Grateful beyond words.
Psalm 113:4-6. Ephesians 2:12-13. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
Recently I heard a song called “Amazing God” by William Murphy (listen to it HERE). The end of the song says:
You sit high and look down low
Earth is Your footstool
Heaven’s Your throne
That really struck me so I went to the Word to look at this idea of our God sitting high but looking low. The main scripture I ended up looking at is Psalm 113:4-6: “The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!”
I think that is awesome! We serve a God who is SOOOOOO high but reaches down soooo low to us. That is incredible! He is this holy, self-existent, perfect, omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) God of everything who looks at these small, insignificant, imperfect, sinful, often rebellious, needy humans. He looks at and cares about us, our lives, our well-being, our souls, our hearts, our bodies. While He could be worried about a million other things, He looks at us! He thinks about us (Psalm 139:17-18; Jeremiah 29:11)! He moves on our behalf as the rest of chapter 113 (Psalm 113:7-9) goes on to say. He cares about US! Each and every one of us! 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” He cares about us! And, yes, He loves all of us (“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16) but He cares and loves each of us individually. That blows my mind.
Being so high up, above us, I would think He would be rather inaccessible (like many people who think they’re really high, mighty, and important) because He actually is incredibly high, mighty, and important. He could sit way up there and be about His business, forgetting and neglecting us. But that is not the case. He chooses to look down low and reach out to us with everything, regardless of where we are at. He wants to be in relationship with each of us. He chooses to love us! As the song “Here I Am To Worship” says, for love’s sake, He became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). Though He was God almighty, He took on the form of servant (Philippians 2:5-8). He CAME down (1 Timothy 3:16) to reconcile the world back to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)! And now, we can boldly come to Him to obtain mercy and find grace, getting everything we need from His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:12). We have open access to the KING, our Father (Ephesians 2:18). He chose to bring us, those who were far off, nigh by His own blood (Ephesians 2:13). He bridged an incredibly wide gap to get to us because He cares that much.
Psalm 8:4 says, “What is man, that Thou are mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” A God so high, so much higher than anything else, reaches down to us. He calls us. He loves us. He chose us. He thinks about us. He sees us. He does not have to be mindful of us and care about us. But He does. And I am grateful. I will thank Him with everything I have - all of my praise, all of my worship, and all of my life in which I properly respond to His love. He’s worthy of that. All He has done demands it.
“Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary” ♫*
LORD FOR YOU
If you are truly a sanctuary, the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16), you must be pure and holy, tried and true but you also will indisputably carry the presence, power, and glory characteristic of My House. I live in you and walk in you (John 14:16-18; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 6:16).
*Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true
And with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary, Lord for You
NOTE: “In Retrospect” is a series of this online spiritual journal where I post a past entry from my “offline” spiritual journals.
In church, I often hear so many pray, “God, we ask You to move by Your mighty hand.” This language is used in the Word especially to talk about God’s power. Many examples center on how He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt in the Old Testament through or by His “mighty hand” (i.e. Exodus 32:11; Deuteronomy 5:15; Deut. 6:21; Deut. 7:8; Deut. 9:26; Deut. 26:8; etc.). We see God in flesh (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16), Jesus Christ, using His hands and displaying the real power of God time after time throughout the gospels. It is evident that God has a mighty hand; He has all power. He is God. We pray to Him, as we should, appealing to His power, asking Him to move as only He can.
I have prayed many prayers asking God to move by His mighty hand especially in situations that are, frankly, a mess. I see problems, serious issues, all over, both in the church and in the world around us. I realized recently that I was praying to God asking Him to move by His mighty hand but I was not willing to offer my own hands for His use in certain situations. What do I mean? Well, I wanted God to do it all. By Himself. I mean He clearly can. He sometimes does. God, being omnipotent, can completely do anything and everything He wants to do. Still, throughout His word and history He has chosen to use surrendered and consecrated vessels for His purpose and glory. He does it but He incorporates and partners with people. In Mark 16:20, the disciples went and did the work He called them to, “the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” Another example of this idea is when the children of Israel possessed the promise land after wandering in the wilderness. The same God that, as we established earlier, brought them out of Egypt by His mighty hand could have easily brought them into Canaan the same way. He could have easily snapped His fingers and everything been done and His people just waltz in. But He didn’t. He had them fight to obtain what God said He had given them. God did His part. They did their part, simply doing what He asked of them.
In my life, God has shown me how I have, at times, wanted His hand but have not been willing to give Him my hands and all of myself. In one particularly frustrating situation, at first I would complain but I (correctly) realized that was a problem so I started praying. As I started praying, I kept just asking God to move, to fix, to correct by His hand. But He persistently wanted to know if I was willing to be used. That blew my mind. God does not need us. That is unequivocal. But He chooses to use us. I remember someone praying for me once and telling me I would be the “legs of my prayers”. I thought it was interesting but that idea has clicked as God has been teaching me this. He wants me, all of me - my hands, my feet, my mouth, my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength, my life - to be completely His. And He wants to be in relationship with all of me and to use all of me according to His will.
We can pray. We must pray. We should pray. But we cannot take something to God and then when He wants to use us to answer our prayers, and possibly the prayers of others, want Him to do it all alone. We can’t complain or even pray about a situation and then back up and hesitate when He wants to use us. He absolutely can do it without us but what if He doesn’t want to do it that way? My mind goes to the hymn that asks, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.” Just as Jesus had His cross, surrendering to His purpose and being obedient even unto death (Philippians 2:5-8), we have ours too. Jesus said in Mark 8:34, “Whosever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
God has His own hands but what hands (feet, mouth, etc.) on earth does He have but ours? Are we willing to be used as His for Him? Going back to the example of Israel entering the promised land, in one breath God would tell them to possess what He had already given them. One great example: Deuteronomy 1:39 - “Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.” (Other examples in Numbers 33:53; Deuteronomy 1:8; Deut. 2:24; Deut. 3:20; Deut. 4:1; Joshua 21:43; etc.) Joshua (in Joshua 18:3) asked seven tribes of Israel, when it was time to be used in God’s plan, specifically to possess unpossessed land, “How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?” They had a mandate, a call, a responsibility in His plan.
We call on our God’s mighty hand but He wants us, today, to offer our hands completely to Him in surrender and obedience. In our dispensation (and one of my favorite scriptures), Paul wrote, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Without a doubt, Jesus does it! He is the one that that completes His work and fulfills His plan. He could do it all alone with no problem but He, in His perfect wisdom and love, calls us to play a role in it. He chooses to use us, His “vessel[s] unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). But are we willing to be used? Only God and you know that answer. We must make a decision everyday.