Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More on Omnipotence

We've spent time discussing the fact that God is omnipotent, however I want to discuss how different He is than we in the utilization of power.   I remember in elementary school when the teacher would leave the room she would leave one of us "in charge."  Basically we were to use our "power" to tell on those that we didn't like, whether they were being loud or not.  There was power I didn't want either.  I hated when I was chosen to advance the film role when the cassette tape beeped at me.  I inevitably turned the film the wrong direction to the moans and laughs of my classmates.  When I was junior class president in high school I really enjoyed telling others what to do for the homecoming float, or setting my foot down on where we were going to have prom.  Basically, I either used power for my own ends or I didn't like the responsibility that came with the power bestowed on me.  Even typing this I realize that the power I had was ceded to me, not something I inherently possessed.

My Father is different though.  By His very nature He is all powerful such that no act of His in any way depletes the power He possesses.  Because of His character He is neither tempted to corruption nor corruptible in His purposes. He "does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man, that He should change His mind." - I Sam 15:29.  "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." - Pr 19:21.  I want to spend a few minutes on His purpose and what He has chosen to do with His infinite power.  Please take a minute to read the following excerpt:

A covenant is a compact or agreement made between two parties binding them mutually to some agreed upon obligations and benefits. Much of the history of salvation can be traced by noting both the presence and the contents of biblical covenants. Covenants may be either bilateral (“two-sided”), where both parties are obligated, or unilateral (“one-sided”), where only one party is bound by the agreement.
Genesis 15:9–21 offers the best illustration of the unilateral type of covenant. The verb “to make” a covenant is literally “to cut” a covenant. Thus when one made a covenant, several animals were brought, cut in half, and arranged opposite each other. The person or parties making the covenant would then walk through the aisle formed by the carcasses and say in effect, “May it happen to me as it has happened to these slain animals if I do not keep all the provisions of this covenant.” (Compare Jer. 34:18–20.)
In a bilateral covenant both parties would take the oath. If one defaulted, the other was released from any further obligations. But in the case of Genesis 15:9–21, the “smoking fire pot with a blazing torch” pictures God as the only One who walked between the pieces and thus obligated Himself alone to bring all the blessings and benefits of the Abrahamic covenant. God’s blessings were apart from any works of obedience on the part of Abraham or any of the patriarchs who followed him who also enjoyed the benefits of this covenant.
Dockery, D. S. (1998). Holman concise Bible commentary: Simple, straightforward commentary on every book of the Bible (14). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

I want to point out a couple of stark realities from the description of the Abrahamic covenant:  1.  My Father knew that I was not going to be able to live up to my end of the covenant and 2.  My Father slew His Son to pay for my half of the covenant.

I'm a banker by profession and I spend a lot of my time trying to manage risk.  A business needs cash for expansion, I sit down with them to look at their financials and their expansion plans.  We discuss things like balance sheet leverage, cash flow leverage, or fixed charge coverage:  different measurements I have for the health of a company and its ability to pay me back after I make the loan.  We enter into a contract that obligates me to give them the money and which obligates them to give it back.  Within the language of the loan agreement I put in "loan covenants."  These are performance benchmarks which, if broken, put the borrower in default on their loan.  I have the option to call the note and demand immediate payment since they have not lived up to their end of the "covenant."

I can tell you that I have not knowingly entered into any loan agreement with a company not assessed as capable of paying me back.  Why would I put my money at risk if I know I will not get it back?  My Father, even when the stakes were immeasurably higher, decided to originate a covenant to which He knew I couldn't hope to contribute.  He looked at my balance sheet, the comparison between my assets and liabilities.  He looked at my income statement, my generation of good works to reduce liabilities and build equity.  He compared my generation of good works to the shear weight of my liabilities and saw that I would never be able to generate enough obedience to offset the depth of my depravity.

Then He made the deal, signed it for the both of us, and paid the price so that I could benefit from the blessings of the covenant.  "Paid the price" isn't but three words, but I want you to think of what that price entailed.  His body was rent by nails and a spear; and that wasn't the worst part of it.  All of the wrath stored up since the beginning of time, all the wrath to come as more and more sin is committed, it was all pored out on Jesus.  My Father sacrificed my Brother so I could live.  My sin killed Him, and yet our Father looks at me through the blood of His sacrifice, loves me, and calls me His own.

That's omnipotence.

Father, please forgive me if I've in any way misrepresented You or Your word this morning.  By Your Spirit please speak to us and confirm within us your awesome love and power that prompted you to enter into a covenant for which You had to pay.  Thank You for loving us.  In Jesus' name, amen.


  1. Talley great post I really like your thinking about God's power and how He uses it.

  2. Another, simple but wonderful, picture of our Father. He is so amazing, why do I keep arguing with Him?
    God bless,