2021-5-09 “I Believe in God Almighty”

Cornerstone EPC                                                                              Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                          May 9, 2021

“I Believe in God Almighty”
Psalm 135:5-7

            We continue, in our long sermon series for this year, to look closely at the articles we confess in the Apostles’ Creed, a creed that has existed in its current form since about A. D. 700—with roots much earlier than even this early date.[1]  We continue this morning in the section of the Creed dealing with God the Father.  Today we note, and rejoice in, the fact that He is almighty.  We do this from today’s text in Psalm 135.  Let us give our attention, once again, to the Word of God read and proclaimed in this place.

            (HERE READ THE TEXT)

            The thrust of this morning’s text is this: Whatever the Lord pleases, He does (cf. Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever pleases Him.”).  Our God does whatever pleases Him in every place (6).  The unnamed, Spirit-led Psalmist here declares that God does whatever pleases Him in Heaven and on earth—in concert with Jesus’ plea in His model prayer, “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  More than this, the Psalmist declares that God does whatsoever He will in the seas and all depths.  Hence, our God does His sovereign pleasure, in His omnipotence, above the earth, on the earth, and in the watery depths beneath the earth’s surface.  Indeed, our God does whatever pleases Him in every place.

            The Lord also does what pleases Him in every way (7-12).  Our Psalmist, in today’s text, notes how God orders the various natural phenomena—such as rain, storm, and wind—to please Himself and to bless His created order.  Just after today’s text, the Lord, through His inspired Psalmist, remarks extensively from His covenant people’s history about how He raises up and tears down nations, with a special eye to the maximal good of His covenant people in Christ.  The Lord delivered His Old Testament Church out of Egypt.  Then, near the end of their forty-year wandering in the wilderness, He delivered her over two kings who ruled kingdoms just outside Canaan—Sihon, king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan.  The Lord then delivered her over the nations inhabiting Canaan—and, finally, He delivered Canaan into her hand.  This partial, though impressive, description of God’s almighty power via His providence stands to describe the whole.  Our God holds sovereign sway everywhere by His almighty power. 

            God alone does this.  He alone has the power to rule in this way (contra idols, 13-18), with none to frustrate.  The Psalmist tells us, under the Spirit’s leadership, that idols do not live.  Neither can they do anything.  Their description, and the depiction of their utter impotence (contra God’s omnipotence) borders on hilarity.  These idols have mouths, but they neither speak nor breathe.  The idols have eyes, but they see not—and they have ears, but they hear not.  In short, these idols—fashioned by men from materials readily at hand—are powerless.  Those making idols, and those trusting in them, become like them—mute, motionless, and powerless.  In view of this, therefore, God alone is to be praised (1-6, 19-21), both for Who His is and for what He does—all of it.

            Our almighty God works today in the ways we see in Psalm 135.  He orders rain, snow, wind, sun, cool, heat, etc., as He sees fit—sometimes in concert with our hopes, but at other times not.  We need recall that whatever God ordains is right, and, consequently, we trust to His perfectly wise judgment—even if we must wait until present with Him in glory for confirmation of His rightness.  Note also that God erects and topples nations at His pleasure.  I still marvel at how God engineered the breakdown of the Soviet Union—yea, the entire Soviet bloc—in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  I also marvel at God’s wondrous preservation of our nation—contrary to our deserving many a time.

            God further builds up, tears down, provides, and withholds at His pleasure—and these in every sphere of our lives and of His creation.  He does these, foremost, for His own glory, and—secondarily, yet consistent with His own glory—for the good of His Church, and for the good of every single individual ingrafted therein.

            In view of all the foregoing, then, let us remember two important applications.  First, by God’s omnipotent, sovereign sway, nothing is so large that God cannot handle it.  Nothing you and I bring to the throne of grace is too large, or too hard, for Him to handle for His glory and our good.  Hence, bring to him that apparently hopeless situation, or relationship, or need, and watch Him work on your behalf in His good pleasure.  Second, by God’s omnipotent, sovereign sway, nothing is so small that it escapes God’s notice.  Therefore, bring  Him the thing that seems small in your eyes—and apparently insignificant before God—yet matters to you before Him.  Then watch Him work in that thing—for your joy and for His glory.  Our God is almighty.  This, to His glory and for our great joy, we confess—both today, and always.

                                                                                                            AMEN.

[1]     See discussion and antecedent texts at John H. Leith, Creeds of the Churches, Third Edition (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1982), 22-26.