The Power of GOD
Old Testament Reading- Deuteronomy 6:20-24
New Testament Reading- 1 John 3:1-3
By Henry J. Rafferty CP -August 21, 2022
"We forget that our Lord does all things for us, yet we treat Him like half a friend..." ~ Pastor Henry Rafferty
The universe is a vast active space. The galaxy moves through the universe, our solar system moves within the galaxy, and our planets within our solar system move around our sun. Perpetual motion, ever changing in ways that are sometimes unnoticed by us. I’ll wager a bet that you don’t feel like you are spinning on this planet at approximately 1,000 mph in the course of one day or that you are traveling around the sun in the course of a year at roughly 67,000 mph. Let’s not stop there as we might forget that our whole solar system is hurtling through the galaxy on an outer spiral arm at 448,000 mph and that the entire Milky Way galaxy that we live in is racing through the universe at 1.3 million mph. That’s a lot of movement and we don’t feel a thing. Is that science? Absolutely, but isn’t it also the power of God?
An acorn falls to the ground, it is covered by leaves that litter the ground in autumn. The revolution of the earth around the sun brings the tilt of the earth in the northern hemisphere closer to the sun’s warmth and increases our daylight resulting in a change in the acorn, a root is formed and begins to grow out of the nut. The warm spring rains hydrate the root and the increase of turgor pressure results in another change in the acorn, a stem begins to form and pushes skyward. Soon more roots grow, and leaves begin to appear on
the stem. The leaves bathe themselves in the light of the sun and produce sugar in a process we know as photosynthesis that provides the newly formed oak tree with food. Over years and years, this once very small acorn will grow into a beautiful, full grown Oak tree that produces food for earth’s creatures, protects soil by preventing erosion, and among many other possible uses, produces new acorns for future generations of trees. Is that science? Absolutely, but isn’t it also the power of God?
This planet, we call earth, is spinning and moving on its way around the sun, the galaxy, and the universe producing not only oak trees, but millions of species of trees, shrubs, and grasses. These plants all photosynthesize, and they all use carbon dioxide that they take in from the air of the planet and release oxygen back into the air. There are also
other living things on planet earth, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, including us. All these creatures just happen to require oxygen to breathe in, and then, interestingly enough, we exhale carbon dioxide, just what the plants require. Seems like an intricate system that works rather well. Is that science? Absolutely, but isn’t it also the power of God?
My point is this, we are surrounded every second of our entire lives by wonders that have become so common place for us that we take them for granted. We have figured out much of these processes over thousands of years, we have named them, we have studied them, we have written books on them, but we still do not understand all there is to know about each of them and we still cannot reproduce them ourselves. We haven’t manned a ship from our planet to the next closest to us yet, we certainly can’t man a ship that can leave our own solar system, and it would be impossible, with current technology, to ever leave our galaxy. We can propagate plants by any manner of ways, germinating seeds, hardwood and softwood cuttings, grafting, and tissue culture, but we cannot bring into being ourselves even the smallest type of plant. Let’s not even get started with how we could ever figure out a way to manage the air on the planet, because we are doing a pretty poor job of it already. Cutting down acre after acre of forest or jungle to continue to build more buildings and
parking lots, when we can’t even manage those we’ve already built, doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.
We can be clever, intelligent, and resourceful, all great gifts that serve us well in this life. We have performed wonderous achievements, invented marvelous machines, built huge cities, but we still can’t look beyond the next minute. We imagine ourselves the greatest on earth, yet our hubris could be our undoing. We build ourselves up so much in our own minds that we begin to need God less, or for some, to forget He even exists.
The Israelites were once the most successful kingdom on earth. They were blessed with all the best foods and wine. The ground that they farmed was some of the most fertile in the world. They had a wonderful climate that helped in their ability to raise such great crops and to support great herds of livestock. They had plenty of fresh water that teemed with fish. Their cities were busy centers of trade and commerce that helped them become rich as a nation and as individuals. After their initial conquest of the land, their enemies were few as no one dared attack them. All these things would be blessings to any civilization, but the Israelites did what humans do best, they thought they had achieved all that made them great through their own ingenuity. They had forgotten who got them there, they had forgotten who was really responsible for all that was great about them, God.
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 tells us what really happened,
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Israel had forgotten that the land had been inhabited before them and that God had given them great strength of arms and caused their enemies to fear them, causing many nations to flee before them. This all came with some stipulations though. For God to allow the Israelites to flourish they would need some rules to keep themselves from corruption. Deuteronomy 6:13-19 tells us more about these rules,
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you, and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.”
Again, you need to understand that God gave them rules, not to lord over them, although He was certainly within His rights to do so, that is not what God is looking for, He is interested in a relationship of love and respect. These rules are there for humanity’s benefit, not the Almighty’s.
It is like what we were talking about before, that human beings are quick to forget who really gave them all these wonderful things in this life. Our modern society wants to believe that nature and the universe are the gods that are the authors of our creation and that these gods demand nothing from us. Unlike the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that requires something from us for His good graces to be given to them that believe only. This is a preposterous belief, that God only gives good things to those who believe in Him. If that were true than an atheist would never have a good life, and if you take a look around you will find plenty of atheists that are truly blessed. In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 5:45, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” God gave rules to the Israelites to help keep themselves in check, to know their right place in this life, and to keep them from destroying themselves. He does the same for us today.
In this modern world where we try to control everything, where we are totally stressed out over all the unfavorable changes that happen on a daily basis, a world where we have forgotten that we are not the bright, shiny, center of the universe, we need reminded that we still have God to be our one constant above all creation. He is the one that the earth and its life forms, the planets, the galaxy, and the whole universe revolves around. He is the hub of the wheel, He is the Creator of all, He is not science, but the author of it. We often want to think of God as our buddy, or our friend, and I can understand that to a degree, but we should reconsider and remember our right place when we are comparing ourselves and our importance, to the Almighty. A proper lack of fear of the Lord, or proper respect for the Lord can lead to the same situation that the nation of Israel discovered when they forgot about Him and lost everything.
Let me tell you a story, a father had two sons that for each he bought houses and property. These weren’t just any old house either, they were mansions. The properties had orchards and vineyards, fully functional farms, swimming pools, basketball courts, baseball fields, indoor horse-riding arenas, you name it, it was on these properties.
One building on each property was stocked with sports cars, luxury cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles, again, you name it, it was there. Everything that they could need and want was theirs. One son was just elated with all that his father had lavished on him. He treated his father with proper respect and love, always thankful for all that he had received. He would do anything for his father, and he knew that his father would do anything for him.
The other son walked onto the property and wondered why there wasn’t one more room on the house and why the cars weren’t the right color. This son, who had always treated his father more like a buddy, didn’t respect his father, in fact, he didn’t respect anyone. He always made his father feel like he could never do anything right, like he was a failure, like he never helped his son enough. This son had a large party where he invited all his so-called friends. These people were just like the son and though they had great fun, they trashed the place. When the father confronted the son about it, the son bawled his father out for not fixing everything up fast enough afterwards.
Next the son wrecked all the cars, mistreated the workers that managed the property, and burned the orchards. All the while complaining that the father didn’t do enough to help him to manage his property and his life. If you were the father, what would you do? What would you think about these two sons of yours? Would you stop loving the one? Maybe you would take away from the good son to replenish the bad, you know to make it fair.
These are the kind of situations we put God into all the time. We forget that He made all of creation for us, not for Him, because He loves His children. We forget that our Lord does all things for us, yet we treat Him like half a friend, if we treat Him at all. We are too busy, we don’t have enough money, we had something else we had to do, the list goes on and on about why we don’t have time for God, imagine if He did the same to us. If God doesn’t have time for us, what happens? Walk a mile in His shoes, I wonder what we would do? Which of these two sons are you? Stop and think about it for just a moment. Really think, when was the last time you told God thank you for all that He has given you, for all the times He has helped you, for His concern for your eternal soul?
Our Father is so powerful that He created all that is. What is too big for Him to handle, yet it pains Him to watch one of His children fall, it pains Him to know that not all of His children want Him in their lives. How about you? You have the choice to make but let me give you hope before you choose. God created the universe and everything in it and He made you too. He made you special, there is no one just like you. He knew you before you were even born, He has been with you each step of your life waiting patiently for you to reach out to Him. Waiting for you to give Him the permission to take you into the shelter of His mighty arms and to hold you in His loving embrace forever. This isn’t science folks, this is love, this is the true power of God! Thanks be to Almighty God. Amen.