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Your God is Too Small

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2020 9:00 am

Your God is Too Small

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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November 3, 2020 9:00 am

Nobody likes when they can’t understand something. But there are some things about God that we, as humans, aren’t capable of wrapping our minds around. And that’s a good thing!

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Jeannie Greer wanted God who was only a slightly bigger, slightly smarter version of virus but the God of the Bible is something altogether different from who we are and here is the ironing only back kind of God is capable of explaining life's mysteries only back kind of large God gives us a real sense of purpose in the world and only back kind of God can ignite our passions and horse school and the teacher would be describing some new big concepts by you can make heads or tails of it. Not very pleasant feeling right feeling of being lost or maybe even feeling dumb as humans we don't like when we can't understand something, but today Pastor JD shows us that there are some things about God that we will never be able to wrap our minds around actually a good thing. Find out why. As we begin a brand-new study called, not got enough with the message he's titled your God is too small. Joe Job it's in your Old Testament right near your book of Psalms of Yvonne Solms and just look right around that you'll find it pretty easily. We are starting a new sermon series today called, not God enough it corresponds to a book that I have by that same title called not got enough why your small God leads to big problems now there's a big idea behind not got enough and the reason that I spent some time on it is almost all of our spiritual problems. I believe problems like doubt or apathy, unhappiness, insecurity, almost all of them come from a view of God that is too small. As Americans we prefer a God who is small God that we can manage, predict, and control that kind of God, feel safe to us. We can understand him.

We can explain in he doesn't embarrass us or confuse us or contradict us or make us mad, but this is simply not the God that we encounter in the Bible, the God in the Bible is the opposite of small and manageable use big bigger than big is bigger than all the words we use the same big he defies her abilities to categorize or describe him most Americans, myself included, wanted God who was only a slightly bigger, slightly smarter version of us. But the God of the Bible is something altogether different from who we are and here is the ironing only back kind of God is capable of explaining life's mysteries only back kind of large God gives us a real sense of purpose in the world and only back kind of God can ignite our passions and worship it like the British philosopher Evelyn Underhill once remarked, she set a God that is small enough to be understood is never to be big enough to be worship. You gotta choose you need to have a God that you can't predict and control, and understand you have a God that is worthy of your worship and can sustain you in the midst of life's hardships. Solomon calls this the fear of God. The fear of God recognizing his size and says of the fear of God is necessary for any proper relationship to God.

Proverbs 17 the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. What that verse means is that without trembling all before the majesty of God will never really know God will never trust him and will never be able to walk with him. That's the step that for many years for many years I tried to skip in the development of my faith. If you all have been here for any length of time you probably know that I've tried to be honest with you about the struggles with belief that I've had throughout my life. Hard questions that I didn't really have great answers for questions like why is there so much suffering in the world I get I get that some pain and some suffering might be necessary and can work good in us.

But what possible good could God have for something like the Holocaust or how does the concept of hell align with the view of a loving God.

Or how about this one. If Christianity is true, why do so few people, relatively speaking, why do so few people believe it and why isn't God doing something more to get people saved God as God didn't do anything wanted to send out an angel 900 foot tall angel to stand on top of the rotunda in the capital and proclaim the gospel to everybody not be more effective than then put his spirit on somebody like me, why, why is it nice you not doing more. A couple of summers ago my family not work for a week. Among Syrian refugees overseas and after a week there might-year-old daughter looks up at me she says dad if God loves these people so much, why doesn't he fix all this. I told Russ a will.

He is sweetheart. He's he's using us to do it.

That's the standard pastor answer right there standard Pastor answers is not satisfied, she pressed back. She said dad and I mean why doesn't he do something about it himself. I think it's a fair question. Why not send out army of angels that we've heard so much about it when I just make the war in Syria go away.

He's God he could do it if you wanted to.

Maybe you had some of these very same questions may be that others sometimes about you know the fact that I can't understand or explain these things. Maybe that means that God is not actually even there. Eventually I came to believe because I became genuinely convinced that there really was no other explanation for the life and death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ other than that he really was who he said he was joy even after coming to that conviction. I really struggle to develop a love for and intimacy with God is.

How can you feel close to a God that confuses you and bewilders you so much. All I wanted to love him.

I knew other people who seem to love and there's a lady in our church you every single time she prays or talks about God's grace. She tears up and about why why don't I tear up when I talk about God and his grace I knew how to play the game.

I knew how to like shake my head swim as a grunt make spiritual sounds that some your like a scene you make that very face when you're talking to me. Yeah, I knew how to play the game but a lot of times the emotions just went there and that bothered me. I've come to see that one of my primary problems in all of this was a conception of God that was too small. Like I said I thought of God is just a slightly bigger, slightly smarter version of me and I thought of God would just take a minute to explain himself to me than I would readily and easily be able to understand it all y'all that conception of God is just not able to sustain faith. It is only by grappling with the size of God, but I developed the ability really to believe so.

In this first message I want to unpack the experience of the man in the Bible who probably had more questions for God than anybody else I know of.

In fact, this man's name has become synonymous with doubt and confusion and despair. That man's name is Joe were to be in chapter 38 so maybe just a quick overview of chapters 1 to 37.

The cliff notes version of it. You hang on their chapter 38 not catch up to you. I'm Job. What one says pretty much everything we know about Joe. We don't know much about Joe. We he is said to be from this so you ask where is eyes, short answer, scholars have no idea where is they assume you have to follow the yellow brick road to get there, I guess, but that's about all they know. Furthermore, we don't know what time. Job lives in or even what nationality he is. We know that is not an Israelite, because his name is not Hebrew but we don't know where he is from this lack of detail. Scholars say is intentional because evidently the author of Job does not want us to get fixated on that particular historical situation of Joe.

He wants us instead to focus on the universal questions that are raised by Job's suffering questions that everybody asks questions that you have asked in some form.

At some point in your life. All were told in Job 11 is that Job is a blameless and upright man, which is a Hebrew way of saying he was a really swell guy means any help little ladies across the street. He always ate all his vegetables. He turned in his library books on time. He read every single word of the terms and conditions on his new iPhone update before he hit agree in that it releases the stellar fellow will then wrap this brief two verse introduction we get suddenly whisked off to heaven where God is apparently having a staff meeting and among God. Staff is a particularly feisty fella called the set time in Hebrew. It literally means the accuser or the prosecutor and the set time raises a credible challenge. He says you know God. The only reason that people serve you is that it's in their own self-interest. They just serve you because you give them stuff. If you let them suffer in and you start giving them stuff they'll drop you like a bad habit and so God says okay okay all right sometime let's take Job you take everything in his life.

From him that he loves and you'll see that he values me just for me and so the next two chapters.

That's exactly what happens.

Satan takes every single thing from Joe Betty loves interesting and lively.

By the way, or maybe disturbingly, he doesn't take Job's wife, which is always a little confusing to me right.

You could almost see where the demon saying hey you forgot that mess with Joe's wife and he's like no I know exactly what I'm doing here that's intentional time she turns out to be pretty cranky and not much else a joke at this point in the narrative as you're reading this you should be asking you; wait, what, why in the world would God allow this. And then we would expect the rest of the book of Job to provide an answer to that question, but that is not what we get in chapter 3 we see Job's friends enter the picture. Job's friends. There are three of them. Eliphaz the time and I so far the mammoth light and the shortest man in the Bible billed at the shoe height. She rightly see that's classic Bible trivia rather you and write that out on these men. These three men try to explain Job's suffering using the very best of ancient wisdom for what it's worth, I seem to be halfway decent friends. They sit with Job in his misery, and they try to confront comfort him, and they that they cry with him and basically what they say. The Job is this I say look, we know that God is just. We also know that God is sovereign and everything happens for a reason. So the fact that your suffering. Job must mean that there's a reason that God is paying you back for something. Joe pushes back. He's like this is not true. I'm not telling all that I'm perfect in my tongue of never send I'm just telling you that I'm innocent of anything that would warrant this kind of suffering, but his friends hold the line, no light, no listen Job there has to be something I'm Job it's easy to get the logic of this right. God is just and everything happens for a reason to Job. You gotta think hard. What is it what you done that's brought all this on in this back-and-forth goes on for 37 chapters until finally, Job exasperated says listen guys, you're wrong. And the more you talk the worse I feel all your talk.

It is not helping me at all is just making things worse.

Reminds me of the story. The man gets pulled over by a policeman. Please walks up and says Sir, did you know how fast you're going is no officer I didn't and his wife was there and says yes he did. He pointed out right before you pulled overboard and over and assisted the officers as you know, you tell I was out is all know I had no idea she said yes you did you know napper monster may complain about it officer said you're not wearing your seatbelt that you realize that he said yes right bucket right as you're walking up. She said the wife said no you didn't.

You never wear your seatbelt. He looked at his wife's this woman would you shut up and also says man, but he always told you this way. She said only when he's drunk only when he struck so they just stop talking start talking every time you thought things get worse until Joe feels about his friends and so is friends of the end of chapter 37 exhausted of their wisdom they leave one by one and Job sits there all by himself. Still confused. The point after 37 chapters as this, the wisdom all the wisdom of the ancients has been spent yet. The mystery of suffering remains and then finally, finally, chapter 38. God shows up, and Job says at last. I'm finally going to get some answers. But no.

Instead, God shows up and does not give an answer at all. He simply starts to ask Job a bunch of his own questions 64 different questions spread across three chapters to be exact. He asked Job's things like chapter 38 Job.

Are you around when I shake the earth. Joe where were you when I spread out the constellations and where were you when I met the stars together Joe while were at it, what you think. Storms come from you even predict when the next storm is going to come and minister even really odd random questions and their like Job, how much do you know about the copulation patterns of goats or about this in chapter 30 verse 13 Job do you know why ostriches are so ugly Joe, can you explain the mystery of great knots either great nor nuts can you get your mind around that. Joe that I was not in there. I'm just getting to me that whenever the others are in their in your reading this in your thinking, like I okay I get the big question the stars in the earth. While these little questions. The point is to show perspective. God is saying to Job Joe if you can't even really fathom the mystery behind natural things.

Are you really in a place to understand and evaluate eternal things.

You see the assumption that Job and all of his friends are working off of is that they know enough about the world to analyze and understand God's ways. But God says to them. Actually your perspective on the world is quite puny. Mine is huge. You don't even understand simple things like constellation creation or ostrich ugliness and Job. If you don't understand the mystery behind finite things like this. Do you really feel like you're in a place to hold court on me and evaluate eternal purposes.

You see Job to understand infinite justice Juergen Leavitt going to need to have infinite perspective and you don't even have a good grasp on finite things. Then finally, chapter 40 God says while ready Job do you really want to run the world for a day you really want to punish every little act of injustice in every single instance Job, you know how many different things are happening in the world at one time and you know how many different things are interconnected.

When I read this I thought of that seen in Bruce Almighty with a great theological mind Jim Carrey is given the responsibility to play the role of God for a few days and never his first crisis is run enteral prayers member. This all the prayers coming out of and he didn't know what to do right because all this. Prayers connected to the summer here this person for a map of this person frame.

The opposite of you answer this prayer than Texas person appear which changes this just about loses mine. That's basically what God is saying here to Job. In this chapter.

He's like, hey, this is quite a bit more complicated than you thought it was in that little man and then the bookends and God sends up. By the way the last few verses restoring everything to Joe back sevenfold did even after the restoration. We never really get satisfying answers to the question of why all this happened in the first place.

Neither to Job, the book ends with mystery for him. All we get from God is more questions, but these questions make five crucial points about the size of God and this is God's answer these questions are making five points about the size of God is God's answer to Job 1 God says to Job through these questions my power Job is sovereign in this book we see God's absolute power over creation over the Angels even over Satan himself always see that Satan does nothing except by permission. We can see through these questions that God has purposes and creation that go far beyond our purview. For example, chapter 3826 God talks about watering the land that nobody lives in taking the flowers and the plants flourish in a plant that doesn't benefit humans all when I read that I was reminded of that, then the CS Lewis pointed out, I told you about before, when explorers got to the New World and date going to these valleys that as far as they knew no human I've ever seen before and they discovered a new types of flowers and plants that were just more beautiful than anything that they'd seen CS Lewis of the question you have to ask is why God put all this beauty in a place where nobody had seen it for thousands of years. CS Lewis's answers the same thing as God's answer here in chapter 38 at night, is that God does something solely for himself. Not everything that exists is for the purpose of man and answer what you're saying about Job's suffering. This is kind of the theme of it is that the ultimate purpose and Job suffering is to bring glory to God. God was demonstrating his glory to Satan and all the angels through Job suffering, and I know that when you hear that some of you a hard time with that you set up a hard thing to live with that God is using my suffering for his glory. But I'm telling you listen that that is the secret to a happy and fulfilled life is for you to understand that you and all the world exist first and foremost for God's glory because when you embrace that you're going to find the joy and satisfaction that you never know because you were created to live for God. You were created to live for yourself. You were created to live as if everything was about you. You were created to be at the center. You were created for God to be at the center when you get your mind around that you suddenly find freedom and happiness that you never could get a hold of when you thought everything was all about you.

Three says in the one my power sovereign number two tells Job. My perspective is infinite.

My perspective is infinite. The climax of God's argument comes in chapter 42 verse three God says to Joe, who is it that dares question my judgment without the knowledge to be able to do so.

In other words, Job.

If you don't even understand the mystery behind natural phenomenon like stores and storms and stars. Are you really a place to understand the purposes of the eternal God above them. There is a problem that philosophers refer to is the problem of evil is probably the number one intellectual reason why people choose to quit believing in God and it's a problem that has been expressed for literally thousands of years. The first person that actually put it in the form we have it now was a philosopher named Epicurus and nothing was the fifth century BC Greek philosopher and basically that the problem goes like this. If God is all loving he would want to remove suffering right okay make sense. If God is all-powerful, he could remove suffering. The fact that suffering exists means that God must not be all loving or all-powerful, and a God who is not all loving or all-powerful is by definition not God. So therefore the fact that suffering exist means that God doesn't exist. That's the problem of evil and is been repeated for thousands of years gets repeated in college classrooms today and some of you have asked some form of that question. Why is there all this purpose was evil but I have told you that that syllogism back problem of evil is missing a crucial premise that crucial premise is this of God is all loving and God is all-powerful, then it follows that God is also all wise and of God's wisdom is as high above our wisdom as his power must be above our power. It should be a rational conclusion that there are certain things about God and his purposes. There are going to escape our immediate ability to comprehend them at least easily didn't do a thought experiment with me after you do some like this before, but you do about experiment with.

If there is a God will say that you came in today and you're done with your person you came with a friend and you even believe there is a God still good for this thought is remembered. If there is a God, how much power must he have in order to create the universe that we live in is think about everything about the number of stars. For example, the last summer I salt astronomer say there are 3000 billion trillion stars some Abner told me the other day that that number Santilli and the number I'm looking for whatever okay 3000, it's not. It's three with 24 zeros after it. Now if you're like me numbers like million and billion and trillion Healthworks on the same afterwhile right at all really. What is one of it wasn't me. Let me give little thought experiment me up. Get your mind around this. A million seconds ago. You know what you're doing. A million seconds ago. Many things go 11 days ago. So what last Wednesday or Thursday or supply that. Do you think about what you're doing. 11 days ago about a billion seconds ago. You know what you're doing.

A billion seconds ago when was a billion seconds ago 31 years and eight months ago. You don't know what you were doing a billion seconds ago because there was no you to speak of some town the mid-1980s that the CD player had just come out and then released. Rambo was saving the world from certain destruction.

The Jedi had just returned for the very first time it was a great era. But it was a long time ago.

That's a billion seconds ago about a trillion seconds ago when you think a trillion seconds ago was a couple hundred years what you think a trillion seconds ago was 29,672 BC, the first Rocky movie. I think it just come out about it. Put that on the map. Now what you think about the fact that there are at least 3000 billion trillion stars, each one putting out roughly the same amount of energy every second as a trillion megaton atom bombs. Some of the stars are so big they defy description like Karine a right here in our own Milky Way galaxy, which is 5 million times brighter than our son be stars, they say exist in an expansive simply cannot comprehend the Hubble telescope is now sending back faith. Infrared images of galaxies and even know about estimated some of them at 12 billion ly away, which means if you were to get in a spaceship and travel hundred and 86,282 miles every second in 12 billion years you would arrive at the edge of that galaxy and they say there are likely many many more.

Beyond that all of these, 3000 billion trillion stars in all this expansive is created in a single moment with a single word from God that is God's power and how are you not much of a comparison to anything I possess is bigger than you are more powerful than you are. In his wisdom exceeds our comprehension. You're listening to Senate life with pastor JD Greer in the first message in our brand-new teaching series called not got enough to listen again or to download the complete, unedited transcript for this message is that us

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