Episode 1. God the Lord Almighty
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To be honest – sometimes – our problems seem bigger than God. They just do – it’s kind of natural – they feel like they’re closer than God, and so they look much bigger than Him. …
To be perfectly honest sometimes, our problems seem bigger than God. They just do – it’s kind of natural – they feel like they’re closer than God, and so they look much bigger than Him. That’s when we need to know how Great God really is.
Let me ask you something today. Who is God? People use that name, God, in all sorts of different ways. Some use it frivolously. I don’t know if you watch TV and have seen one of those surprise “makeover” shows.
You know, when a team comes in and does a complete makeover on someone’s garden or their house. When they bring the person along to have a look at it, to show them what’s been done, nine times out of ten, this person jumps up and down and screams, “O My God!” It always makes me wince. I ache inside that God’s name is used that way. So thoughtlessly.
Other people, they use the name of God in different ways and my hunch is, that who we expect God to be is different from person to person. Some people hear that word, God, and it brings shudders of guilt through them. They know they’ve been running away from Him. Others again see God as some grumpy old man with a big stick or at the other end of the spectrum, kind of like a sugar daddy who’s supposed to shower them with gifts all the time.
Let me ask you, when you say that name, God, who are you talking about? This God, when you hear that name, what comes to mind. This week and next week on the program we’re going to head off on a bit of a journey of discovery. Who is this God?
Interestingly, throughout the Bible there are quite a number of different names used for God. These days, we only really use a few, God, Lord, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. That’s about it really. But not so in the Old and New Testaments, particularly let me say in the Old Testament – the Hebrew Bible if you will. And there’s a reason for that because in Hebrew culture names were very, very important. Names had meaning, they defined who you were.
Joshua, for instance. The word ‘Joshua’ means God’s salvation and it was Joshua who led Israel into the promised land after their forty years in the wilderness. God’s salvation. Abraham, the father of Israel, that name means father of a multitude. And that was God’s promise to Abraham even though at a very old age he and his wife were still childless.
And so it is that names have a huge meaning in God’s Word, the Bible. Much more so than perhaps in our modern day cultures. And so when God allows the scriptures to use a whole bunch of different names for Him, He’s telling us something. He’s revealing Himself to us through those names in an intimate way, in a beautiful way.
The various names for God used throughout the Bible is like God gently whispering through each name, “This is who I am, this is what I’m like.” And so often in life we lose sight of who God is and what He’s like. It’s as though He’s way over there in heaven and we’re way over here living our lives and it feels as though He is a million miles away. But as we hear His gentle whisper, “This is who I am”, all of a sudden we come to know Him better in our hearts.
So the first name for God that we’re going to kick off with today is the name, Adonai. Interesting name. It’s plural to start with. They had no idea back when they first started using that name for God that He was three in one – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But God began to reveal that through His name Adonai, the plural of Adon which means Lord, great and mighty and sovereign Lord, Lord above all. The sense of complete and supreme authority.
Let’s check it out. Psalm 8 verse 1:
O Lord, our sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
There it is, God above all. Further on in verses 3 and 4:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you’ve established, what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals, that you should care for them.
See the God who created the cosmos, the heavens, the trillions upon trillions of stars, all this I look and see that you created it. Adonai. And yet you made us too. And not only did you make us, but you know us and care for us.
O Lord, our sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth. (Verse 9.)
That’s the Lord, God Almighty, above all the heavens and all the earth. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Sovereign, nothing big or small happens that He doesn’t notice, that He doesn’t allow to happen.
Now hold on to that thought for a moment and let me come to your life, your circumstances, your day to day, your here and now. What’s going on in your world at the moment? My hunch is that there are possible some good things happening in your life right now and then there are some difficult things. Perhaps painful or frightening things. Things that seem to be so out of control. Things that you’d love to change if you could but it doesn’t seem that you can.
Does that sound a bit familiar. And those things, those things that are so out of our control, they’re the things we think, “If only I could change that one thing or solve that one problem, or heal that one relationship, or have just enough money to … or whatever it is. If only I could deal once and for all with that thing, my life would be fantastic.”
Can I tell you something? We all have those things in our lives. I doubt whether there is a single person listening today who doesn’t have at least one of those things in their lives right now. And then mountains, so big, so immovable, so imposing, so impossible that they overshadow our lives. We may appear to be in control on the outside, but on the inside it aches.
See, this is the place where the rubber of faith hits the road. What does the name of God mean to you when you look at that dirty, great big mountain overshadowing your life. Is the mountain bigger than your God or is your God Adonai, the Lord Almighty. The Lord over all the heavens and all the earth. Is your faith in some remote distant, irrelevant, religious God, or is it in the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who conceived and created the cosmos.
Let me take you to another place, an intimate place, where the name Adonai is used for God. Habakuk chapter 3 verses 9-10:
God the Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of the deer and makes me to tread upon the heights.
Because this is the place that God, the Lord Almighty wants to take us. He wants to be our strength. This mighty sovereign, powerful God, who is Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything that’s in them wants to take that power and impart into our very being.
He wants His strength to be our strength. Right in the middle of the pea soup of a life that we’re swimming through right now. And that great immovable, impossible mountain, He wants to life us up like a feet of a deer and make us tread upon its heights, not wallow in the depths. This God is saying, whispering to you and me today, “This is who I am”:
God the Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of the deer and makes me tread upon the heights.
Adonai, Lord Almighty. This is the God that God wants to be to you and me.