“GOD IS GREAT, GOD IS GOOD” By Pastor YAU
Psalm 103:8-13 February 25, 2007
1) A childhood prayer: In the olden years, many American children grew up saying a prayer before supper like this: “God is great and God is good, let us thank Him for this food.” Most of the children said those words countless times without stopping to consider what life would be like if God were not both great and good. Without His greatness to maintain the order in the universe, the galaxies would be a huge junkyard of banged up stars and planets. And if there is no goodness of God to keep orders of this world, the earth will be ruled by the biggest bullies.
2) Meaning of the prayer: Even though the prayer is for children giving thanks to God for food, the words great and good carry profound meaning to two of the attributes of God: His transcendence and His immanence. Transcendence means that his great power is beyond our comprehension. Immanence means His nearness to us is close than we can understand. He is such a powerful God beyond any measure. Yet this most powerful God is humble enough to stay close to us beyond your imagination. We need both of the greatness of God to sustain our everyday life in general and His goodness to give us hope and comfort when life is dark and fearful in particular.
GOD IS GREAT: How great is our God is hard to imagine or explain. Let’s try to find out something we human cannot do but are essential to the nature of God so we can see how great He really is.
1) Begin with His creation: Even though there are people who still believe that the universe came into existence as the result of a big bang, many scientists who have the ability to know facts of the universe and the courage to believe in a divine creator. They had given testimonies and speeches, written books and reports, believe in their own hearts that there is a God who created all there is in the universe, including us, body and soul. 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul described the creation and its relationship to human beliefs in a great God in Romans 1:19-20, “Since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse.” Countless description on the greatness of God in creation can be found through out the book of Psalms.
2) Then His omnipotence: Omni means all, potency means powerful. This is another important attribute of God: He is all powerful or the Almighty. By subscribing to the belief of an Almighty God, we believe that He has all the power to do all things without any need of outside assistance or condition. Creation is the best illustration of His power. Maintaining the order of the universe is another. This all powerful God even extends His power through His Son Jesus Christ to all his followers so we can claim as Paul did, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) As the angel declared to Mary, “In Him everything is possible,” (Luke 1:37) we can trust in the power of this Almighty God.
3) And His omniscience: “Science” means knowledge or knowing, so the omniscience of God means God has all the knowledge and is all knowing. He has all the knowledge of all things, ancient and present and future. He knows everything and everyone and nothing or no one can hide anything from Him. He knows how things operate. He knows the good and the wicked. He knows our needs and pain. He even knows the most secrets in our hearts. King David acknowledged the all knowing of God in Psalm 139. He said, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise and perceive my thoughts from afar.” (vv.1-2) Finally David affirmed that God even knows the thoughts of his heart. (vv. 23-24)
4) Finally His omnipresence: The all presence of God is more than an attribute but both a warning and a comfort to men. It is a warning to those who might think they can hide from the presence of God as David said in Psalm 139:8-12, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depth, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn and if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me and hold me fast.” For those who need God, His presence is a great comfort. King David had the first hand experience when he said, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)
GOD IS GOOD: If we apply the greatness of God in His ability to do things beyond our imagination, then the goodness of God is the ways He shows us when He does those things. No one may point out all the ways He shows us His goodness. Here are some of the more common ones we all can see and feel, experience and testify to their truthfulness.
1) The foremost, His love: Love is the first aspect of God’s goodness all can see. No one can quote all the references in the Bible to prove that God is love. The most recited and memorized verse of the Bible, John 3:16, tells us the ultimate act of love God showed to the world by giving His son as the sacrifice for our sins. Paul explained God’s love in Romans 5:8 this way, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." In explaining the amazing love of God to the Ephesians Christians, Paul said, “You may have the power (ability) to grasp (understand) how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpassed all knowledge.” (3:18-19)
2) Next, His forgiveness: Love and forgiveness are both sides of the same coin. The fact that human parents forgive their children without limit is because of their unlimited love to them. Look at the way God forgave the people of Israel and the way Jesus forgave those who rejected him and put Him to death on the cross, you will see the immeasurable love God has for us demonstrated in forgiveness. King David said, “God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."”(Psalm 103:10,12)
3) Then His provision: The history of the O. T. gives us countless proof of God’s goodness in providing needs to his people. From leadership to strategy, from food to water, from pillars of fire at night to shadows of clouds in the daytime. God provided the abundance of material possessions in the Promised Land, (Deut. 6:10-11) a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:8 and 18 others) In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught His disciple to trust the goodness of God in providing their daily needs. Jesus explained the goodness of God to the early believers in Matt. 7:11, “Though you are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?”
4) Finally His salvation: The ultimate demonstration of God’s goodness is His plan of salvation for man. Peter told us about the compassion God has for all the people in 2 Peter 3:9, “God is not slow in keeping His promise. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Before He was crucified, Jesus promised His disciples of His plan of eternal life in heaven. He said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me. Wherever I am you will be with me also.” (John 14:3)
ENJOY HIS RESOURCE: Knowing God is great and good is one thing, getting into that resource to enjoy it is quite another. Here is how?
1) Accept the invitation: God in the O. T. invited His people to come to Him and enjoy all the resources He had to offer for free. In Isaiah 55:1-2 He said, “Come, all you who are thirty, come to the water; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the riches of fare.” Jesus, in the N. T. also invited us to come to Him to share His resources. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Want to enjoy God’s unlimited resources? All you have to do is accept His invitation: Come! God will never withhold any good thing from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11)
Trust His greatness: This is another lesson we must learn to enjoy God’s abundant
supplies: He can do all things. God has the power to give Abraham a son anytime
He wants to but he won’t come until Abraham was 100 years of age, way beyond
human ability to have children. God can cause water to flow from rocks, stop to
flow in River
3) Trust His goodness: Just as good parents never give everything their kids ask but give them the best and most appropriate, God treats us the same way. He may not give everything we ask but will always give us what is best in His judgment. Jesus confirmed the goodness of God in Matt. 7:11, “Even you, thought, are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who fear Him?” Trust Him, He knows the best even in times we don’t get what we ask. Sometimes what we asked may not be the best and He can’t give it to us for our own good.
4) Trust His schedule: This is a difficult lesson for many of us: when we want something from God, we want it now. But God is bigger than us. He doesn’t run things according to our schedule. Often times, He keeps delaying to answer our prayers and we just can’t wait. In fact God never delays without reason. When God delays His answers, either it is because time is not right or lessons we haven’t learned. Trust Him: He knows exactly the best time to answer our prayers. Never too late.
1) More than a routine: Don’t take “God is great and God is good” as a routine of belief. Take that as personal and practical. God is great and good to you personally and He is great and good in all aspects of your life. It’s more than something we believe, but something we live with each day.
2) Don’t be empty-handed: If you return home from a treasure island empty-handed, you need to feel sorry for yourself. Now you know God’s greatness and goodness but refuse to get connected with Him and draw everything you need from him, you need to feel sorry for yourself too.
3) The greatest you can have: And that is the gift of eternal life when you believe Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Confess to him all your sins and ask for His forgiveness. He will forgive all and grant you all the blessings in this life and eternal life in the life to come.