The Be-Everywhere, Do-Everything, Know-It-All God
We are on the second week of our series on The Attributes of God and last week we were acquainted with God's name YAHWEH - which was revealed to MOSES as "I AM" (Exodus 3).
Now we turn the page to look at another name of God in the Bible - ADONAI. From the word “adon” which simply means lord, Adonai is the emphatic plural or plural of majesty - a Hebrew literary tool for emphasis. Thus, it means “Lord par excellence” or "The Lord Almighty" or what we commonly use as "Lord of lords" or simply "The Lord of All". This name stresses His absolute authority. Adonai also hints at the notion of ownership - GOD owns everything and thus have control of all things. It is used over 400 instances in the Bible: Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. (Psalm 8:1)
Adonai has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)
Give thanks to the Lord of lords (Adonai): His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:3)
"But be sure to fear Adonai and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you." (1 Samuel 12:24)
...I saw the LORD (Adonai), high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)
What makes GOD ADONAI?
Every time the Name Adonai appears in the Scriptures it’s always, pointing to the sovereignty of God. To be sovereign means to be in full control of all things created and these three interconnected Attributes alone is what makes God God and what maken Him Sovereign:
Omnipresence - All-Present
Omniscience - All-Knowing
Omnipotent - All-Powerful
If you have watched the movie, Bruce Almighty, it drevolves around the idea of this character who has been granted God's powersand what he will do to it. The reality is we are not Omnipresent nor Omniscient nor Omnipotent. Only GOD is! All at the same time. And that ought to give us peace and make us glad that He is and we are not. Because if it is ours then it’s all up to us! Let us explore these three Attributes and see what the Bible reveals to us about God:
There isn’t any place in the entire universe where God cannot be found. God is present everywhere at the same time.God is not limited or bounded by space, yet he is present throughout all space. God does not have size or spatial dimensions and is present in every point of space in his entire being. His presence is also not just in every place but also in every time.
King David had a revelation of God’s Omnipresence:
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” — Psalm 139:7-10, ESV
King David lived his life reflecting his conviction about this character of God that God is present and that God is with him. That’s the reason why He had the courage to face the lion and the bear and eventually, Goliath and fought and won the battles he faced. The very few times that David has forgotten this truth was the few times he also failed. (Adultery with Bathsheba- 2 Samule 11; and relying on the strength of his army instead of the Presence of God - 2 Samuel 24.)
This is also a lesson the Lord taught Jonah and many others who mistakenly believed they could successfully flee from His presence.
Am I God who is only in one place?” asks the LORD. “Do they think I cannot see what they are doing? Can anyone hide from Me? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” asks the LORD. - Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NLT)
AW Tozer explains:
"In His infinitude He surrounds the finite creation and contains it. There is no place beyond Him for anything to be. God is our environment as the sea is to the fish and the air to the bird. "God is over all things," wrote Hildebert of Lavardin, "under all things; outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly within, filling."
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. - Proverbs 15:3
God knows all things past, present, and future, and all things possible as well as actual.
AW Tozer describes:
God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.
God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter, every mind, all spirits, every being, all creatures, every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.
He never discovers anything, He is never surprised. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20, ESV
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. -Matthew 10:29-30
Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Romans 11:34
There is no greater power in existence than the power of God, and there is nothing in existence that God doesn't have power over. God’s omnipotence refers to his power to do what he decides to do. Numerous passages speak to God’s omnipotence:
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27)
Jeremiah says to God, “nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17)
“‘He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:24)
Paul says that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)
God is called the “Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8), a Greek term (pantokratōr) that suggests the possession of all power and authority.
The angel Gabriel says to Mary, “With God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37)
Jesus says, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)
However, there are some things that God cannot do. God cannot do anything that denies his own character. For example, Scripture tells us that God can’t lie:
In Titus 1:2 he is called (literally) “the unlying God” or the “God who never lies.”
The author of Hebrews says that in God’s oath and promise “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrew 6:18, Grudem’s translation).
2 Timothy 2:13 says of Christ, “He cannot deny himself.”
Additionally, James says, “God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). Thus, God cannot lie, sin, deny himself, or be tempted with evil. He cannot cease to exist, or cease to be God, or act in a way inconsistent with any of his attributes.
How should we respond to these then? What should its impact be on our lives? Let me suggest three applications:
1. Enjoy Your Access
So God’s omnipresence is not just a theoretical conclusion. It is a precious truth of redemption. Although we have sinned and deserve God’s judgment, God comes to people who seek Him and declares to them “I will be with you.” This means that God is here, wherever we are, but also that God is on our side. He is with us, not to destroy us, but to forgive and to save us from sin. So this “with you,” this redeeming divine presence, is found often in Scripture as his gracious promise.
To Isaac, God said, “I will be with you and will bless you” (Gen 26:3) and that language often forms the basis of God’s redemptive covenant. The heart of the covenant, God’s redemptive promise, is that “I will be your God, and you will be my people,” a precious togetherness of God with his people (Exod 6:7, 2Cor 6:16; cf. Gen 17:7, Exod 6:7, 29:45, Lev 26:12, Jer 7:23, 11:4, 24:7, 30:22, Ezek 11:20, 14:11, 36:28, 37:27, Heb 11:16, Rev 21:3). It should not surprise us that a biblical name for Jesus is Immanuel, God with us (Isa 7:14, Matt 1:23). As the Old Testament tabernacle was a place for God to dwell with his people, so Jesus, the Son of God, “tabernacled among us” (John 1:14).
It's also wise, healthy, and a sign of spiritual maturity, to become gradually more conscious of the presence of God. I believe we make much healthier decisions in life when our awareness of God's presence with us is heightened. Typically, as we foster the spiritual discipline of prayer, our awareness of God's presence with us grows. We talk to Him because He's near. We listen to Him because He's near. We visibly observe His miraculous intervention in our lives, because He's near. Our hearts find peace because He's near.
2. Embrace Your Limits
Humans have never stopped believing that they can be equal to God. The serpents lie and deception to Adam and Eveand and the pride of humans in the building of the tower of Babel is still visible and replicated today. We are still building our tower of human pride and independence. We have been trying to be self-sufficient and tried to satisfy the craving for power and control and it only led to greater amounts of mental health problems, stresses, anxieties and deppression and dysfunctions of all sorts. Human technological advances that imitate God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. E.g. A.I., cloning, our gadgets and toys that tries to fill the empty void and hollw space in the soul that only God can really fill. Knowledge is good but with the increase in knowledge comes also the tendency for arrogance. Look at God's discourse with Job in Job 38-40 .
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
2 “Who is this that rdarkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
1 And the LORD said to Job:
2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
4 “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further.”
3. EXTERMINATE YOUR FEARS
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." Our all-powerful God who has made us part of His eternal family when we trusted in Jesus Christ, is working His power through us. He has not left us powerless to face the challenges, griefs, or adversities of this life. The very same power that spoke creation into existence is accessible and at work in all who believe. Are you convinced of this? What difference will this make in the life of a believer who becomes fully convinced of this truth?
In the season of this global pandemic where we are. We might question, "Where is God? or "What is God doing?" "Is He really omipotent?" "Then why is He stopping this pandemic? There is a fourth attribute that ties all these three together - that God is OMNISAPIENT - ALL-WISE-GOD. His wisdom is beyond us and He is still seated on the throne. He is allowing all sorts of bad things to happen in this world but that doesn't mean He has lost control. Nothing escapes His purpose and plans. Even Satan need to ask permission from God.
So if we BELIEVE in GOD? Why are we still afraid? Why are we so anxious about many things? COVID is everywhere but so is God. As Christians, sometimes it breaks my heart that we have greater faith in covid than in God. We fear COVID more than we fear God. I am not saying we shouldn’t be careful and shouldn’t abide by the laws. By all means we should. What I am saying is don’t be paralysed by fear. It’s dishonouring and insulting to God. As if we are saying, He is incapable of protecting us. We should repent of our unbelief and Enjoy our Access in God's Presence while weEmbrace our Limits and Exterminate our Fears .
Ultimately, the greatest display of God’s power was not the parting of the Red Sea or the Plagues of Egypt or Jesus Walking on Water. The greatest display of God's Power is His LOVE. IT WAS THE CROSS - and HIS RESURRECTION - and YOUR SALVATION and MINE.
He has done everything that's possible for us to believe. At the end of the day, "knowing" is still different from "believing". There are only two times in the New Testament where Jesus is said to marvel. One is in Mark 6:6 where Jesus marvels at the unbelief in Nazareth. The other occasion is in Luke 7:9 where Jesus marvels at the Centurion and his great faith. These are the only two times we have record of Jesus marveling.
There are two things that make Jesus step back and say “Wow!” 1) Those who believe when it’s not expected they would. 2) Those who disbelieve when there’s every reason they should.
I pray that ADONAI finds us on the former. I pray that our Master is really ADONAI and not our fears caused by unbelief. Let's press on and allow the Holy Spirit to build strong our faithin our ADONAI!
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION:
1. If you will be given power for one day, only one among these three attributes - what would you choose? Why? And what would you do with it?
2. Why is it important to learn and understand God's Names?
3. What does Adonai mean according to this teaching? How do you know that God is your "Adonai"?
4. What is God's omnipresence and what should be its effect in our lives?
5. What is God's omniscience and how should it change the way we relate to Him?
6. What is God's omnipotence and how should it affect the way we live?
7. What causes fear and why is it ungodly?
Recommended Readings: A. W. Pink – The Sovereignty of God
A. W. Tozer – God’s Omnipresence https://www.jrmsydney.com/post/god-s-omnipresence
A. W. Tozer - God's Omniscience
A. W. Tozer - God's Omnipotence https://www.jrmsydney.com/post/the-omnipotence-of-god
John Frame, The Doctrine of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishers, 2002), 21-115.
Jen Wilkin, None Like Him, chapters 7, 8 and 9.
Stephen Charnock – On God's Dominion