We understand that God is all knowing and all present. In his loving kindness toward us He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matt 10:30) and there is nowhere we can go that God will not be by our side (Psalm 139:7). To the believer the thought of an all-knowing, ever-present God is comforting. Yet there are times when we act as if God is limited in his knowledge and in the places He can go. It is not God who is limited but we limit God. We limit God in his presence, in his purposes and in his saving power.
Limiting God in His Presence – In 1 Kings 20 the Children of Israel are fighting against the King of Syria and his allies. The battle took place in the hills and mountainous country where the Syrians fled before the army of God. The Syrians concluded they needed to take the fight to the valley since the God of Israel was the God of the hills. (1 King 20:23) The Syrians were limiting God to the hill country and we do the same today.
We limit God’s presence in our lives when we limit him to just the mountains despair. We are pushed heavenward by the anxieties, and worries of life. We stand on top of this mountain and plead with God to be with us, to stand beside us and carry our heavy load. But when times are good, when we have trekked back down the mountain into the Valley of Good we don’t call God into our lives. We limit God’s presence to the hill country; we limit him to the mountains of despair.
God is our father, and as our father, He desires to apart of every aspect of our lives. We miss a large portion of fellowship with Him if we limit His presence. In the 23rd Psalm, David understood that it was God, the Good Shepherd, who led him to green pastures, still waters and in the paths of righteousness. We too need to give God the praise He deserves in leading us to the green pastures and still waters of life. Don’t limit God’s presence in your life; allow Him into every corner of your existence both in the bad times and the good times.
Limiting God to the Spectacular – Quickly following his Mount Carmel victory, Elijah is on the run to save his life (1 Kings 18, 19). Elijah travels for forty days before hiding in a cave. It is here that God presents himself to Elijah. The text says that there was a great wind that came through the valley and tore down the rocks but God was not in the wind (19:11). After the great wind there was a mighty earthquake but again God was not in the earthquake (19:11). After the earthquake there was a great fire but God was not in the fire (19:12). Following these spectacular events was a still small voice (19:12) in which God spoke to Elijah. God was teaching Elijah that He is not only limited to the spectacular but He is also present in the still small voice.
We too look for God in the spectacular. Many times, we think that God only works through the spectacular events of our lives. The story of Elijah at the cave teaches us to not limit God to just the spectacular. People in the religious world today seek churches that present God through the spectacular events of life while shunning those who only rely on the still small voice of His word. Let us seek the word of God in all His ways, not just the spectacular but also in the still small voice.
Limiting God in his Power – Throughout his ministry, Jesus was called upon to heal the sick and raise the dead. In Mark 5 Jesus is called by Jarius to come and heal his daughter. Jesus was delayed in coming and Jarius’ servant comes and tells him “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Mark 5:35) The servant was limiting Jesus’ power to only healing the sick not raising the dead. Jesus then proceeds to the Jarius’ house where He raised the girl from the dead.
The power of Jesus has not changed. There is power in the gospel to heal and raise people from spiritual death. We can be tempted to have the same mindset as Jarius’ servant and limit Jesus’ power to save. We look around us and see the corruptness of our society. There are so many who are spiritually dead and we think how can they be saved? If we do not take the gospel to those who need it most then we have limited the gospel’s power to save.
God is all-powerful; there is no limit to what He can accomplish in our lives. We need to be careful that we do not limit God by limiting his presence in our lives, limiting him to just the spectacular, or by limiting his power to save. There is an old song that we sing, “God has no hands but our hands to do his work today… God has no feet but our feet to lead other in his way…” Are we working as the hands of God or using our feet to lead others in his way? When we limit God, then we limit our work and we limit our ability to lead others to Jesus. Examine your life today and look for ways to increase God’s presence, works and power in your life, not limit them. God bless.