I’ve never read the book Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips, but I resonate with the title. Each of us are hard-wired from the fall with a smaller view of God than we ought to have. Indeed it’s entirely possible to hold to a “big God” theology, while actually having a small god mentality in the nuts and bolts of everyday life. This reality hit home to me recently while preparing for our weekly church prayer meeting. We’re in a series on the prayers of Scripture in which we study a Bible prayer or teaching on prayer and then pray accordingly. We were to begin with a brief look at James 1:5-8, which speaks of the importance of faith when we pray, then spend some time praying big prayers to our big God. As I studied the text, however, I realized that I was acting as the double-minded man James described who is unstable as water and shouldn’t expect anything from God. I had secretly (unconsciously?) carried anxiety over a few “major” issues in life, ministry, family, etc. and had not been casting these burdens God’s way because I foolishly treated these issues as bigger than Him. I had a “big God theology,” but a small god mentality when it came to these. I realized that I needed to cling in faith to the big God revealed in Scripture. The following is my attempt to work through this in my own heart and I think it will be of help to some of you.
Scripture is full of texts referring to how incomparable our God is. I noticed these “Who is like you?” verses popping up all over the place in my Bible reading and the following is my attempt to help myself and you grapple with them…
- BEHOLD YOUR GOD
What follows here are a list of the Scriptures that speak of God’s incomparability. Read them each through prayerfully and ask the Lord to give you a bigger vision for who He is from His Word.
There is none more powerful
Exodus 15:11- “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”
Jeremiah 10:7, 10- “Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you….But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.”
Jeremiah 49:19b- “For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?”
Ps. 86:10- “For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.”
Isaiah 37:16- “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.”
His power is also revealed in the fact that He alone can claim the title of Creator:
Neh. 9:6- “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.”
Isaiah 40:25- “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.”
Isaiah 44:24- “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself”
Jeremiah 10:16; 51:19- “Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name.”
There is none more helpful
Deuteronomy 33:26- “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.”
Psalm 35:10- “All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?””
Isaiah 44:7- “Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen…Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”
Micah 7:18-20- “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.”
There is none more trustworthy
1 Kings 8:23; 2 Chron. 6:14- “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart;”
There is none more righteous
Psalm 71:19- “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?”
Luke 18:19- “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
Revelation 15:3-4- And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
There is none more exalted
Psalm 113:4-9- “The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!”
There is none more sovereign
Isaiah 46:5, 9b-11- “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”
As you come to God in prayer and worship, consider how incomparable He is and let His majesty and glory overwhelm you. Then think on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The God who stands alone in power and glory has come down in weakness and humility to endure the agony of the cross for sinners. Jesus has risen in power and now lives to intercede for His own. There is no other God and there is no other Savior like ours.
- BELIEVE YOUR GOD
Now for the hard part. God gives us these words of His grandeur not only to stimulate our thinking, but to transform our daily living. The next step in responding to these texts is to confess and repent before God of your small view of Him. I love the scene in Mark 9 where Jesus comes to heal a man’s demon-possessed son, and the man says to Jesus, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22b-24). Even a prayer confessing one’s small view of God is a prayer of faith, because it acknowledges His power to overcome our unbelief. Another way to overcome our fear of man or love of self or spiritual laziness is to memorize and meditate on Scripture. Put some of the above texts to memory and pray them back to God every time you find yourself growing anxious or tempted or prideful. There is nothing that will cut the head of the Goliaths of sin in our lives like remembering just how colossal our God truly is. When God sent the twelve Israelite men to spy out the land, there problem was that they compared their enemies with themselves and not with God. They were comparing the wrong way and so the result was that they concluded, “we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” (Numbers 13:33b). They should have compared these giants to God. Then they could have said with Isaiah, “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:22). Another helpful way to overcome our problem of comparisons is to jot down all the “big” issues in your life that seem impossible to change (marriage/singleness issues, lost family members, stubborn sin patterns, anxiety about the future). Grab a stack of sticky notes and fill your desk or table with the big ones in your life. Now read back over those Scriptures above and hand them over to the God of all creation, asking Him to help you see them in the right light. There is a reason Jesus spoke of mountains being cast into the sea with only mustard seed faith! When we are regularly comparing our problems to our infinite God, we will then move into behaviors that exalt Him and deny self. We will move past our sinful idleness and anxiety into serving and helping real people whom He created for His glory.
So, how big is your God?