mary instead of to God is that God is so busy! Each of us similarly places the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God in a smaller box, assessing an earthly limit on what He is capable of accomplishing. He is not limited by the natural laws He created! Many claiming to be Christians scoff at the virgin birth of Christ, claiming that the Hebrew word for “virgin,” (alma, עַלְמָה,) could just as easily be translated “young maiden.” In fact, the LORD offered to convince Ahaz, the unbelieving King of Israel, of His power. King Ahaz claimed that he would not test the LORD, and failed to come up with a request for a sign. Isaiah, though, offered His own sign to demonstrate God’s power. Isaiah said:
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
Isaiah 7:14-16 (NASB)
Isaiah offered King Ahaz an ostentatious miracle. What kind of miracle would it have been for a young maiden to conceive? That happened many times daily! But a virgin conceiving, that is another story entirely! God can do anything! Well, He can do almost anything. He cannot lie (or sin in any way). And He cannot make us love Him. That is what free will is all about. Think of a powerful and evil dictator. The people under his control may serve him, but it is not out of love, but self-preservation. Instead, God has demonstrated His love to us by becoming one of us.
Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey shared a wonderful analogy of a moral, non-believing farmer. His family was attending Christmas Eve services, but the farmer felt that by attending, he would be a hypocrite, as he did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. While home alone, a few birds broke through a large window, and struggled on the ground. He tried to help the birds, but they were fearful of him. As he approached them, they could not fly and recoiled as far away as they could get. He tried to come up with a solution, and thought, “If only I was a bird, they would trust me.” Just then, the church bells rang, and this farmer finally understood one of the reasons that Jesus came, though the difference between God and man is far greater than the difference between man and bird!
A new year is beginning. Tradition tells us to make a resolution, and find some aspect of life to change. Many people go on diets or attempt to quit another bad habit. Instead, consider this. Let your resolution become a deeper understanding of God. He is so big that He created all that we can see and all that we cannot see, and simply breathed it all into existence. If we gather all of the world’s greatest thinkers together, their combined brain power would not be .0001% of the knowledge of God. The apostle Paul described what occurs when we overestimate our own intelligence in Romans 1:22, “thinking they were wise, they became fools.” A fool has said in his heart that there is no God, and sadly, believes that he is the god of his own life. When God sent His Son to die on the cross, He not only conquered sin for us, but conquered death, as well. He built a bridge connecting the wide chasm between God and us, by paying the sin debt each of us have created with our lives. As the New Year begins, do not underestimate Him. He can forgive any sin, heal any sickness, make joy out of any sadness and calm any storm. He can perform any miracle, give eyes to the blind and give ears to the deaf. He can love the unlovable. But He will not make us love Him. That is a choice, and the best choice to begin a New Year! And similarly, do not overestimate Him! Do not think of God as so immense and so distant that He does not know anything about you. He knows the number of days in your life and the number of hairs on your head. He knows every sin you ever will commit, even the ones you think are secret. He knows your name. He knows your heart. He wants you to know His name and know His heart!
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11 (NASB)
Happy New Year!