Mars Hill Staff Devotional
Your God is Too Small
by Ray Stedman
In the wake of hurricane Sandy, we discussed “storms” . . . how they affect us, God’s role in them, finding God in them, etc. What do you think? How should we view storms from a Biblical perspective? We concluded by reading Ray Stedman’s devotional on this subject.
Read the Scripture: Job 36-37
God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? (Job 36:22)
Elihu’s final word to Job is a great and beautiful passage in which he sets forth in marvelous language the glory of God. It runs from chapter 35:22 through chapter 37. First, God is beyond human instruction. Notice how he begins: God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? Then, he reveals another important fact in chapter 36:26: God is beyond human understanding: How great is God beyond our understanding! Finally, Elihu reveals in 36:30-31 that God acts beyond the rigid categories and reasons of humans: See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance. God uses His natural powers for both blessing and judgment alike.
And then, beginning with chapter 37, we have such a marvelous description of a great electric storm that many of the commentators feel that this was an actual occurrence, that a storm began to break out at this moment, and Elihu used it as a vivid example of what he had been saying about God. If any of you have ever been out on the prairies and seen an electric storm break out, you will know what a terrifying and awe-inspiring experience it is–with the lightning crackling and splitting the sky and the roaring of the thunder. It is a magnificent experience, and this is what Elihu begins to describe in verses 2-4: Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
Then he speaks of how God sends the snow and the rain; he sends tornadoes, the whirlwinds, and the frost; he controls the cycles of the weather. Next time you are watching a weather report on television, and the broadcast shows a satellite picture, notice how it appears in spirals. This is what Elihu refers to in verse 12: At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.
Then he tells us why: He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water his earth and show his love(Job 37:13). God has many reasons for doing things; we are not always certain what they are. God’s wisdom is inscrutable. He goes on, Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze? (Job 37:18) Job can do none of these things.
All the way through the Bible, from beginning to end, the only man or woman who ever receives anything from God is the one who comes with a humble and contrite heart. If you think you have something to offer Him or that you have achievements that nobody else can equal, you cut yourself off from the wisdom and knowledge of God. But those who come humbly, contrite, waiting upon God, asking Him to teach them, will find that God will pick them up in grace and power and glory and restore them.
Lord, thank You that in Your majesty and power You are also a God of grace and mercy.
Life Application: Do we try to reduce God to manageable size, and compete with him for control? Or do we humbly receive him as our Father-provider and our Savior and Lord in Jesus?
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to http://www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.