Friday, February 7, 2014

Our All-Knowing, All-Powerful God

Charles Spurgeon once told the story of two children in their nursery.  Their mother came in with a plate laden with cupcakes.  Upon the mother's departure from the room, the little boy insisted to his sister they should take one, because after all there were so many and mother hadn't counted them.  Little sister disagreed to which her brother said mother wouldn't know.  However, little sister reminded him that God most certainly would know there were missing cupcakes.  They had been taught well about the God who sees.  Spurgeon reminds us that yes, God can see and in the case of cupcakes can count!  He was preaching on the omniscience of God.
Omniscience is from the Latin word omni meaning "all" and scientia meaning "knowledge."  It is a fancy word meaning God is all knowing and that knowledge is perfect knowledge.  He knows everything past, present, and future.  A.W. Tozer says, "Because God knows all things perfectly, he knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well."  Furthermore, nothing is ever new news to God.  You can never take God by surprise or amaze him, while he can certainly surprise us.

Job 34:21 says, "For his eyes are on the ways of man, and he sees all his steps."  God in his perfect knowledge knows every scenario, every path we could take, should take, and the one that we will take.  Essentially, our great God knows how every game, relationship, crisis, and any life scenario will play out.  There is not one tear shed on this earth that he doesn't know about.
Two major problems stem from inadequate study of this attribute.  First of all, sometimes Christians go through life as if God doesn't have all perfect knowledge.  Is he the last one to be consulted when the trials of life become too much?  Do we go about our days with little thought of God until there is a great big tree barring our way across the road?  Do we really believe he has the answers to everything?  Most certainly, he does.  He knows the answers before we even have the questions.  The God who knows the exact numbers of hairs on your head and the vast number of stars in the sky, is all-knowing beyond our comprehension.
The second problem arises from our own lack of knowledge of this concept of omniscience.  It is compounded by the unbeliever's lack of understanding of who God is as well.  The problem is one of judging God, so to speak.  It is often presented in a question regarding why God allows terrible things to happen to people.  People don't understand how if God is all-knowing why He doesn't stop those things from happening.  We have to understand that "all-knowing" sits in context of his power and his sovereignty.    Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  We cannot even begin to fathom the perfect mind of God.  Also, 1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "... no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."  How quickly we forget that God sees the whole picture.  Remember, there are no surprises for him.  One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  In light of this, we must not forget that everything God does about what he sees is for his glory.  That doesn't mean we won't ever face painful times on this earth.  Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us."  This isn't heaven yet.  We are in a fallen world where poverty, disease, and evil exist.  One day his glory will be revealed beyond our comprehension and he will make all things new as recorded in Revelation 21:5.  Until then we must trust him in how he chooses to orchestrate matters this side of heaven.  At all times, he sees and has perfect knowledge about each and every situation.  When we are certain we've done all we can do that would be pleasing to Him, we must let go and let God.
Just as God is all-knowing, omniscient; He is also omnipotent, omni meaning "all" and potens meaning "powerful."  The word is derived from Latin and means exactly the same thing as the term "Almighty."  Does God use his power to please us?  No.  He uses his power to work out his perfect will and to bring himself glory.  If you ask the average Christian if he or she believes in God's power, the answer would be of course a "yes."  But how often do we fully take in that not only is God powerful, but rather all-powerful.  Ryken explains that Mary and Martha did not fully comprehend God's power when Jesus came to the tomb of their brother, Lazarus.  He states "They had seen enough miracles to know something of his power, but they did not yet believe that he possesses all power.  They believed in his potency, but not his omnipotency."
In the Bible there are so many accounts of people who seemed to forget that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Consider Sarah in her scheme to have descendants.  She certainly took matters into her own hands when she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham.  Ironically, it is Sarah's servant, Hagar who in the wilderness realizes God can be trusted as the "God who sees."  We must never give up on God.  He is all-knowing and does not forget for a second your plight.  You may think he isn't at work
because you don't see the results you think are right and just.  However, have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes that you aren't even aware?  God is at work all the time in our lives.  He sees and uses his power as he sees fit.  Pray believing that there is nothing impossible for him.  That doesn't mean he will do ask you ask.  He may have something else in mind that fits within his perfect will and will bring more glory to him than you could imagine.
I'll close with the words from the hymn, "O God, Thou Bottomless Abyss" by John Wesley.
"High is thy power above all height,
Whate'er Thy will decrees is done;
Thy wisdom equal, to Thy might;
Only to Thee, O God, is known."