“My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:10).
As a young professor at Oxford University in the 1930’s, C.S. Lewis was struggling to survive as an avowed and outspoken atheist. In became less and less plausible even to his own mind to continue ignoring the irrepressible reality of God. He recounted later that he could not shake “the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.” Finally, the inward compulsion of God overcame the vestiges of his well-rehearsed objections and he, in his own words, gave in and “admitted that God was God.”
God is God
There are many, even among Christians today, who need to bow to this same truth and confess that the God of the Bible is, indeed, God. While many of us might give a ready assent to the truth that is proclaimed by the heavenly host in Revelation, “You created all things,” how thoroughly do we grasp the second assertion of that same adoring crowd: “by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11)? It is often difficult for you and me to come face-to-face with the material and spiritual creation and how it exists solely for the pleasure of the Almighty himself. And, according to Isaiah, this purpose for all creation will be fulfilled for, He declares, “I will accomplish all my purpose.”
What a humbling position, to be divinely reminded that we are but the accompaniment to God’s solo, the canvas for His masterpiece, the subplot in His story. As we look in the Bible, we find ourselves orbiting in a God-centered universe. From our beginning in Genesis, to the conclusion in Revelation, the supremacy of God is declared on every page of Holy Scripture.
Although God gave Adam the privilege of naming the animate creatures, God himself named the inanimate creation. He named the Day, the Night, the Heaven, the Earth, and the Seas (Genesis 1:5-10). While man was granted dominion over other living things, God was, even in the perfection of Eden, asserting his sovereignty over every day and all the earth.
We Are Human
Although we like to puff ourselves up and pat ourselves on the back because of all our achievements and inventions, when we look to the God of the Bible we should come to realize all we have said, done, or accomplished is all that impressive to Him. So you landed on the moon that circles the earth, that orbits the Sun, in one of many solar systems, from among one hundred billion galaxies, in a universe that God holds in the palm of His hand—big deal, the Lord thinks! So you are making decisions and negotiating agreements that will have an impact upon the greatest nations in the world? The Lord says, “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket” (Isaiah 40:15).
When professor Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard University, he had the unique privilege of overseeing the dedication of a new hall of philosophy. He searched high and low for an appropriate inscription to place over the imposing entrance to the building. He called together his faculty members (among them philosopher William James), and after much deliberation, they agreed upon the well known Greek phrase from the great philosopher Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things.” Having this issue settled, they all adjourned for the summer. As Charles Eliot continued to ponder the importance of this representative inscription, he changed his mind and had an entirely different phrase carved across the grand entryway. When school reopened in the fall, you can well imagine the surprise of the other faculty members, when the finished entrance was unveiled. Instead of the humanistic inscription, “Man is the measure of all things,” there emblazoned across the doorway to Eliot Hall, which still stands on the Harvard campus today, were the psalmist’s words “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
Is this your philosophy? Do you see the condescension of God as a thing of incomprehensible beauty and marvelous mystery? Do you see God himself as the Supreme Being of the universe, to Whom all worship and praise is due, but from Whom no favor—or even notice—is required? It is only when we see God on His throne that we begin to have a clear view of Him elsewhere: on the cross, in our trials, or by our deathbed.
God Is Human
When we come to see the God of the Bible as the sovereign King of the cosmos, only then will we be awed once again by the condescension of His incarnation. Imagine God the Father giving up His glory and majesty, being whipped and scourged and spit upon, dying at the hands of His own treacherous and murderous creatures! Christ is just as glorious and majestic and powerful as the Father, and He gave it all up for the sake of His people.
We have often come to think of Jesus as somewhat lowly, humble, and homely, though, that is merely the form He took upon Himself to save us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).
Recognizing that the Word is among us and that He became one of us to save us, also gives us a clear indication of His chance for a successful mission to earth. Is it possible for the God Who does all His pleasure to be thwarted in His purpose for salvation, of all things? Is there any possibility that He would fail to accomplish the purpose for which He came? Is He any less Almighty as our Savior than He was as our Creator? Certainly not. And so we can expect to see the particular accomplishment of those purposes for which He came to this earth. And in the Bible, we are told explicitly what these purposes were in John 6:38-39, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
In the supremacy of God, we find a reason to be humble, in that we are objects created for His pleasure, and a cause to rejoice, in that we are objects of His pleasure and that He has promised to do all His purpose in this world. Each great purpose of His sovereign pleasure is certain to be fulfilled in the objects of His pleasure. There is no greater conviction or comfort to be found than in the contemplation of such a Creator.
Justin Huffman is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary and pastored churches in the States for over 15 years. He is currently lead pastor of Morningstar Christian Fellowship in Toronto, where he lives with his wife Chau and their four children. Justin is the author of the “Daily Devotion” app, as well as numerous books and articles, including his newest book Behold: an Invitation to Wonder. Connect with him at justinhuffman.org.