The Omnipotence of God

October 2013 Scripture of the Month

Psalm 139:13-18

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my susbstance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, the are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

 After centering six verses each on the Lord’s omniscience and omnipresence, David’s attention now turns to the wonder of the Lord’s omnipotence. Literally meaning “all strength” or “all power”, the quality of omnipotence signifies that God can do anything. Literally. It is the fact that nothing can stop Him from accomplishing His purposes. David writes about two aspects of God’s omnipotence that he finds particularly marvelous; the fact that God made our wonderfully fashioned bodies (vv. 13-16), and that God can keep us in mind with even with all the other things He thinks about (vv. 17-18). I believe David mentions the first aspect in particular because human life is the crown of God’s creation. He saved humans till last in the creation week, made us in His own image, blessed us the most of all His creation, and when we sinned, He promised to save us. The Lord’s creative work is an expression of His almighty power, so it was suitable for David to praise God for His best and favorite creation of them all. David also marvels at God’s ability to pay full attention to all of His creation at once. (This aspect of God’s omnipotence also ties back to the omniscience and omnipresence mentioned earlier in the psalm.) He hears millions upon millions of prayers each day, and yet not one of them goes unnoticed.

This quality of omnipotence, when properly understood, should and does strike fear and awe into the heart of all. (See v. 14a) Indeed, it is good, even crucial, to have a healthy fear of God in oneself. Both Old and New Testament make abundant mention of the fear of the Lord, and the phrase “they feared the Lord” is often used when referring to the righteous of the Bible. When one comprehends the infinite magnitude of God’s existence, wisdom, and power, one better understand why one needs to please Him. In fact, healthy fear of God should and usually does come before love for Him; it is at the beginning of nearly all relationships with Him, and if not, it still must be included.

Allow me to illustrate. Imagine going to the zoo and seeing a black widow spider. Depending on your personality and your previous experience with black widows, you might think it was interesting, or instead shiver slightly at the sight of such a poisonous creature. But there would be no real fear involved. Now imagine that spider somehow crawled out and you now see it on the wall, crawling towards you. At the very least, you would probably back away and call out loudly to warn the others – and that would be the composed reaction of only some. You would do this because you have a healthy fear of poisonous creatures such as black widows. Only at the moment that the fear came would your reaction take place.

Now I know that was a pretty lame example, but my point should be clear. Healthy fear of what God can and will do to the unrighteous is one of the most important things any human being can have. When we fear God, we will be inclined to do something about it so we will not have to fear Him any more. The point at where our love for God comes in is when we realize that we can’t do anything to remove what we fear; but in His mercy, God did it for us.

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