30 Jul Is God Small in Your Eyes?
Though Christians may not deny God, many have trivialized Him, knowingly or unknowingly. This is one serious problem we must guard against.
Many a times, circumstances may make us feel that our God is small. Just like in the Bible, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, or when they were taken captive to Babylon, they might doubt God’s power, wondering why they would end up in slavery or captivity if their God had been mighty. Today, whenever we encounter difficult problems, we may also think lowly of God, and question if He can even help us in our troubles. Or we may doubt if our God is big enough to satisfy us completely, even if we do not get all the things we desire in life.
In fact, many other problems arise when we have a low view of God.
1) Think lowly of His holiness, such that we easily sin.
When we look down on God, we will naturally look down on His holy character and despise His commands. As such, we will not be mindful to imitate God and be holy like Him. When God is small in our eyes, we will not be afraid of offending Him, nor will we take His judgment seriously. Instead, we will treat sin lightly and not care about whether God is pleased with us. But the Bible clearly tells us that we cannot relax any of God’s holy commands: Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:19a).
2) When we trivialize God, we also won’t want to submit to God, but will rather be our own master.
Some people do not like a “big” God. They do not like a God to have too much sovereignty, authority and control over their lives. They do not like to be manipulated by a big God who imposes His will on them. Rather, they prefer a “small” god, one who listens to them, and grants them whatever they ask of him. They want a small god to serve them, but they do not like the idea of them having to serve a big God. Even if they appear to be worshipping God, they are in fact worshipping themselves. Sinful men always like to exalt themselves but put God down. We tend to underestimate God, but overestimate ourselves.
3) As such, we will also worship God on our own terms.
In the Bible, we see an example of how people worshipped God in their own ways. (1 Ki 12) 26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.” 28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.
Here, we saw that Jeroboam was afraid that the people would turn in favour of the house of David if they went back to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, so he made idols for the people to worship, and asked them to worship at Dan and Bethel, places the Lord did not designate. He also built his own shrines, appointed his own priests who were not Levites as instructed by God, and chose his own dates to institute his own religious festivals (1 Ki 12:31-33). Thus, he greatly offended God and his house was destroyed from the face of the earth (1 Ki 13:34).
Some Christians may not be that different from Jeroboam. For we see that people tend to worship God according to their convenience too. Jeroboam had told the Israelites, “It is too much (too troublesome) for you to go up to Jerusalem.” And so he persuaded them to worship at places more convenient for them. Likewise, some believers today skip church, prayers, time with God, whenever they feel like it. When we worship God by our own preferences, we are actually trivializing God. We must be careful not to worship like Jeroboam, who worshipped only for his own gains. In order to safeguard his kingship, he instituted his own idols, priests, festivals, with no regard for what God had commanded. Likewise, we must also ask if we are worshipping God on His terms rather than ours? Are we worshipping God for who His is, or merely worshipping for our own gains?
4) When God is small in our eyes, we will also feel discouraged easily.
When we forget how big God is, we will feel small before our problems and adversaries. As a result, we will lose strength and peace in our hearts, and fall into worries, fears, discontentment, and spiritual apathy. God’s word and promises then lose their impact to uplift our souls and spur us to do the good that God wants us to do. Slowly, God’s word and power will become mere impractical myths to us. That is when we will start to turn to another solution, another security, another treasure, another “god”, whom we think is “bigger” than God. Yet, that will only lead us into more disappointments.
Thus, we must restore faith in a transcendent God.
1) The God of the Bible is a transcendent God.
The true and living God whom we find within the Scriptures is not a small God. (Ps 97:9) says, For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Not only that, but He is the only God, as He Himself said, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isa 46:9b)
Thus, no matter how other forces or problems seem to be greater than God, we must not be deceived. God not just has power, but He also has unfathomable wisdom. Sometimes, it seems as if God is losing, yet He has in fact designed His victory in the most astonishing way. Just as how people might think God had lost when Jesus was crucified, but the cross turned out to be God’s transcending wisdom. Yet, we sometimes think that God is small just because we cannot understand His ways and thought He is losing the battle to the devil and our problems. Yet, English writer, Evelyn Underhill said, “If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped.” Indeed, God’s wisdom is without equal and far beyond human comprehension. That’s why He is worthy of our admiration.
2) Instead of making God small, we should recognize how small we are, and yield to the Great God.
We should have the same heart as John the Baptist who said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (Jn 3:30) God is the Creator, we are only created beings. Even what we can do is also made possible by His grace. Thus, we have no reason to magnify our will, desires, and feelings, nor shrink God’s holiness, power and glory. When we are willing to humble down to let the big God reign in our lives, He will be gracious to us and use us for His glory!