God Is

Day 8

Is Your God Too Small?

Read your Bible: Psalm 29

Spotlight Verse:

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.Psalm 29:4

In the church where I was raised, we talked a lot about God being personal. But in retrospect, this seemed to give some people the idea that they could have their own personal god, meaning a god that fit their idea of what a god should be like.

I can do that too. As I mentioned earlier, one of my big temptations is to create a little mental idol, a false godlet made in my own image, a deity that approves of all my indulgences and gets angry with everything I’m peeved about too.

God is personal, but that doesn’t mean He’s a person like me. The Bible talks a lot about God’s bigness and otherness, or, to use a more biblical term, majesty.

The Bible writers loved that word.

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength… Psalm 93:1a

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty — and I will meditate on your wonderful works. Psalm 145:5

Our English word “majesty” comes from Latin; it means greatness. This is what the Bible means when it talks about God being “on high” and “in heaven.” It doesn’t mean He lives up there, in space, or is physically above you, but that He is far above you in greatness, and is worthy to be adored and worshipped.

And feared.

Is Your God Too Tame?

It’s interesting that when people in the Bible encounter God, their first reaction is always the same: Fear. Not always a cringing, shameful fear, either; many times it’s appropriate awe and reverence and gasping wonder at encountering the most majestic Being in the universe.

This is so healthy. The Bible says,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (KJV)

Maybe this is an aspect of God we miss in our culture because our thinking about God is so anemic; we hardly ever think about Him, and when we do, we think of one of our little godlets we fashion, and not the might and majesty of the actual God.

Maybe this is also why we can sin so blithely. In the Old Testament, one phrase repeatedly describes people who pursue destructive behavior: “there was no fear of God before their eyes.”

In C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, one of the children asks Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan, the great king and lion:

“Is Aslan quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver. “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just plain silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”19

Is God safe?

Well, He is our Savior, our Refuge, our Rock. So He is good.

But if safe means that God never does anything I dislike, that God always meets my puny expectations, that God is never alarming, then, no, He’s definitely not safe.

God is wild, majestic, mighty, creative, challenging…

In Mark Buchanan’s book Is Your God Too Safe? he says:

The safe god asks nothing of us, gives nothing to us. He never makes us bold to dance… never whispers anything in our ears but greeting card slogans… a safe god inspires neither awe, nor worship, nor sacrifice…20

Is your God too safe? Good question!

Power Source

That’s why, for the next several days, we’ll be focusing on what you could call the majestic attributes of God. After this I hope your knees knock some when you think of Him.

Let’s start by looking at the omnipotence of God, from the words omni meaning all, and potence, meaning power. When theologians say God is omnipotent they mean He is all-powerful.

When you first see God in the Bible, in Genesis 1, He’s creating everything you and I know — time, space, the earth, and all life. So, chronologically and logically, God’s creative power seems like a good place to start a study of God’s attributes.

In today’s reading in Psalm 29, David is trying to capture the power and majesty of God by comparing Him to the fury and might of a storm. The power of God in these verses is wild, untamed, frightening.

But check out the surprise ending:

The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

I love that David ends with that. Because after you’ve seen God’s power, His offer of strength makes a lifelong impression.

Facing a problem that makes you feel weak and powerless? Remind yourself that God is infinitely more powerful than the problem you are facing right now. Asking Him for strength will not dilute his reservoir of power in any way. And you will be “blessed with peace.”

In prayer today, say, “God, You’re all powerful. Nothing is too hard for You. With God all things are possible. You rule over nations. You rule over nature. You rule the universe. And You give me strength and bless me with peace.”

God is… majestic.

Questions For Reflection

In what ways do people sometimes have a God that is “too safe”?

What are the most impressive displays of nature’s power you have witnessed? How do these displays remind you about God’s power?

What is the promise in Psalm 29:11? What situation are you facing where you need to claim that promise?