June 28th, 2015
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The oceans of the world contain more than 340 quintillion gallons of water (that’s 18 zeros), yet Isaiah 40:12 says God holds them “in the hollow of His hand”.
The earth weighs 6 sextillion metric tons (that’s 21 zeros), yet in Isaiah 40:15 says, God says it is but “dust on the scales”.
The known universe stretches more than 30 billion light years (200 sextillion miles), but Isaiah 40:12 says God measures it by the width of His hand.
Scientists claim there are at least 100 billion galaxies and each galaxy is made up of about 100 billion stars (that’s 10 billion trillion). To such mind-boggling math Isaiah 40:26 reminds us that God calls each star “by name”.
If you ever should doubt God’s unmatched power this should dispel it.
God is all powerful. Nothing escapes Him. He holds all things in His hands. Certainly if He can take care of the immeasurable things we just heard, He can take care of the concerns you and I face.
We see them as insurmountable. He sees them as nothing. It’s all about perspective. And from His perspective they are as a futile as a speck of dust trying to overtake the universe.
Nehemiah 9:24, “Their children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; You gave the Canaanites into their hands, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased.”
We see how God went before them to “subdue” their foes. The word “subdue” doesn’t quite cut it for me. It just doesn’t seem to have enough teeth to it. I prefer the words “vanquish, overcome, & conquer”, which is what subdue means. God is a superior force to all He confronts. The opposition has no choice but to submit, bow, and yield.
God went before them to fight their battles. He completely overcame their enemies.
This passage is very clear in that the people merely went in to collect the spoils, to organize behind God’s already done deal, and to possess what God had laid in their hands.
Their job was to simply do whatever was in their heart to do with the land, the goods, and the peoples
God had already conquered before them.
This is power. And this is the God we serve.
God is still in the subduing business. There are many things in our own life that are bigger than us that we need God to go before us and subdue, to vanquish, overcome and conquer.
Fortunately for us, the Bible describes to us many things God still “subdues” on our behalf. He’s not left us to fend for ourselves. God goes before us. He fights for us. He is on our side!
First, He subdues our enemies
Psalm 81:13-14, “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!”
God can and will easily conquer our enemies, but He has an “if” He’s placed in there.
He promises as we follow His ways and take heed to Him, that He will quickly conquer and vanquish all of our enemies.
We may think that the enemies of our life are many and varied, but we really only have one enemy who manifests himself through a variety of people and circumstances, and that’s satan himself.
He is the enemy of our soul, and his job is to steal, kill, and destroy, to wreak havoc in our lives.
He’s been around since the beginning of mankind doing his job.
He showed up as a serpent to deceive Adam & Eve.
He filled with jealousy the brothers of Joseph to sell him into slavery.
He worked through Ahab & Jezebel to challenge and threaten the prophet Elijah.
He tapped into the rage and religious zealousness of Saul to have many Christians imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
And he tempted Jesus with power, riches, and the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would but only bow to him.
We even see today how he uses people, their hatred, their prejudice, their religious zealotry, their perversions, their greed, their selfishness, their anger, to lash out and act out in ways towards others that are a direct attack on the things of God; His love, His compassion, His desire to have relationship with His creation, His giving, His purity.
Satan hates all of that, and will do all he can to thwart movements in that direction.
He’s the enemy of our souls, believers and non-believers alike.
God is saying, “Trust in Me. Walk in My ways. And I will quickly vanquish your foes before you.”
Even though sometimes it may seem like it, people are not your real enemy. Satan is your enemy.
We must love people as Christ loves them. As Christ loved us even in our sin so we must look past the appearances and lifestyles to the soul that needs redeeming and love them into the kingdom.
You are allowed to hate satan. You can despise him, detest him, and utterly disdain him. You don’t have to give him an ounce respect. You don’t have to pray for him. His fate is determined. His doom is assured. He deserves nothing but the hell that is prepared for him and all of his demons.
But we must love people. Reject their sin. Don’t agree with their lifestyle choices. Don’t compromise God’s Word, not one iota. But love as Christ loves. Pray for them. They are NOT your enemy. They are souls Jesus died for. They are your potential brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Listen to Jesus’ words on this subject. Luke 6:27-36, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
God has made a way to defeat satan through the love of Jesus Christ. When He gave His life on the Cross, that ultimate act of love conquered satan.
So now the love of Christ in you is greater than he that is in the world.
John was speaking about false, evil, worldly spirits in contrast to the true Holy Spirit when he said these words in 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (the demonic, false spirits of satan’s camp), because the one who is in you (Jesus) is greater than the one who is in the world (satan).”
So we don’t hate people, but we love them with the love of Christ, but we despise satan, realizing the love of Christ in us has conquered, vanquished, and placed under His feet, and therefore our feet, the enemy of our souls.
That’s the powerful God we serve!
Second, He subdues our sin.
Micah 7:18-19, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Satan is not sin. He tempts us TO sin, he is the embodiment OF sin, but satan is not sin. Sin is separate enemy altogether.
The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory.”
Sin is a ruthless foe. It is an act of willful disobedience. Our flesh is constantly drawn to it. Satan the tempter will make sure of it. From the littlest white lies to the most heinous of crimes and actions, our flesh has the potential to act out in a myriad of sinful ways.
Sin is our enemy. We have no power in our own strength to conquer it. But thank God He has made a way through Christ to subdue sin.
Christians know this verse by heart, John 3:16. That’s the Gospel. And that’s the powerful love of God for you and me.
As Jesus came to this earth to conquer satan by His power, He also came by His power to conquer the ruthless, relentless foe of sin and create a path for us to be forgiven and have restored relationship back with God the Father.
Sin separates us from relationship with God just as the Atlantic Ocean separates America from Europe, or space separates the Earth from the moon. Without a trustworthy mode of transportation it would be impossible to get to either. But as man has constructed boats and planes and rockets to get to places that were in centuries past only a dream, so God has provided a trustworthy way to enjoy a restored relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
It’s funny, our pursuits in life are most of the time pleasures, fame, fortune, advancement, ease, and happiness, among other things. But God’s singular pursuit is this, just this one thing – YOU.
He misses you. Longs for you. Desires relationship with you. But cannot because of our sin. He won’t tolerate it and won’t inhabit anywhere where there’s sin in control.
You are His highest creation and His singular pursuit. There are many things in this world that are calling for our love, time, and attention. But these things didn’t die for you. These things don’t care to have a loving, eternal relationship with you, these things can’t give you real peace or rescue you from the ruthless enemy of sin. Only God can. And He’s wooing us with His love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Jesus conquered sin on the Cross. The power of His work has made it possible for us to have a restored, loving relationship with the all-powerful God who holds the oceans in the hollow of His hand.
That’s the powerful God we serve!
So God’s power is displayed in His conquering of satan and of sin. And finally we see that one day…
He will subdue our mortal bodies.
Jesus came to conquer satan, to conquer sin, and to conquer death.
Hey, this old body isn’t our permanent home. It’s not really us. It’s just a shell! Who we REALLY are is inside of us, our spirit man. It’s our spirit that will live forever.
Jesus will display the ultimate power in our lives when, at death or the Rapture, we will be swallowed up in victory.
1 Corinthians 15:50-57, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We have nothing to fear today. They may kill the body but they cannot kill the soul. The Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Jesus has conquered, vanquished, and utterly defeated death!
And listen to this bonus –
Philippians 3:20-21 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
It says here Jesus is able and is right now subduing, conquering, vanquishing ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF. And 1 Cor. 15:28 says one day Jesus will present all that He has subdued, which is everything, to God His Father, so that all things will eventually and eternally be under Him.
This means Jesus is conquering nature, the stars & galaxies, the atmosphere, the animals, the oceans, the weather, the governments, the kingdoms, the riches, and on and on and on, unto Himself and will present it to God one day so that all that USED to be under Him, but was impacted by rebellion and sin, will again be under Him entirely redeemed, all because of and through the work of Jesus Christ!
Jesus came to redeem mankind and ALL OF CREATION back to God. And He will accomplish it.
Almighty God is all powerful and has given authority to Jesus Christ to subdue all things as it relates to us- satan, sin, and death, plus ALL THINGS, which means everything!
THAT’S the powerful God we serve!
1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
In light of God’s all-powerfulness, How do we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord?
Let me close this Faith Notes with this illustration.
A clump of marble in my hand is just a piece of glass, but marble in Michelangelo’s hand will get you a magnificent statue of David, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A violin in my hand will get you some squeaky noise, but a violin in Yo Yo Ma’s hand will get you the music of a master, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A football in my hand is worth about $50, but in Cam Newton’s hand it’s worth about 100 million dollars, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A tennis racket in my hand is a dangerous weapon, but a tennis racket in Venus Williams’s hand is a Wimbledon champion, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A golf club in my hand means ‘look out!’ but a golf club in Arnold Palmer’s hand is a golfing champion, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A rod or stick in my hand will fight off the dogs, but a rod in Moses’ hand will part the Red Seas of your life, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
A slingshot in my hand is just a kid’s toy, but a slingshot in David’s hand will stop the Goliaths in your life, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
Spit and clay in my hand might get you some mud cakes, but spit and clay in Jesus’ hand will open up the blinded eyes, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
Two fish and five loaves of bread is a couple of fish sandwiches in my hand, but the same fish & loaves in Jesus’ hand will feed the multitudes, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
Nails in my hand might get you a birdhouse, but nails in Jesus’ hand is salvation for the whole world, because it all depends on whose hand it’s in.
Let me encourage you today to place your life in the hands of the man who has all power over satan, sin, and death, and give yourself fully to the work of the One who measures the whole universe with the breadth of His hand.
THAT’S the powerful God we serve!