Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: How Will the World Know God is Great?

How Will The World Know God is Great?

Psalm 70:1-5

But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “God is great!”

Psalm 70 calls those of us who have been saved by God’s grace to worship God by shouting repeatedly “God is great!” David envisions the people of God gathered together, in which they celebrate the goodness and power of God. We experience this goodness and power when God saves us, whether from earthly foes, or the sorry results of our own bad choices, or from sin and death. The center of Christian worship celebrates the greatness of God.

Yet, I wonder how we can communicate God’s greatness in a way that will be heard by those who have not experienced his salvation. Simply shouting “God is great” is not enough. Something more is needed.

I was impressed by this fact four years ago during one of the strangest events of my life. I found myself in a three-hour, live, radio debate (transcript and recording here) with Christopher Hitchens, one of the world’s most “evangelistic” atheists and the author of the suitably title book: god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens brought up many reasons for denying the greatness – really, the existence – of God. When I suggested that, in fact, religion, as I have known it, has done quite a bit of good in the world, Hitchens had no adequate response, besides pointing to evil done in the name of God. It was clear to me that no amount of intellectual argumentation would persuade Hitchens of the truth of the Gospel. The actions of Christian people would speak much louder than words.

Of course this isn’t a new idea. Jesus himself said we are to live in such a way that our good deeds lead people to praise God (Matt 5:16). Moreover, he taught that the world would know we are his disciples by our love (John 13:35). We are to love our neighbors and even our enemies, not just because loving is a good thing, but also because it is an indispensible way for us to demonstrate the truth of the Gospel.

So, by all means, let us be people who repeatedly shout “God is great!” But let us also live in such a way that people who have not experienced God’s salvation will be drawn by our actions to join us in praising God.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways do you bear witness to God’s greatness? How are you living so that people might see the greatness of God through you?

PRAYER: Almighty God, indeed, you are great! Your greatness is seen in manifold ways: in the majesty of creation, in the wonders of human love, in your faithful delivering us from the messes of our lives, and, most of all, in the salvation you have made possible through Jesus Christ. You are great!

Help me, O God, to bear witness to your greatness with the words of my mouth, as I proclaim your wonders. Help me also to demonstrate your greatness through how I live each day, at work and at home, in my neighborhood and in the market. May my love for others show people that I am a member of your family. Amen.

_________________________________________________

Would you like to receive a Daily Reflection like this one in your email inbox each morning?

Here’s how . . . .

This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.

  • Evan

    “Nothing Found” error on the link, Mark.

    I have commented before on your debate with Hitchens. He is a real knife-fighter, and a clipped British accent also makes one sound Oh So Intellectual. But he was utterly and irretrievably discredited when he tossed off an aside about Jesus Christ, that “there is not a shred of credible evidence He even existed.” The writings of Tacitus and Pliny the Younger that document His existence, alas, do not make for riveting soundbites, but Hitchens’ statement is so catastrophicly ill-informed that it ought to have disqualifed him from further opinion on matters.

    But as Father Abraham noted to the rich man in torment, “If they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they will not believe even if someone rises from the dead.”

    Hitchens is going to wind up causing some rocks and stones to be called to active duty to proclaim the truth of what he refuses to acknowledge.

    Evan

  • Pingback: markdroberts

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Evan, for your thoughtful comment, and for the correction!

  • Evan

    Thanks for fixing the link, Mark. That was an interesting 3 hours, and it sparked a lot of commentary on your blog.

    But I misremembered; Hitchens’ word was acutally “shard:”

    Hugh Hewitt: Christopher Hitchens, proposition number 3, on page 114 of your book, you write, “The existence of Jesus is highly questionable.” Can you back that up?

    Christopher Hitchens: Sure.

    HH: Please do.

    CH: Well, there doesn’t exist a shard of convincing evidence that He ever did.

    And at that point, the wagon goes off the road for Hitchens. There is plenty of extra-Biblical evidence about Jesus from disinterested parties, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger being the most prominent. If Hitchens wants to refuse to believe any evidence presented, that is all well and good, but let’s not have this patronizing business that “Great claims require great evidence.” If Jesus did not provide enough evidence to even garner consideration, the game is rigged. Reject the evidence if you want, but let’s not say it does not even exist. 

    Evan
     


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X