We measure greatness in several ways. Among them are two questions: “What does a person know?” and “What can a person do?” We brag about our kids’ grade point averages or SAT scores. We claim a person is the greatest to play a sport based on measurable statistics like championships won, home runs hit or touchdowns scored.
The Bible presents a compelling case for God’s greatness. He knows all things. He has never had to learn anything. He is equally proficient in every area of knowledge (unlike scholars who know one limited sphere of knowledge well). Put another way, God has never had—nor will he ever have—an “Aha!” moment when he realizes a mistake he’s made due to insufficient knowledge (Ps. 139:16; 147:4, Matt. 11:21; Acts 15:18).
But God’s greatness is NOT seen only in what he knows but also in what he can do.
Once again, the Bible declares God has unmatched abilities. In a prayer by the Apostle Paul in the letter to the Ephesian believers, we read a part of his concluding praise to God, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20–21, NASB).
This passage teaches many things, but among them are the following:
• God can do “far more abundantly beyond” any and every thing we might ask him to do. People have their limits. All of us have some things we can do. But we all have much more that we cannot do. Since we have limited abilities, people do not ask us to do certain things. No one has ever asked me for a $ 10 million gift or loan. They have rightly concluded I could NOT fulfill their request.
• When we ask God to work on our behalf through our prayers, it does not mean God will do exactly what we ask. It only means that he’s capable. His capability should cause us to ask him to work out an “impossible” situation. Why? Because God is capable.
• God can do far more than you can even imagine. All of us daydream. When we do that about God and his abilities, we never imagine enough. Who could have ever imagined he’d elevate Joseph from an Egyptian prison to being co-regent of all of Egypt? Who could have imagined he’d take a persecutor of the church and one who caused the martyrdom of many (Saul who became Paul), gloriously transform him, and use him to write 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament? In more modern times, who could have imagined he’d take a 1,000,000-watt AM radio station built by Adolph Hitler and use it for his glory. Trans World Radio (TWR) of Cary, N.C. purchased the station in the 1970s. Hitler built it for Nazi propaganda purposes (though it was never used for that purpose). Today, TWR uses the station to broadcast the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and his offer of everlasting life to all who believe!
Take heart! God knows all things, and he can do all things. So, no matter what your circumstance is, he knows and can work in ways you can’t imagine in order to make something good result from it! He truly can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine. Praise his name!