Living by Faith in Our Great God
June 19, 2022
In his book Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Robert Wells exposes the size of the universe in understandable terms:
The largest animal on earth is the blue whale.…
But a blue whale isn’t anywhere near as big as a mountain. If you put one hundred blue whales in a huge jar, you could put millions of whale jars inside a hollowed-out Mount Everest.
But Mount Everest isn’t anywhere near as big as the earth. If you stacked one hundred Mount Everests on top of one another, it would be just a whisker on the face of the earth.
And the earth isn’t anywhere near as big as the sun. You could fit one million earths inside of the sun.
But the sun, which is a medium-size star, isn’t anywhere near as big as a red supergiant star called Antares. Fifty million of our suns could fit inside of Antares.
But Antares isn’t anywhere near as big as the Milky Way galaxy. Billions of stars, including super-giants like Antares, as well as countless comets and asteroids, make up the Milky Way galaxy.
But the Milky Way galaxy isn’t anywhere near as big as the universe. There are billions of other galaxies in the universe.
And yet, filled with billions of galaxies, the universe is almost totally empty. The distances from one galaxy to another are beyond our imagination.
And God made this simply by speaking it into existence; the psalmist says, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers…” (Ps. 8:3a) — God’s creative work took no more energy than someone “fiddling” with his fingers. That begins to give us an appreciation of the magnitude of God’s greatness.
One of our problems is that while we believe in God, we have a tendency to “create Him in our image,” that is, we tend to think of Him in human terms — “He is bigger, stronger, and wiser than us,” but like us, He has limitations. We have a “little God,” who, while great, is not infinitely great.
When thinking such (blasphemous and heretical) thoughts, we need to be reminded of some of the extravagant stories of the Bible. And in two very brief verses in Hebrews 11, we find two related stories of the greatness, magnitude, and infinitude of God. These are stories to correct our “little God” thinking.
And they are stories that were designed to correct the “little God” thinking of the original Hebrew readers of this letter. They were tempted to give up their faith in Christ and return to Judaism to escape persecution. Behind their temptation was a belief in the inability of God to take them through suffering.
This reminder from Israel’s history is an encouragement of the great ability of God to care for His people in every situation, and in every time. From the story of Joshua and Jericho (Heb. 11:30-31) we learn —
God is trustworthy because He is great.
In two stories about Jericho the writer offers two demonstrations of God’s unchanging greatness. These circumstances are the kinds of situations in which we are prone to despair and even give up, believing that nothing can overwhelm and resolve our situation.
- God’s Greatness Provides Protection in the “Hardest” Circumstances (v. 30)
- God’s Greatness Provides Salvation for the “Worst” Sinners (v. 31)
Download the rest of this sermon on Hebrews 11:30-31.
Photo Credit: brianlean.wordpress
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.