The Glory of God 25

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

It is such a hard thing for man to come to the realization of his own utter helplessness and dependence upon God for all things. It sure seems to fallen man that he has a lot of control and that all things depend upon him, and man even takes great pride in that. When the biblical teaching of the self-sufficiency of God is taught to man, this is very disruptive to man and he hates the idea that he is not in control. Men cannot bear to think that their every breath and all things are in the hands of God and that they cannot serve Him. They cannot build a temple since He cannot dwell in a temple other than in a figurative way, so the building of a temple does not do the least thing for the living God. In the Old Testament, however, it did picture how men were to approach God.

Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

The passage just above screams out and declares that the true God does whatever He pleases. The implications and deductions from the great truth that God does as He pleases are enormous. If God does as He pleases, then man can go no farther than the pleasure of God which means man is not free to do as he pleases. Now if man cannot do as he pleases and yet God does whatever He pleases, the teaching of that is that man is not free. God is God and man cannot do anything but what God “allows” him to do or ordains him to do. If God does whatever He pleases, then God is sufficient to do all He is pleased to do and to prevent whatever does not please Him. The glory of God’s self-sufficiency shines in this passage since God is sufficient to do all that He pleases and nothing can stop Him.

Psalm 50:9-12 I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.

Can poor man who thinks that he is in control and can make a sacrifice actually do anything to benefit God or give God something? The point of the passage above is that man cannot serve God. All the animals in the world are His. Even if God could possibly be hungry, man cannot give God something since all is His. Even if God had no money, man cannot give any property or anything of value to God since it is all His. The earth is the Lord’s, the whole universe is the Lord’s, and everything (including human beings) in the universe and on earth is His. God is self-sufficient and everything that has come into being came into being by His power and is sustained each moment but Him. He cannot be served by man and man can do nothing for Him as He needs absolutely and utterly nothing at any point and at any time.

Self-sufficiency cannot be derived from what we think of human beings when we think of them as self-sufficient. A man is thought to be self-sufficient when he is able to live off the land by growing food, hunting, and making his own clothes. But the definition or concept of what self-sufficiency is regarding men cannot be used and applied to God. A man may depend on the tools that another makes, but no one can make something for God. A man can become hungry, but God cannot become hungry. A man can be injured or sick, but God cannot become injured or sick. A man must depend on food and water to exist, but God depends on nothing but Himself to exist. It is an utterly glorious and beautiful attribute of God which teaches us something of how He exists in and of Himself and yet of how utterly dependent we are upon Him. We should bow low before God in utter nothingness and seek His face. Oh that He would show us this grace that depends on Himself and not us.

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