God is Omnipotent 32:17-27

When Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in August of 1992, Norena Gonzales’ home was one of thousands that was severely damaged. Norena received a modest insurance settlement - and the repair work on her home began. But when the money ran out, so did her contractor. The contractor left her home without electricity. Norena lived without power in her home for 15 years. She had no heat when the winter chill settled over South Florida. And she had no air conditioning when the mercury climbed into the 90's and the humidity hovered at nearly 100%.

Without money to finish the repairs, Norena got by with a battery-powered lamp and a small propane stove to cook on. Her neighbors never noticed she didn’t have electricity. Acting on a tip, the mayor of Miami got involved. It took only a few hours of work by a volunteer electrician to restore power to the house. Norena Gonzales said to CBS News, “It's hard to describe how happy I am to have electricity again.”

Lorena Gonzales’ story made me wonder, “Where would we be without ’s power working in our lives?”

This is week two in our series titled God is. We’re looking at what the says about the nature and character of God – and how that impacts our lives in a personal and tangible way. I’d like to talk with you this morning about the omnipotence of God.

By definition, the omnipotence of God means that God is all-powerful. God’s power is unlimited. As it pertains to God, the word omnipotent is most commonly reflected in the biblical word – Almighty. The word Almighty appears 345 times in the Bible and is used only to speak of God. One of the names ascribed to God in the Bible is El Shaddai – which means God Almighty.

I’d like to draw your attention to the outline in today’s bulletin. What does the Bible say about the omnipotence of God? Here are a few key verses:

1 Chronicles 29:11-12: Yours, O , is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as 2 head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Job 42:2: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

Psalm 89:8: O Lord Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

A.W. Tozer wrote: “Since He has at His command all the power in the universe, God can do anything as easily as anything else. All His acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished. His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself for the renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that He wills in undiminished fullness of His infinite being.”

Broadly speaking, God’s omnipotence is demonstrated in three ways. I’ll touch on these briefly. First, God’s omnipotence is seen in:

1. Creation. Genesis 1:1 says: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the 5th century translation of the Bible called the , it states that God created the heavens and the earth ex-nihilo – which means God created the heavens and the earth “out of nothing.” Paul wrote these words in Romans chapter 1: 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.

When we examine creation, both the microscopic and telescopic worlds reveal evidence of the creative genius and infinite power of God Almighty. And God’s power is also revealed natural laws that continue govern the physical universe. Why don’t the planets collide? Why do objects fall to the ground instead of float off into space? Paul said in Colossians 1: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and 3 invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Second, God’s omnipotence is also seen in:

2. . Even though God created natural laws that govern nature, He’s not bound or restricted by those laws. Time and time again in Scripture, God revealed His mighty power in performing miracles. In the book of Exodus, God used signs and wonders that resulted in the liberation of His people from their slavery in . In the 10th chapter of the book of Joshua, God caused the sun and the moon to stand still for an entire day – allowing the Children of the time they needed to subdue their enemies as they took possession of the Land of Promise.

In the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated power to heal the sick, calm stormy seas, walk on water, feed 5,000 people with one sack lunch, and even raise the dead back to life. The miracles of Jesus proved that He was (and is) the Son of God.

I heard the story of a guy named Big Ed. Big Ed went to a tent revival. At the end of the message, the evangelist said that God is still in the business of performing miracles – so, he invited people to come to the front to receive prayer. Big Ed went forward. When it was his turn to receive prayer, the evangelist asked Big Ed what he needed prayer for. He said, “I’d like you to pray for my hearing.” So the evangelist stuck his fingers in Big Ed’s ears and offered a long, fervent prayer to the Lord. After praying, the evangelist removed his fingers from Big Ed’s ears and asked, “Tell me, brother – how is your hearing now?” Big Ed said, “Well, I don’t know preacher – my hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday at the county courthouse.”

3. Redemption. From Genesis to the Bible is the continuous story of God’s redemptive acts in history. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve fell into , God promised that a Redeemer would one day come into the world. In the book of Exodus, God redeemed His people from their slavery in Egypt – leading them to freedom in the Land of Promise. Throughout the , when God’s people were taken captive by their enemies, God brought them back from the brink of extinction and restored them to the land He gave to them. 4 But the greatest demonstration of God’s redemptive power is seen in the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul said in Romans 4:25 that Jesus laid down His life for our salvation and raised again to life for our justification. Earlier in Romans, Paul said: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who : first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Hebrews chapter 2 teaches that the resurrection of Jesus destroyed ’s ultimate weapon – which was death. All of us who were dead in sin have been made alive by the life-giving power of Jesus Christ. Our God is a Redeemer.

Now, choosing a text for this morning’s topic was challenging because there are so many passages in the Bible that speak of God’s power. But the passage I chose is found in Jeremiah chapter 32. Let’s take a moment to put that chapter into context.

The Jeremiah was called by God to proclaim a difficult message to the people of . God told Jeremiah to tell them that they were about to be taken captive by the Babylonians because of their idolatry. Preaching this message to his own countrymen didn’t win Jeremiah any friends. But that’s what God told him to do – and he obeyed the Lord.

At first, Jeremiah rejoiced when God spoke to him. He said: When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty. But soon, these words of Almighty God became a source of pain and suffering for him.

As we come to the 32nd chapter – Jeremiah is in prison. King was angry because Jeremiah offered him some unsolicited advice. Jeremiah urged King Zedekiah to surrender to the Babylonians. Zedekiah was having none of this – even though Nebuchadnezzar and his troops were sitting outside the walls of the city of .

In the midst of this impending doom, God told Jeremiah to do something very strange. God instructed him to buy a parcel of land from his cousin. On one level, this makes no sense - because the people would be carried away into captivity. Why would anyone in his right mind buy land he won’t be able to use? Are you ready for a profound answer to that question? Because God told him to do it.

5 The unspoken lesson found in Jeremiah’s obedience is that faith sometimes seems incredibly foolish, doesn’t it? Noah built an ark when there was no rain on the Doppler radar. was told to move to a country he never laid eyes on. left the comfort and the treasures of Egypt to wander in the desert – because he believed there was a greater reward awaiting him. To some people – faith seems crazy. But the Bible says that without faith it’s impossible to please God.

In verses 9-14, the transaction is made. Jeremiah signs the deed in the presence of witnesses and the documents are placed in a clay jar for safe keeping – their version of a safety deposit box. Notice what God says in verse 15: For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” Jeremiah bought the field at in faith – as a sign that the people of Judah will return to the land that God had given them. Even though they were unfaithful - God promised to restore them. Death and destruction will not have the final word – God will! Even in their darkest hour - there was a seed of hope in the land of Judah.

I can’t say that yellow is my favorite color - but a story from the life of the artist Vincent van Gogh has helped me appreciate the color yellow in a new way. Sadly, Vincent Van Gogh spurned his Christian upbringing - and he sank into a life filled with depression and self-destruction. By the grace of God, he embraced the Christian faith again later in his life. When he did, his life took on hope – even though it ended tragically. One of the interesting aspects of van Gogh's art is that the hope he was re- discovering at the end of his life is seen in the gradual increase of the color yellow in his paintings. Yellow evoked (for him) the warmth of God's love. In the depressive periods of life, his paintings were dominated by the color blue. But by the time he painted The Raising of Lazarus - he was emerging from depression. You’ll notice this painting is bathed in yellow. And if you look closely, you’ll notice that van Gogh put his own face on Lazarus to express his hope in the resurrection of Christ.

No matter how bleak things may look in your life this morning – whether you’re dealing with sickness, conflict, anxiety - please know that God can paint your life with the promise of hope.

6 Notice what Jeremiah says to the Lord after finalizing this real estate transaction – verse 17: Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah reasoned that if God created the heavens and the earth – He has the power to do anything! And in the verses following, Jeremiah recounts how God has demonstrated His mighty power throughout history. But – to illustrate that Jeremiah is quite human like you and me – in verse 25 he begins to express some doubts about what he just did. Jeremiah begins thinking, “Maybe buying that land wasn’t a smart investment after-all. Look who’s crouching at our front door!” But God interrupts him and says in verse 27. Don’t miss this: I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Whatever you’re facing this morning? Is anything too hard for God?

In the 18th chapter of Genesis. Sarah was informed by God she was about to have a son of promise. Do you remember how old she was when God told her this? She was 90-years old – slightly past the normal years of childbearing! When Sarah heard this – she didn’t faint – she laughed! Listen to what God said to Abraham, her husband in verse 13: Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?

You might be feeling anxious about what’s happening in your life today. You’re really in a jam. You desperately want to have hope – but you’re not feeling it. God is saying to you this morning: Is anything too hard for Me?

In the moments that remain, let’s talk about why we need God’s power in our lives. Why do we need God’s power?

1. Because of our weaknesses. As much as we may despise them - our limitations (whether physical or spiritual) are a constant reminder of our need for God’s power. That’s what Paul discovered in 2 Corinthians. Paul begged God time and time again to remove the thorn in his flesh. But God said to him: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. That, my friends, is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. God didn’t answer Paul’s prayer by removing his pain – but by supplying him the grace and strength that he needed to endure it. 7

In Isaiah chapter 40 we find a wonderful promise for those whose strength is depleted. Isaiah said: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. In other words, there’s a limit to the strength of the strongest human being. But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

2. We need God’s power for our salvation. We’re powerless to save ourselves from sin and death and hell. It requires the power of God. Paul said in Romans chapter 1 that the gospel of Jesus Christ is ….the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes.

Just before WWII in the town of Itasca, Texas, a school fire tragically claimed the lives of 263 children. When the war ended - the town began to expand and eventually built a brand new school. As a safety measure, the finest sprinkler system in the world at that time was installed in the school. Civic pride ran high. Honor students were selected to guide visitors on tours of the new facilities, pointing out the most advanced sprinkler system ever developed. Never again would Itasca experience another tragedy like they did years earlier. The town continued to grow - and seven years later it was necessary to build an addition onto the school. But when they added the new wing, they discovered that the sophisticated sprinkler system they boasted of had never actually been connected.

How do we connect with the power of God that can save our soul? We do that by surrendering our lives to Christ in repentance and faith.

3. We need God’s power for our security. I stand before you this morning completely convinced that the salvation we have by faith in Jesus Christ will never be taken from us. Our confidence isn’t based on any good deeds we may perform – but on God’s power. Paul said in Romans 8: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What can separate us from God? Paul says absolutely nothing! 8 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the world, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. To the world, the cross brought the tragic end of the life of Jesus. But to those who believe – it’s a demonstration of the power of God. He who had all power gave it up in order to save you and me. With God – life comes out of death – redemption comes out of destruction! When we come to the cross, we come weak and broken. And there we meet Almighty God who is our help and our strength.

If God weren’t Almighty, Jesus would still be dead. And we would be the most miserable people in the world. But if God can raise the dead, He can do anything in your life and mine.

Whatever you’re up against today, I leave you with the question Jeremiah asked long ago: Is anything too hard for God?