What do you see when you think about God? What is He like? How big is He? What would it be like to see Him face to face? What emotion do you experience when you think about God? The first sentence of the Bible gives us a little insight into these questions and provides some fundamental guidance about what we should be thinking when we interact with God?
Let’s start by looking at the first verse of the Bible. Notice that God created two things.
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Let’s define “heavens”. The word “heaven” is a translation of the Hebrew word “shamayim”. “Shamayim” is also used in Genesis 1:20 and Genesis 26:4. Look at these two verses and think about the definition of “heaven” based on how the word is used.
Gen. 1:20 … let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
Gen. 26:4 “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven,
Both birds and the stars are in the “shamayim”. We can conclude from this usage that “shamayim” refers to everything you see when you stand outside and look up: the sky, the atmosphere, the universe. Thus, when Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, it is telling us that God created the universe and the earth.
Now think about how big the earth and the universe are compared to the largest man-made objects. The largest man-made objects ever created are things like skyscrapers, aircraft carriers, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China. These are large objects and it took thousands of man hours to create them, but they are tiny and insignificant compared to the objects that God created.
If the largest man-made objects are insignificant compared to the largest God-made objects, what does that tell us about man compared to God? It tells us that man’s power and ability is tiny compared to God’s power and ability. Man has never created anything as large as the earth because man does not have the capability to create something that large; however, since God is capable of creating something as large as the earth, then God is much more powerful than man.
God’s superior strength and ability should generate both encouragement and fear. It should generate encouragement because God is big enough and powerful enough to help us, provide for us, defend us, and protect us. It also means that God is able to answer our prayers.
James 5:16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
However, God’s superior power should also generate fear because if God is big enough and powerful enough to create the universe and the earth, then God is also big enough and powerful enough to punish us or destroy us if we don’t obey Him. The Bible is clear that someday we will all give an account of ourselves to God, and God’s superior size, strength, and ability means that God is capable of holding us accountable.
Rom. 14:12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
So when we think about God and interact with Him, we should experience a mixture of encouragement and fear. We should be encouraged because God can do marvelous things for us, but we should also experience some fear because God is more than capable of holding us accountable.
Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”