01/16/S – Faith in the Magnificent God

1 Chronicles 9:1-16; Acts 27:21-32; Psalms 8:2-9; Proverbs 3:19-20

NT: “Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar. And indeed, God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ So take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭27:22-25‬ ‭CSB)

As Paul, a prisoner of Rome, headed to stand before Caesar, he and the soldiers that were guarding him boarded a ship headed for Italy. It was late in the year (a risky time to sail) and Paul advised them to wait until spring, when the weather was more agreeable – but the owner of the ship, the ship’s captain, and the Roman centurion ignored Paul’s advice and set sail anyway. Just a few days into their voyage, they encountered a powerful nor’easter. For two weeks, they were driven by the storm, severely storm-tossed, and risked either the ship being broken apart by the fierce winds or swamped and sunk by the enormous waves. In an effort to stay afloat, the crew of the ship threw all of the cargo and tackle overboard. When it seemed all was lost, and all hope was gone, God sent an angel to Paul with a word of encouragement. It was necessary and part of God’s plan for Paul to make it to Rome and stand before Caesar… so… even though the ship would be lost, Paul and all who were with him would survive.

Sinking ships and life-threatening storms do not scare God one bit. God’s purposes are not derailed by natural disasters or foolhardy choices made by self-serving people. Though turbulent times may rage all around us… though the string winds of political correctness may try to blow us off course… though it may seem we are riding a sinking ship, if we belong to God and are faithfully serving Him, we have no reason to fear. His purposes will come to pass and the specific plans He has for our lives will be fulfilled… and we may just lead other people to salvation along the way. We just need to place our faith in Him and believe and obey His word. Our magnificent God is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign over all.

Psalms: “From the mouths of infants and nursing babies, you have established a stronghold on account of your adversaries in order to silence the enemy and the avenger. When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet… Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth!” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:2-6, 9‬ ‭CSB)

When you stop and consider just how magnificent… how wonderful… how amazing… how awesome our God is, it boggles the mind to think that He would place so much into the hands of feeble, imperfect, made-from-dust humanity. Yet the fate of the cosmos flows through us. As vast, unsearchable, and ever-expanding as the universe is, God’s eye is focused on this minuscule third rock from the sun – and on humanity in particular. You see, God created us for a grand purpose. We aren’t, as evolutionary biology would say, a little more evolved than the rest of the animal kingdom. We are created by God, in His likeness, to be directly subordinate under Him as overseers and caretakers of this earth and partakers in God’s divine plan to conquer Satan (and all that he represents) once and for all. God has chosen, in His vast wisdom, to show forth His magnificence and glory through weak and frail creatures who place their full faith in Him. God has established His plan on humanity, and with each cry of a new born baby… in the sounds of children being raised to maturity, God silences the efforts of His enemies as they grow more and more desperate in the face of their inevitable fait. Why do you think Satan moved on the heart of Pharaoh to slaughter the infants and children of Israel? He was trying to prevent Moses from arriving. Why do you think Satan moved on the heart of Herod to slaughter the infants and children of Bethlehem? He was trying to prevent the New Moses, Jesus the Messiah from entering the world. Why do you think Satan has moved on the hearts of humanity to abort so many before they even have the opportunity to cry out? Because God’s plan of redemption lies in the hands of people who will place their faith in Him and accomplish His purpose of covering the earth with His glory by grace through faith… and with every cry of a new born baby, there is a reminder of the sure hope we have in our Magnificent God.

Proverbs: “The Lord founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. By his knowledge the watery depths broke open, and the clouds dripped with dew.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭CSB)

Hebrews chapter 11 explains, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible… Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:3, 6‬ ‭CSB). Through God’s wisdom, understanding, and knowledge the earth, with all it’s natural resources and laws of nature, was created to sustain life in general and humanity in particular. – in order to fulfill His grand purposes and show Himself strong through those who place their faith on Him. Without faith, we are merely creatures living a futile life, only to die in obscurity. Without faith we cannot see the grandness of God’s design nor understand His ever progressing purposes and the part we play in all of it. But with faith in God (not in ourselves and our meager intellect), we see what can’t be seen and we understand what can’t be definitively proven by natural means. By faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, we please God and are allowed to approach the God who dwells in magnificence and unapproachable light, through the Son by the Holy Spirit. By faith, as we please Him, approach Him, and seek Him, He rewards us with grace… and wrapped up in that grace is His wisdom, by which we know and understand and fulfill His purposes. It all begins with faith.

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