A Bible Study on the Character of God
A Bible Study on the Character of God
Property #3 & 4
“The Power of God” and “The Constancy through all Change”
As we continue to look at the character of holiness in God we find more properties that show forth His holiness. Remember that the Holiness of God reminds us that there is none like Him. He is unique in all of His attributes. There is none like Him and there will never be one like Him. So as we venture into the next two properties of His holiness let us remember that we are to strive to be more like Him every day we live.
Property #3 The Power of God
The fancy word for God’s ultimate power is omnipotence. This words conveys the idea that God is all powerful. He is addressed multiple times in the Bible as the Almighty God. Almighty says to us that He is “All Mighty” in everything He puts His mind and hand to do. There is nothing in this world that will stop God from accomplishing anything He wants to accomplish. There is no underlying science that will stop God if He chooses to perform. We see this exhibited in many of God’s miracles throughout the Old and New Testament.
We will begin in the beginning. God calls creation out of nothing. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.’” (Genesis 1:2-3) Where there was nothing God made light. We know from reading the rest of chapter 1 and chapter 2 of Genesis that God went on to create all living creatures. He even went to the effort of breathing into mankind His own breath. The power of God is displayed in creation.
We continue to see God’s power throughout the Old Testament. We see His power over nature when the Israelites approach the Red Sea. Although His power has been displayed in Egypt with the 10 plagues, the Israelites get an up close view of His power when He calls the winds to blow and the sea to separate. “Then Moses stretched out His hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22) The power of God is seen in the spoken word of God and the obedience of Moses to follow the plan. The Israelites saw firsthand God’s power as they not only crossed the sea, but crossed on dry ground.
The power of God continues to be shown throughout the wilderness adventure and the conquest of the Promised Land. Israel sees God’s power displayed time and time again. Yet any discussion of the power of God would be amiss without the mentioning of two places in the Bible where God shows His power over time. Time is that variable which we are all plugged into. No one can change time. We as a nation may turn our clocks ahead one hour to receive more sunlight in the evening, but that doesn’t make us master over time. It only allows us to enjoy more sunlight during off hours. Yet in the Bible there are these two incidents where God shows His power over time.
The first narrative is found in Joshua 10. Joshua is called up to Gilgal to enter into the fight the five kings. He gets to Gibeon and begins to win the day after God told him he would be victorious. As Joshua continues to defeat the armies the sun begins to fade and this is what is recorded, “On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel, ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies. As it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.” (Joshua 10:12-13) The sun stopped, therefore time stopped. The Bible says about a full day. God’s reveals His power over time and space. He answers the prayer of Joshua and the earth stops revolving.
The second narrative is found in 2 Kings. Hezekiah has a sickness that will cause his death. He prays and ask God for more life. God grants his request, but Hezekiah ask for a sign. God gives him a choice to move the shadow ahead ten steps or backward ten steps. Hezekiah asks for the shadow to go backward ten steps. Time will then be backed up. Here is the results, “Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” God again shows His power to not only stop time, but reverse it. There is no other being on earth that can have the power over time. Yet God reveals His Holiness once again by doing just that.
The power of God continues to flourish as we move into the New Testament. The most powerful example of God’s omnipotence has got to be in the virgin birth. Mary a young virgin is found pregnant by the Holy Spirit and has never been with a man. Although science tries to deny this fact as a fable, we know that the Bible is true and shows that Jesus is born from a virgin. It is prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” We also have the proof found in the gospel record of Matthew and Luke. “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him, Jesus.’” (Luke 1:26-27; 30-31) The culmination of these prophecies are found later in Luke. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7) God’s power is seen in its greatest form in the incarnation of God in Jesus, His son. The very fact that God would come in the form of man and walk among us is powerful indeed. It shows us His uniqueness and His grandeur over all creation.
I could go on to talk about the power in healing the sick, casting out demons, and cleansing the leper. I could talk about the power to walk on water, feed the multitudes and giving sight back to the blind. Yet the power that speaks volumes to us all is God’s power over death. We see Jesus use this power in a limited way while He walks on earth. He brings Jarius’ daughter back to life in Mark 5. He brings the widow of Nain’s son back to life in Luke 7. He brings His friend Lazarus back to life in John 11. These people died again. God demonstrated His greatest power when He brought Jesus back to life to live forever and give us victory over sin and death. All four gospels record the resurrection of Jesus. They each point out that He died a cruel death on a cross, but rose again on the third day. Paul describes it best in 1 Corinthians 15, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58) God shows His power to have victory over death. This separates God from everyone else. No one else has the power over death. God can give life everlasting because of His Holiness. There is none like Him, nor will there ever be.
I believe we have shown the power of God in various forms and abilities. Nowhere else in all of history do we have power displayed in a spoken word as God displays throughout the Bible. These examples shows a character of Holiness because God is the only one who could perform in such a way that separates His character from any other being.
2. Property #4 The Constancy through All Change
This idea may cause you to stumble in your thought. What in the world are we talking about? Let me put in a little plainer. This idea “embraces both Being and becoming, but it does not require that God must become in order to be.”* The writer of Hebrews said it like this, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The property that shows God’s Holiness is the fact that He never changes. He is the same whether He reveals Himself in nature or in the flesh. His very essence doesn’t change with the situation or the place. Let’s explore some of the places where God reveals Himself.
The first story where God is seen as a being is in nature. The Bible records, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’” (Exodus 3:2, 4) God became a burning bush, but His becoming was not changed because of the being. This is what makes God different and Holy than everyone else. You and I take on a situation and we become part of the situation. Our demeanor, our attitude, our behavior is often shaped by where we are and what we are becoming. Yet God never changes no matter where He is and what is happening.
God shows His constancy in everything He touches. He becomes the still small voice in the wind that speaks to Elijah. Elijah found himself in the midst of a powerful wind that tore the mountains apart. He found himself in an earthquake and after the earthquake a fire. Yet God was not to be found in any of these great and powerful displays of nature. Then the Bible records these words, “And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” God became a whisper to speak, yet the whisper doesn’t define God. For He could have spoken in the wind, the earthquake and the fire, but He choose the whisper. God is not encapsulated in something that we can process and understand. God can inject Himself in things, but the things do not inject themselves into God. He is Holy!
The greatest display of God’s constancy through change is in the incarnation of Himself in Jesus. When we look at the life of Jesus we see Jesus living in a world that does not control Him. He has the ability because of His constancy to demand the wind to be still. He can cause a fig tree to whither up and die. He speaks the words to the spiritual world and drives demons into swine. The changing world does not rule over God, God rules over the changing world.
Yet in spite of His ability, He allows the world to encompass some of His desires. He has to eat and sleep. He gets angry. He is sorrowful and sheds tears. He has a desire to do one thing, but will not go against His Father’s will. It is the unknown ability to be 100% Divine and 100% Human that shows us the uniqueness of God. He feels pain and yet is totally satisfied to accept the pain for you and me. The one who is over death allows death to claim Him. Yet the final reason that He is constant through all change is that death doesn’t define Him. He defines death.
When we look at Jesus we must hear His explanation when He talks about the Father, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my Own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work.” (John 14:10) Jesus and the Father are the same. Yet allowing Jesus to live in the world and be somewhat controlled by the world’s laws does not in any way change God from being God. Just because God becomes does not mean that God changes. Matter of fact this explains God’s Holiness. He is unchanged by change. He is the same.
Power is not a hard property to grasp. It is easy to see the power of God and recognize that there is no one as powerful. This helps to explain God’s Holiness. Only someone who is unique unto themselves could perform the powerful works that God performed. We see God as powerful, yet often we believe He is limited in His power. We fail to trust the power of God and realize that we have the unlimited supply of God’s power in our lives. Jesus said, “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” We fail to be powerful because we fail to believe.
When it comes to God’s constancy through all change, we struggle with the concept. We see God’s provisions, but often we place human conditions on God. We can’t help it in a way because it is the only way we are programed. Yet we cannot think that God changes with the circumstances. He is not having to change the plan because of unforeseen circumstances. God sees all and knows all, but He also knows tomorrow. Therefore His plan and purpose will be carried out and what happens here on this planet will not change Him or His plans. His Holiness directs us to recognize the grandeur of His being.
I believe that this is the reason that when we come into the presence of God we will fall on our faces. We will be overwhelmed with the very demonstration of His Holiness. We will be blown away by how awesome He really is. No words in our language can express the Holiness of God. To experience Him is to fall on our face before Him as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6.
Begin asking yourself these questions:
1. Do I really believe in the unequal power of God? Do I really believe that He has the ability to do anything? Can His power be assessable to me and I grow and become more like Him? Am I limiting God because of my lack of faith?
2. Do I believe God changes? Can God be one thing today and something entirely different tomorrow? Where am I in the plan of God that He has for me? Am I helping to live out His plan or am I slowing His plan down? In an upside down world, can I find peace and contentment in a God that never changes?