Sunday, February 26, 2017

GOD IS EVERYWHERE ! (Knowing God Part VI) 2 Chronicles 16:1-9

God Is Everywhere!
“Knowing God-Part VI” 2 Chronicles 16:1-9, 02/26/2017
Introduction: It was 1986, for the very first time I left India on an overseas trip to Philippines to attend a YWAM conference. Up until then I had never flown on an Airplane. In the flight, I had motion sickness, and felt miserable. After several hours of flying, we reached our destination. I was so sick, so I stayed back in my room and the rest of the team went off to attend the conference. Here I was all by myself, in a foreign country, sick like a dog, missing my mother, and my home country. While laying miserably in the bed, I wondered where is God! Was he still there with me as He promised that He would? Or had He stayed back in India? As I was wrestling with those thoughts in my mind, all of a sudden I sensed so vividly God’s presence in that room, right next to me in my pain and misery. What an assurance flooded into my spirit, knowing that when God is with me, I can never be lonely.
            Can you remember a situation where you felt all alone, a time when you felt that there was nobody around for you? Maybe it was a time when you moved to a new town. Maybe it was going to college for the first time. Maybe you have been on a business trip to another city or state. Maybe you are at home and everyone happens to be gone for the night and nobody you know is available to hang out. Whatever the situation, you are feeling entirely alone. Maybe you are even wondering where God is when you are having this feeling?
            Well the fact of the matter is, is that you are not alone. God is near you. In fact, no matter where you are or what you are feeling, even when you don’t sense him, God is there. In our Journey of Knowing God, we have learned that God is All Powerful, God Knows All Things and today we will talk about the Omnipresence of God, which means: God is Everywhere. 2 Chronicles 16:1-9. You may have a head knowledge of this truth, but have you experienced it?
            Before we go further let’s deal with this Latin word “Omnipresence” the dictionary definition means, “present in all places at all times.” Synonyms of Omnipresence are:  all-pervasive, everywhere; boundless, infinite; prevalent, far-reaching etc. When we talk about the Omnipresence of God we are talking about his ability of being present everywhere at the same time, and at all times. However, there is a stark difference between the biblical view of Omnipresence and the Pantheistic view.  The word Pantheism in short, means “all is God.” This is the view that between God and the universe, there is no difference. They are one and the same thing. As a result, every person, object, animal, plant, and grain of sand is in one way or another, God. This view is largely held by Hindus, Taoists, and various New Age movements.”

I OMINIPRESENCE OF GOD: (God is Everywhere)
            Where as in Christianity the divine attribute of omnipresence describes that God does not have size or spatial dimensions but is present at every point of space in his entirety. For this reason, God is not the universe and we are not God or any part of him.[1] In other words, humans can never become God. That has been the deception since the Garden of Eden, remember what the serpent told Eve? When you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.”  That deception is still in existence in some religions.
            When we say, God is omnipresent we mean that everything both the known and the unknown universe and all it contains is in the presence of God or in God’s eye sight. Let me illustrate, as a child, I used to think my mother was omnipresent. She has eyes all over her, nothing would escape her view, and it seemed like as if she was present everywhere at all times especially when we were a bit mischievous. That may have been the understanding of the OT people of God being everywhere, which can be frightening and comforting at the same time.
            When we read the scriptures the picture we get is that nothing escapes God’s eye sight.  God’s eyes are everywhere keenly observing what is going on in the world. Consider the following scriptures: Proverbs, 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.” Jeremiah 16:17, “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.” Zechariah 4:10, ““Who dares despise the day of small things, since “the seven eyes of the Lord” that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”
            The seven eyes of the Lord appear here in Zechariah and again in Revelation 5:6. The seven eyes represent the sevenfold ministry of the Holy Spirit or the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
What is the purpose of God’s eyes roaming throughout the earth? From the passage, we read in II Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” A bit of context and history would be helpful.
            Under King Asa’s reign things looked brighter in Judah. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD. When Asa was attacked by an enemy on one occasion, he cried out to God saying, II Chronicles 14:11“Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.” God was pleased by Asa’s reliance on Him, so he struck down the Cushites before Asa. and Judah. A number of years later, the northern King, Baasha came up against Jerusalem. But unlike before this time Asa made a treaty with the king of Aram. God was not pleased with Asa. Hanani the prophet confronts Asa, telling him that because he had not trusted in God, there would be continual wars. In the end, Asa dies not trusting God.
            From these passages, we learn that God, wanted his people, especially the leaders to trust him and seek him when they are in trouble, for he alone can deliver his people from all kinds of trouble. The encouragement we receive from this scripture is that, God is watching over his people, and when they are fully committed to him and when they cry out to him, he comes to their rescue and strengthens their faith.  God is delighted when we seek him and his Kingdom first. On number of occasions, I drew strength and comfort from God as I meditated on the fact that He is watching over me. He is there by my side, and He is going to protect me.
            But the skeptics will have hard time to understand this truth, they might ask, if God is Everywhere, then why can’t I see him? One reason why we cannot see God’s physical manifest presence is that his face shines brighter than the Sun. (Rev 1:16) The Apostle Paul encountered the presence of the glorified Jesus he became blind for three days (Acts 26:14). The Evangelist John when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet as though he was dead. Revelation 1:17
            These few incidents explain what happens to us when we try to see God, so out of his pure mercy and grace God curtails himself. Do you remember, when Moses asked God that he might see his glory, God said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see my face and live, so I will put you in a cave and cover the cave with my hand when my glory is passing by you. Once I passed the cave and I will lift my hand, you be satisfied by just seeing my back.” Ex 33:20-23.
            If no one could see God in all his brilliance and live, then how can we ever have a relationship with Him?  That is why Jesus, the exact representation of God came into this world to show us God. Jesus said, if you have seen me you have seen God.” The moment we accept Christ as our savior we are welcomed into God’s amazing presence. What we know off God today is only partial, and we see only today a reflection as in a mirror, but a day is coming when we shall see him face to face.  What a glorious that would be?  I am looking forward to that day.
            I get very excited talking about this wonderful truth of God being everywhere, but what does that mean for our day to day life? How is this truth going to impact our decisions and priorities? Firstly, the sheer awareness of God being everywhere and he sees and knows everything must make us tremble with fear of God. Hebrew 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Secondly, since we have established the fact that God is everywhere and sees and knows all our problems we can be at rest knowing that He is going to take care us. This is the most comforting thought in our Christian faith.
            Thirdly, when we come together on Sunday morning to Church, the thought of Emmanuel, God is with us, should excite us in releasing ourselves in praising and worshipping God who inhabits the praises of his people. (Psalm 22:3) “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel (ESV) In other words when we praise God will show up and be with his people.
            You know what will happen when God shows Up, right? He takes control of whatever is troubling you. When God is with you, you can smile at the storm. Let me share a real-life story of someone who was inspired by the awareness of God’s eyes are upon her. In 1905, a beautiful Hymn “His Eye on the Sparrow” was composed by Civilla D Martin. Here is a part of the Hymn, “Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me….” Civilla was inspired by the truth of three scriptures, Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they”?
            Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Civilla was attracted by watching an elderly couple experiencing these eternal truths of the gospel. Listen to what led Civillia to pen the words of this hymn. “Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nearly twenty years.
            Mr. Doolittle was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience.
            What a powerful story of faith and trust in God whose eyes are always upon his children. Let me close with these assuring words of the Psalmist who often amazed by God’s ever abiding presence. Psalm 121: 5-8, “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Amen




Sunday, February 19, 2017

GOD KNOWS ALL THINGS (Knowing God- Part V)

“Knowing God-  Part V” Isaiah 40:21-27

Introduction:  Have you ever looked up to the sky on a full moon, star light night and wondered at the stars?  Have you ever tried to count the number of stars? Well the astronomers make that job easy for us. Galaxies are sprawling space systems composed of dust, gas, and countless stars. The number of galaxies cannot be counted—the observable universe alone may contain 100 billion. Some of these distant systems are similar to our own Milky Way galaxy, while others are quite different. Galaxies with less than a billion stars are considered "small galaxies." In our own galaxy, the sun is just one of about 100 billion stars.[1]
            How many galaxies are there in the unobservable part of the universe? How many total number of stars might be in all those galaxies? Another estimation was, 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way's estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a "1" with 24 zeros after it. This number is likely a gross underestimation, the universe may contain more galaxies. Who knows?
            Is your head spinning, trying to wrap your mind around these staggering number of stars in the universe? The Astronomers couldn’t come up with accurate numbers, let alone giving each of the star a name. But for someone this is nothing, because he created them, he not only counts them, but calls them by name and the best part is that all these trillions of stars come out marching as they receive the orders. The Psalmist marveled at this mysterious wonder of God in creation. The prophet Isaiah was amazed at the enormous power of God, his immense depth of knowledge over the universe, precision to details and his close involvement with people he has created for a relationship. We have read about it in Isaiah 40:21-27
            We have been on a journey of Knowing God. Last week we learned that God is all powerful. Today we will learn that GOD KNOWS ALL THINGS. Before we go further let me explain this difficult word “Omniscience” It comes from two medieval Latin roots omnis (meaning "all") and scientia (meaning "knowledge"), you'll get omniscient, meaning "knowledge of all." The Webster Dictionary meaning is: “having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight.” Based on these definitions the word omniscience of God is the principle that God is all-knowing; that He encompasses all knowledge of the universe both the past, present, and the future.  God’s understanding has no limits.
            The scriptures rightly begin with these three Hebrew words, “Bereshith, Bara, Elohim” In the beginning, the Almighty God created the heavens and the earth.  As we know in the garden there were two trees, one was the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the other was the tree of life. The tree of knowledge was designed as a test of obedience. Our first parents were to choose whether to obey God or break His commandments. When they actually ate from the forbidden tree the consequences of their actions became self-evident. Coming back to our study at first look, the idea of the omniscience of God may seem to be a simple concept—God knows everything. But the more we study the Bible, the more we come to understand what an incredible truth it is.   

             Last week we looked into Elihu’s discourse with Job. He closed his argument by asking Job, a few questions. Job 37:15-16, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” If Elihu were to ask you the same question, do you know the wonders of the one who has perfect knowledge, what would be your answer?
            The God of the Bible is portrayed as the God of all knowledge.  The Hebrew noun Daath means: knowledge, insight, intelligence, understanding, and wisdom. It occurs 93 times in the Hebrew OT. Consider these scriptures that speak of God’s knowledge: Hannah after receiving the gift of a child in Samuel, gave thanks to God. Her prayer included these words, “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.” I Samuel 2:3
            Job in his response to one of his friend’s argument about how fleeting is the triumph of the wicked this is what he had to say, “Can anyone teach God knowledge, in that He judges those on high?  Job 21:22, (NASB) In the Message Bible, it reads, “But who are we to tell God how to run his affairs? He’s dealing with matters that are way over our heads. (The Message)
            The Psalmist wondered about how bare and exposed his life has become before the God who knows everything about him. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, you know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” Psalm 139:1-6
             Can you imagine what would be the implications of this scripture? When we know, that He knows how we spend our time, money, our thoughts, words and actions, what should that do to us? It should certainly put some fear of God in our hearts, isn’t it? This scripture also gives us a reason to come out before God honestly and acknowledging our sins, and seeking his mercy and forgiveness since he knows our sins anyway. Is there anything we can hide from God?
            Let’s see what we can find from the passage we read from Isaiah.  A bit of background here would be helpful. Prophet Isaiah began his prophetic career during a time of relative peace and prosperity under Judah’s kings Uzaiah, and Jotham, but before long, conditions deteriorated, especially on the international scene. Assyria became a superpower and deported Judah’s sister kingdom Israel later on ravaged the Judean country side, and Jerusalem itself almost fell. 
            During such turmoil and unrest Isaiah preached a message of hope for a repentant Judah who would trust in the LORD. Isaiah chapters 1-39 deals primarily with events during his lifetime but the later part of the book is all concerned with the future.  Isaiah 40 begins a major section that looks ahead to Judah’s return from Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C.
            In this passage, Isaiah describes the immense power and the in-depth knowledge of God over nature and his people. In Vs 22, we read about the vantage point of God and what should be the proper perspective of man. “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” Let me illustrate, during my air travels I used to be fascinated by the take offs and landings of the Airplanes. I would be amazed by the disappearing sights of cars, people, buildings, and mountains as my Airplane was lifted off defying gravity and tearing through the clouds.  All of a sudden I find myself above the ground and above the clouds.
            From that hight I would look down and hardly see anything except the mountains and clouds. It was a great place to be in. All of a sudden, all those people who used to trouble me were out of my sight. Nothing troubled me anymore. I seemed to be floating above all the earthly pressures and problems. I felt like I was on top of the world. During those moments, my heart was filled with gratitude and I felt deeply connected with God. It was a wonderful, once in a while experience, that came with a heavy price tag. It’s been a while since I flew last time!
            But you know what, you can have that experience daily, 24X7, and the best part is that it is free, you don’t have to pay for it. I love the heavenly perspective the Apostle Paul was giving to the Ephesian believers.  Ephesians, 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together  with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
            God is freely inviting us to come and sit with him where he is seated.  From that place, sitting next to him now he wants us to look down upon the earth and all our problems, all of a sudden you will have a right perspective of how Great, Powerful and Knowledgeable our God is and how small everything else is. Coming back to our passage here we see God’s challenge to man. He is challenging us to lift up our eyes and see the starry hosts, the display of his power and the scope of his knowledge.  He counts the stars, he calls each of them by name, he leads them by number and he keeps them together. He further challenges us with these words, Vs 25“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.”
            In the passage, after the display of God’s depth of knowledge, he kind of rebukes his people for their lack of understanding and perception. Vs, 27 “Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, my way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Let me bring this to our context. Just like Judah and Israel, it is natural for us to forget the greatness, the power and the knowledge of God when we are steeped in problems. They seem to be like huge mountains trying to drown our heavenly perspective. We grumble and complain to God saying, God, do you really know my situation? Can you see my problems?
            Do you even care what I am going through? and so on. God’s response to us is, what do you mean I don’t care? What do you mean I don’t know your situation and see your problems? Of course, I do! But do you know, that I have the perfect knowledge of your situation? Do you know that I have all the power to get you out of your trouble? That is the real challenge. Do you remember, what God said to Job when first confronted him? We read it in Job 38:1-2, “Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said, “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Then he goes on to bombard him with “do you know questions” At the end of the grueling questioning, Job had nothing else to say except this.
            Job 42: 1-6 “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore, I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore, I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”
             I want to conclude with the following statements: No matter whatever problems you might be going through, be assured that God has perfect knowledge of your situation. If you are given to complaining, grumbling and questioning God without knowledge, like the children of Israel and Job, you need to stop, repent and ask God forgiveness. God knows all your struggles, your fears, and your overwhelming challenges, and he wants you to know that he deeply loves you and cares for you. Finally, God is inviting you and I to come and be seated next to Him in the heavenly places and work with him, taking his wise counsel to overcome our troubles. My prayer for all of us is that we will run to our God by faith and find refuge in Him. Amen




Sunday, February 12, 2017


“Knowing God-IV” Job 36:26-33 & 37:5-6
Introduction:  Ravi Zacharias in his book “Has Christianity Failed You?” shares his experience of watching NFL Football game to illustrate how great and big our God is and how small and manageable our problems are. “Some time ago, I attended a football game in my home city of Atlanta. Through the courtesy of one of the players, we were seated close to the team’s bench. Years before, I had watched a game from the nosebleed section, and I remember thinking how small the players looked and how vast the playing field appeared. This time, however, I was so close to the players that I could almost hear them breathing, and I was quite surprised by how big they were and by how small the field really was.” [1]   
            Similarly, when we are far away from God, every problem looks like a mountain and everyone looks so intimidating. But when we come nearer to God He becomes huge and everything else all of a sudden becomes so small and manageable.  Ravi, goes on to say, “When we are close enough to the Jesus of history that we can look at history from his perspective, we actually see how mighty and strong he is and how navigable life is with him as the captain.”
            We have been on a journey of Knowing God. Today we will look into one of God’s most wonderful attribute that we all must know. “GOD IS ALL POWERFUL.” Job 36:26-33 & 37:5-6 If you have been to a seminary, bible school or attend Pat’s Bible classes you may have heard terms like, “the moral and natural attributes of God.” The theologians have identified several moral attributes such as, God is love, patient, merciful, righteous, gracious etc and three natural attributes. Today we will look into one natural attribute. “God is All Powerful.”

            There are nearly 7.4 billion people on planet Earth, but according to Forbes, only 74 men and women make the world turn. Forbes' annual ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People identifies one person out of every 100 million whose actions mean the most. Out of the 74, three are the most powerful people of 2016: Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Angela Merkel.[2]
            Vladimir Putin ranks number one among these three. They may have a lot of influence in the day to day affairs of the world, very well get what they want and even think of themselves invincible. But what do the scriptures have to say about these so called powerful people? They are just like anyone of us, mere human beings. The scriptures use some interesting metaphors when it comes to describing the brevity and incompetence of human beings: mere breath & passing shadow, Psalm 144:4, a phantom or an image, Psalm 39:6, grass & flowers, Psalm 103:15, Fish in the sea, Habakkuk 1:14, sheep, Isaiah 53:6.”
            The most humbling metaphor used is, dust, Psalm 103:14, to describe what happens to all humans in the end. On our final day, the minister pronounces from Genesis 3:19, “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” These scriptures do give us an accurate picture of our position on this earth. When we realize how small we are and how BIG our God is, hopefully our bragging will be replaced with worship and praise of this awesome God. The scriptures say, the heavens “cannot contain him,” but I wonder how he can reside in this little heart of mine?
That is the mystery! The focus of our study however is not about how small and incapable we are but about how BIG and Awesome, our God is.
            The theologians use a Latin word “Omni Potence” to describe God’s power and greatness. The word "Omni-Potence” means "All-Powerful. It is the quality of having unlimited or very great power. Other synonyms: all-powerfulness, almightiness, supremacy, preeminence, supreme power, absolute power, unlimited power; invincibility. Is there anyone human being rightly possess these qualities? The answer is an emphatic “No” Only God is attributed with this most powerful quality. In the OT two Hebrew names were given to God Elohim and El-Shaddai.
                Elohim is a Hebrew word that denotes “God” or “god.” It is one of the most common names for God in the Old Testament, starting in the very first verse: “In the beginning [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The name Elohim occurs over 2,500 times in the OT. The basic meaning behind the name Elohim is one of strength or power of effect. Elohim is the infinite, all-powerful God who shows by His works that He is the creator, sustainer, and supreme judge of the world. El Shaddai, for example, means “God Almighty” (Genesis 49:24).
 In the OT, people often having seen the acts of God first hand, called God by that act.
            There are many scriptures that talk about God’s greatness and his immense power. I chose somewhat unfamiliar passages from the book of Job 36:26-33; 37:5-6. The context of this passage is very well known to Christians. The name Job might have been derived from the Hebrew word for “persecution” thus meaning “persecuted one” or from an Arabic word meaning “repent” thus bearing the name, “repentant one.” Job was a righteous man, raising his family in the fear of God, but all of a sudden, he encountered all kinds of trials and troubles.
            Without any fault of his own, Job unfairly lost his wealth, health, children and even was ridiculed by his own wife who said, “curse God and die” Yet Job did not sin by his mouth. We will pick up the story where Job’s three good friends come to console him in his misery. We often talk about the discourse between Job, his three friends and God. But we seldom give attention to the wise council and the strongest defense regarding the power of God that came from the fourth person, named Elihu.
            What do we know about Elihu? We know him as the son of Barchal. He was probably present for the discussions between Job and his friends. He was the youngest of the four. He had been standing on the sidelines, giving deference to age and so compared to their age and wisdom he had hesitated to speak. But now he is ready to show that both Job and the three other counselors are in the wrong.
            Let me make a remark here. “wisdom does not always depend on the chronological age of a person, at times young people too exhibit great wisdom and restraint. So, at times it pays of when we are humble enough to listen and learn from young people.” Coming back to our text, Elihu though he was only partially correct in his assessment of Job and his suffering, yet seemed to have great deal of understanding when it came to God’ greatness, his justice and righteousness. In the verses, we read he highlighted God’s dealings with nature and mankind.

II. GOD’S POWER OVER NATURE: (Vs 26-33 & 37:5-6)
            Elihu started off his argument on a right note. Vs 26, “Behold God is great and we know him not;” His advice to Job who had been complaining about his suffering, questioning and challenging God, was that he needed to stop and see how Great God is in his suffering and worship him. He used a phrase, “We know him not” (NASB). Though we may have a personal knowledge of God in salvation, and experienced his love, and forgiveness, but when it comes to knowing the fullness of his glory greatness, it is beyond our comprehension. In Vs 27-37: 4-6, Elihu gave a picture of God’s power in the rain, and snow storms.
            The scientists may have a different explanation on how rain and snow is formed, here in these verses we see who actually masterminds rain and snow. God draws up the drops of water, they distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down. God causes the thunder and lightning. In ch 37:4-6“After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, Be a mighty downpour.” Later on, God challenges Job with these words, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble for days of war and battle?” Job 38:22-23
            As a young Christian I read this passage several times, but it never made any sense to me. Growing up in India, I never saw snow in my life, until I got married to Wilma. In 1994, in December in Holland, one day I woke up to find myself in a wonderland, surrounded by beautiful, white snow everywhere. It was breathtaking and truly awesome. I know if you grew up or living in New England it’s no big deal. At times, it can be a nuisance.
            But when we stop and pay close attention to these natural elements of hail, rain and snow they teach us how to wonder at the power of God. The Psalmist wondered, “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 1-2. Yet the meteorologists on the weather channels talk like as if they are little “gods” predicting the movements of weather, but do they have any clue about who actually controls the weather, whose commands the wind, the hail and snow follow?
            The scripture says, that God counts the stars, calls each one by name and they obey him.
Who can fathom the mighty works of our God? All we are capable of is to clean up the mess of God’s fury. In insurance language, the natural calamities: Hurricanes, floods, hail, tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes and tornados are all considered acts of God.
            Why does God allow these calamities to happen?  God often uses these natural sources like rain and snow to teach human beings who actually is in charge, or who has the final word.
In Chapter 37: 13-14, this is what Elihu, have to say, “He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.” There is so much we can learn from scriptures about the power of God. It suffices to know that “God is all powerful.” Next, time when you are shoveling snow or skating on the ice, look up to the sky and be in awe of our mighty God.
            God is all powerful to cause a situation either to turn in our favor to show forth his love, or against us in order to discipline and build our character. Without exception, in life we all go through tough times, unfair treatments, and undue suffering. Sometimes they are a result of our wrong choices, or may be the devil is out there testing us like in the case of Job or may be God himself lovingly allowing them to happen to us to form us into the image of His son.
            If you are complaining about your difficult situation you need to listen to the advice of Elihu to Job, Vs14, “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.” Life is all about having a right perspective. So often we stand in awe of problems, looking into the great unknown, wanting to go forward, and get out of those problems... but fear seizes us, and doubts cloud us. And that is when we must know how powerful our God is and learn to trust Him. When we learn to trust our Great God in the midst of the great unknown, then our trust in God will grow and we can undertake any challenge life and people might throw at us. Is the fear of the unknown future gripping your heart today? 

Remember, when God becomes BIG in your life everything else becomes small. By faith when we entrust our lives totally in to the most powerful hands of God, we have nothing to fear, nothing to lose and nothing to worry. Amen


[1] Ravi Zacharias, Has Christianity Failed You? Chapter, “Who is Jesus”

Sunday, February 5, 2017


 I John 4:7-17 02/05/2017
Introduction: February month has begun! It’s a month of love where we hear these three magic words, “I love you.” The consumer world seems to advocate we can buy love in the market place.  A minister was speaking to the Sunday school about the things money can’t buy. “It can’t buy laughter and it can’t buy love” he told them. Driving his point home, he said, “What would you do if I offered you $1,000 not to love your mother and father?” Stunned silence ensued. Finally, a small voice queried, “How much would you give me not to love my big sister?”
            An Irish Blessing goes this way, “May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”  What is love? It depends on who you ask you get a wide range of answers. Where did love originate from in the first place? What does true love look like? We have been working through a series titled Knowing God. Last week we learned that God wants us to know Him intimately as a husband would know his wife.  Today we will look at how unconditionally, unlimitedly and unfailingly God loves each one of us. All the natural and moral attributes of God are based on this one attribute, i.e., “GOD IS LOVE!
            The God of the Bible wants his followers to follow him not out of fear but out of love. He is not just full of love, but He himself is love. In the first Epistle of John the word love in its various forms is used 43 times.  In the read passage alone, the word love appears several times. This repeated word love, gives us a window into the kind of relationship the Apostle John, had with his Lord. As we know, John was in the inner circle of Jesus, at times he was seen leaning on the bosom of Jesus. Rightly so John has earned the title, “the disciple whom Jesus Loved.” John emphatically said, twice in I John 4: Vs 8 & 16 “God is Love.”
            John also made some striking statements: Vs 7-8, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God.” In Vs 20, “If anyone says, “I love God, yet hates his brother is a liar.” Can you imagine what powerful implications these statements might have on us? Can we honestly say on one hand we know God, and yet remain unloving and hateful towards others?

            Human love tends to be transactional and conditional. We love those whom we like, and who are good to us. We hate those whom we don’t like and those who oppose us. That is natural. Anything opposite to it, is supernatural, that is God’s love.  There are several conditional promises of God in the Bible, such as, “If you obey me I will bless you, if you disobey me I will curse you.” “Draw near to me I will draw near to you.” If you seek me you will find me” Delight in me, I will grant the desires of your heart etc. Whereas God’s love, comes with no conditions. This is how the Apostle John explains God’s unconditional love. I John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” When it comes to loving us, God always takes the first step.
            Paul explains in Romans the most unthinkable and outrageous way God loves sinners.
Romans 5: 6-8, “You see, at just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the stark difference between Christianity and other religions. 

            What does this mean for us today? No matter who you are, what terrible things you may have done God always loves you unconditionally. He comes to where you are and takes you to where he wants you to be. Isn’t it comforting to know that God has always loved you and he always will. You don’t have to do anything to earn his love, except to receive it by faith.

            Merriam Webster defines unlimited:  Extending indefinitely, no limits, infinite, in exhaustible. The scriptures offer us an unlimited bundle of God’s love. What does it mean? It means God’s love is everlasting, remains forever. It also means God’s love is not only for those who fear him but it is extended to all people everywhere, people of all races, genders and ethnicities. The best part is, that God’s love is free for all both for a saint and a sinner alike.  
            Consider the following scriptures that allude to the fact that God’s love towards us is unlimited: Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” The Psalmist experienced firsthand God’s unlimited love “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” Psalm 103:17
            I can testify to this scripture. Four generations ago my great grandfather turned away from worshipping idols and followed the God of the Bible. The successive generations have experienced God’s gracious provision of his faithfulness and love leading up to my children. My hope and prayer is, that God would continue to bless my children and their children for generations to come. These days I hear a lot of people expressing concern for the future of their children. They we want a better country for their children.
            The only way we can give a better future is not through changing regulations and writing new policies, but by having the fear of God.  When we walk in the fear of God, our children hopefully will learn from us and walk the same path. When we honor God through our lifestyle, hopefully our children will learn to live a God honoring life. Our children observe us keenly, so let’s set godly examples before their eyes and pray that they will follow them.
            God’s love is not only unlimited for believers, but also for non-believers. It is hard for us to understand how God could ever love those who are bent to harm us? Do we get offended when we see God reaches out to Muslims and people of other religions with the message of love and hope? That was the thinking of the Jewish people, they could not digest the fact that God wanted people from all nations to be saved. They wanted to keep God only to themselves.
            God had to bypass that kind of selfish thinking, otherwise you and I would not have been saved. Listen to this, “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son Jesus, whom so ever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This why we do missions, this is why give generously for the work of God both locally and Globally.

            Politicians make a lot of promises during the election campaign. But can they keep all those promises, that is a different matter. But when it comes to God when he makes a promise he keeps his word. God made a promise to David regarding his son Solomon, “I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.2 Samuel 7:14-15. With that confidence, David, said in Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
            Randy Alcorn, in his book If God is Good, shared this story of a faithful father: “In 1988, an Armenian earthquake killed forty-five thousand.  In the chaos one man made his way to his son’s school, only to find nothing but rubble.  Other parents stumbled around dazed and weeping, calling out their children’s names.  But this father ran to the back corner of the building where his son’s classroom once was, and began digging. To everyone else, it seemed hopeless.            How could his son have survived?  But this father had promised he would always be there for his boy, so he heaved rocks and dug, calling for his son by name: “Armand!” Well-meaning parents and bystanders tried to pull him out of the rubble.  “It’s too late!”  “They’re dead!”  “There’s nothing you can do!”  The fire chief tried to pull him away saying, “Fires and explosions are happening everywhere.  You’re in danger.  Go home!”  Finally, the police came and said, “You’re in shock.  You’re endangering others.  Go home.  We’ll handle it!”
            But the man continued to dig, hour after hour—eight hours, then twelve, twenty-four, thirty-six hours.  Finally, in the thirty-eighth hour of digging—a day and a half after everyone told him to give up hope—he called his son’s name again, pulled back a big rock, and heard his son’s voice. “Armand!” the father screamed. From under the rocks came the words, “Dad?  I told them!  I told the other kids that if you were still alive, you’d save me!”
            The father helped his son and thirteen other children climb out of the rubble.  When the building had collapsed, the children survived in a tent like pocket.  The father lovingly carried his son home to his mother.  When the townspeople praised Armand’s father for saving the children, he simply explained, “I promised my son, ‘No matter what, I’ll be there for you!”  
God is more faithful than even this very human father.  We often bring the house down upon ourselves… but even then, He seeks to clear the rubble. Thank God, for he never gives up on you. He has a plan for you and is faithful to carry it out in your life.
            What would be our response to God’s unfailing love love?. Some of you sitting here may have never experienced God’s forgiving love. Some of you may have been following Christ for a long time, yet off late nothing seems to make any sense any more. No amount of bible reading, praying, getting involved in the worship team is able to bring back the spark of love that you used to enjoy between you and God. Everything seems to be flat and dry.

            You feel like as if God has abandoned you. If you find yourself in that situation, you are not alone, as a former NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty notes, you might be going through a Mid-faith ennui or a Mid-faith fatigue. “Mid-faith ennui is not tied to chronological age but to spiritual maturity. If you are striven to know God for a decade or more, you are almost certain to cross a spiritual wasteland.” During such painful moments, we need to recognize the fact that we are deeply loved, and embraced by our heavenly father. We need to hold on to these truths that God’s love for us is unconditional, it is unlimited and it is unfailing.  Amen