Big Enough To Be GOD
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord…” Isaiah 55:8-11
Hyperbole – exaggeration, overstatement, overemphasis, inflation, embellishment.
Exaggerated speech can in effect be a form of lying because it expands the truth beyond its meaning. It is generally intended to expand the significance of something in the eyes and minds of those whom one wishes to impress.
God has no one He needs to impress and He does not lie. So His words are spoken with great economy and precision. Jesus said,
”It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63
And in Numbers 23:19 the Word is clear.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
No Word of God is insignificant or trivial. Each is an exact expression of His will and purpose.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16
This is not to say that there is no imagery in the bible intended to be representational of practical and applicable ideas and concepts. There are, such as the parables that Jesus employed to convey ideas rather than merely literal directives for the people. When He told the disciples He would make them fishers of men, He did not intend for them to put worms on fishing poles and go out casting their lines in the crowds to catch people in the jaw and sling them into the church or throw out their nets to trap people by the hundreds and dump them in the boat.
The analogy was intended to give them a familiar image to relate to their commission to gather in as many people as possible into the Kingdom of God. But their fishing poles would be their message of Jesus, the Good news of the Gospel and their nets would be the Holy Spirit working with them to convict the hearts of men to acknowledge their need for a Savior.
Here are some examples of the precise speech of God that to our ears can often sound like hyperbole but they are not. God means what He says.
Consider these for starters:
Peace that passes all understanding — Philippians 4:16
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
What does peace that surpasses all understanding mean? It means that this level, this dimension, this condition of peace cannot be fully explained by human rationale alone. It is beyond our understanding. In other words it is a peace that is so profound that we can’t explain why? We can only joyfully embrace it and be blessed by it.
Hope against hope — Romans 4:18-19
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…” Romans 4:18 -20
There is a hope that is anchored in God’s Word, that goes beyond any hope that we have in just an emotional sense. It is hope that is sustained over time despite the condition of things or people or circumstances to the contrary. It’s hope that rests in God’s promises, period! When everything seems hopeless, hope against hope says, “It doesn’t matter how things look now, I trust God’s Word. He said it. He will do it.”
Exceedingly abundantly above all — Ephesians 3:20-21
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
This passage is arguably the most broadly, all encompassing and expanded expression in all the Scriptures. Think about it. Above all is comprehensive on its own, but then added to it is abundantly above all. Not just barely or moderately, but abundantly above all. Now if that were not enough there is added to it exceedingly abundantly above all.
Above all means there is nothing higher. Abundantly means a lavishly, profusely measured portion. It is already significantly higher than just above all but then to take it even more out of the realm of comprehension by saying exceedingly abundantly above all is to put it beyond the scope of all measure.
Now all of these are modifying “all that we could ask or think.” Most of us have vividly extravagant imaginations. But here, God says our imaginations are no match for what He can do, no matter how wild and outside the box we think or comprehend.
Knowing this, it is surprising how many believers don’t live their lives with that level of expectation of God’s promises being fulfilled in their lives. Even many otherwise sincere prayers that are prayed are done so in ways that appear to not want to put too much “pressure” on God to fulfill them. Many believers who have walked in faith for many years still do not comprehend the enormity of God’s heart and desire to bless us and fulfill His Word in “biblical proportions.” Even though there is nowhere in the Scriptures where God promises to do the least He can to answer our prayers.
This is not to criticize anyone’s sincerity in praying, but rather to encourage us to see God as He has revealed Himself, not according to our level of comfort in addressing Him. In fact, He has given us the right and the privilege to ask Him about anything that He has created. If we are not sure about what He has promised we can find the answers in His Word and He will confirm it by the Holy Spirit working in us.
“Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” Isaiah 45:11
There is no limit to what God will do in our lives particularly when two or three of us agree together in asking Him for anything in Jesus’ name.
How small is the need? Too small for God’s attention? Not according to His word. How Large is the circumstance? Too large for God to change it? He knows the number of hairs on your head. He provided food for a widow, for her son and the prophet with them. He fed 5000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. What’s the limit of your trust or expectation?
Ok, you and I can believe God did those things and we may even believe that He does them in places far away, but do we honestly believe and expect Him to do them for us, in the place where we live, no matter how modest or extravagant? If we don’t, we should, because He is no respecter of persons, rich, poor, ethnically diverse, male or female, young or old. He responds to us on the basis of our faith not the condition of our bank accounts, race, sex, age, nationality, political party, religious affiliation or any limiting human identity. If we would only take Him at His Word we would see wonders and miracles abounding all around us daily. Angels are God’s ministering spirits sent forth to minister for us as the heirs of salvation, and they do, but they are commissioned to move at the utterance of His Word.
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:14
“Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.” Psalm 103:20
But when we are not speaking or trusting in His Word when we pray, we can be missing the greatest blessing of His promises, because we have not believed that His Word is as big, as powerful, as deep as wide as high as all encompassing, as incomprehensible in its promises as it appears to be.
Here is another Biblical “extravagance” to ponder.
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over — Luke 6:38
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
This scripture has been one of the major foundations of my faith since I was born again on April 5, 1977. I was taught, heard and believed this scripture for the first time with understanding that day. But, my understanding then was still sorely limited to the condition of my financial poverty at the time. I was broke and in debt more than I could imagine ever paying off. I hadn’t been attending church regularly at all and was living, as my Mom used to say, from hand to mouth. I kept it as much of a secret as I could for appearances sake but I knew and God knew. So, all I could think about was trying to get out of debt. But there was so much more to understand about giving and receiving.
Over the years the Lord has profoundly expanded my comprehension and understanding or how much bigger His promises are than my thoughts were at that time. But, even then, He blessed me far more than I expected.
Let’s look at this. Good measure is, simply speaking, measure for measure, dollar for dollar. You get back at least what you put in and then some. Pressed down means it’s loaded to the top and packed in in such a way that a considerable amount more is included. Shaken together removes all the pockets of air so that it is densely filing its container. Running over is just simply extravagant in a continuing stream of excess. Like water running into a container and overflowing the container in a continuous stream more and more.
This is not Biblical hyperbole. It’s not colorful embellishment for effect. It’s the precise expression of God’s Holy intent to bless those who give. It’s His joy and pleasure to give what He has created for His sons and daughters to enjoy. He has all. He has created all. He loves us all and there is nothing He desires to withhold from us.
His greatest gift to us was Jesus Christ our Lord. All other things are just additional blessings.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32
Giving motivated by love is fundamental to God’s nature and character. He so loved the world that He gave His Son, Jesus Christ. After Him, there is nothing more valuable in all creation. So, the measure of God’s extravagance in prompting generosity in the hearts of His people toward one another and particularly toward the poor is consistent with His promise of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Never penury, never just scarcely enough, never less than the need, and always more, much more than enough!
Can you imagine how much joy would be in the body of believers if we all began to live with the earnest expectation that all our prayers are prayed with confidence in God’s extravagant answer to our needs and the needs of those for whom we intercede? How many more healings would we see? How many more salvations and deliverances would we see? How many more miracles? How many more successes? How many more restorations and provisions would be manifest among us? How much more of God’s presence would be revealed in our worship?
And these are just a few of the blessings He has promised to and for us. We’ll look at more tomorrow.