8 January 2021
JB Phillips is famous for translating the New Testament into modern English. In 1952 he wrote a book with the title Your God is Too Small. He says, “The trouble with many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for their needs … Yet the God who supplies all men’s needs is there … [the God] who conquered sin, death and hell.” I hardly think the situation is much different now; if anything it’s worse.
You could hardly accuse Isaiah of having a God who’s too small. His problem was persuading God’s people in his day that this was their God. He knew they’d be tempted to think he’d given up on them. To an extent that was understandable as they languished in exile in Babylon, with their city and temple back in Jerusalem in ruins. Yet it’s to these people that Isaiah says – and it’s our church motto text for 2021:
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
If we didn’t know it before, Covid has revealed our limitations. Our strength is limited; we grow tired and weary. How many times have I said, or heard someone else say, how tired they are? And our understanding is limited; we don’t know what’s going on, or what to do.
But God is not subject to such limitations. He’s not limited by time as we are: he’s “the everlasting God”, who was and is and is to come. And he’s not limited by space as we are: He’s “the Creator of the ends of the earth” (and for that matter the heavens and the starry host as well).
Surely we know this? Surely we’ve heard it before? Yes we have. But, like the people of Isaiah’s day, we’re forgetful. And when we focus on our circumstances they easily seem bigger than God. So we need to hear it again… and again and again.
The truly amazing thing, though, is not that God should be so big. After all, isn’t that what God should be like? The big surprise is that this big God should make himself so small, small enough to lie in a virgin’s womb. And all so that we could become his children and have the privilege of calling him, the everlasting Creator, “our Father.”
Father, help me to believe the truths I’ve heard about you: that you made everything there is, that you’ve always been there and always will be, and that you’re my Father. Amen.
Chris Hobbs, Senior Minister