BCM Bible Study – January 19-20, 2011 Branching Out from Romans – The Greatness of God Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” The Greatness of God “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” - A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy. “That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.” - Tozer What are some ways a small or inaccurate view of God can negatively affect us? Is it easy for you to “unearth and expose” your real idea of God? What do you find when you get there? “Behold your God!” - Isaiah 40:9 Let us take some time to behold God and his greatness. Let us allow our thoughts about him to be lifted up by his testimony about himself that he has given us in the Bible. Read through some or all of the scripture passages listed in different categories below. Take some time to answer the following questions after each section: What do these passages teach us about God and his greatness? How do these statements about God influence my personal relationship with Him? In what ways do my thoughts or actions reveal that my idea of God is too small? God's Unique Greatness Isaiah 40:9-31 ◦ v18-20 - “Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consist only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” - Tozer Isaiah 42:5-9 Isaiah 43:10-13 Isaiah 46:8-11 Isaiah 55:8-9 Exodus 3:13-15 ◦ God often refers back to his covenant name with Israel, Yahweh, meaning “I am” or “I am what I am.” Even God's name tells of his greatness and independence. Psalm 104:24, 27-30 God's Eternal Greatness Psalm 90:1-4 ◦ “'From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,' said Moses in the Spirit. 'From the vanishing point to the vanishing point' would be another way to say it quite in keeping with the words as Moses used them. The mind looks backward in time till the dim past vanishes, then turns and looks into the future till thought and imagination collapse from exhaustion; and God is at both points, unaffected by either.” - Tozer Psalm 102:12, 25-27 God's Greatness in Power Isaiah 14:27 Isaiah 66:1-2 Jeremiah 32:17 “To reign, God must have power, and to reign sovereignly, He must have all power. And that is what omnipotent means, having all power. The word derives from the Latin and is identical in meaning with the more familiar almighty which we have from the Anglo-Saxon. This latter word occurs fifty-six times in our English Bible and is never used of anyone but God. He alone is almighty.” - Tozer God's Love for His Glory and Greatness Isaiah 43:7 Isaiah 43:25 Isaiah 48:9-11 “God's ultimate goal therefore is to preserve and display His infinite and awesome greatness and worth, that is, His glory … He Himself is uppermost in His own affections. God would be unrighteous (just as we would) if He valued anything more than what is supremely valuable. But He Himself is supremely valuable.” - Piper God's Greatness Shown Fully in Christ – Read Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:5-11 Make sure you get to this part, even if it means skipping some of the previous sections. Seeing Christ as the full representation of God's greatness and his humility is really important. How do you see God's greatness shown in Jesus in these verses? In the gospels? How does all of this help you love and worship God the Father and God the Son? Conclusion and Prayer Take some time to praise God and his greatness together in prayer. Also give people some time to be personally prayed for, maybe prompting with questions like: In what areas of your life can we pray that you're able to grasp and live in light of God's greatness? As you look forward to this new semester and new year, in what ways do you want to see this great God work in your life? Resources The Knowledge of the Holy. A. W. Tozer. Desiring God. John Piper. Christian Theology. Millard Erickson. Handbook of Basic Biblical Texts. John J. Davis.