One of the most encouraging verses in the Bible is Eph. 3:20. “God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we could ask or think!”
Did you see the superlatives?
Exceedingly! Abundantly! Beyond!
God is clearly wanting us to understand that He is a really Big God, Who has a Really Big Heart for us, and wants to do Really Big Things on our behalf --- So big, that we can’t even begin to lay hold of how much He wants to do in, through and for us!
WOW! Let’s look at a real-life example of how God does this:
Ponder Daniel. Remember how the Israelites had been carried off to exile in Babylon because God was lovingly disciplining them for their rebelliousness. This was not a permanent exile, for God had prophesied through Jeremiah that it would only be for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:8-11). Then, with their hearts repentant, God would restore them to their land.
As the 70 years was nearing completion, Daniel was greatly concerned for the hearts of Israelites, for their hearts were still far from God. So, Daniel went to prayer. In anticipation of the 70 years nearing an end, he prayed for the restoration of Israel to their God, and to the land.
Do not miss this – Daniel prayed for Israel to be restored to the land!
What did God do in response?
He answered Daniel’s prayer with a promise of restoring Israel to their land. But Daniel got way more than he asked for.
God also gave Daniel a prophecy, predicting the very day that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem as the prince of Israel, the Messiah. The “seventy weeks prophecy” as it is known, is one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible. Scholars have used it to defend the Bible as truly inspired by God, and Christians have used it for centuries to lead people to saving faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah. Daniel had prayed for the restoration of Israel to their land. God answered far beyond that prayer and gave Daniel a prophesy concerning the restoration of mankind to their God. WOW! I don't believe Daniel had that thought in his mind at all, but there was God, providing beyond what Daniel could ask or think!
Let’s take this incredible character trait of God to do beyond what we can imagine, and apply it to our own journey of faith. When most of us became believers, we had recognized our need of a Savior. We prayed to receive Christ, so that we could have our sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die. But God went far beyond what we asked for.
At the moment of faith, He placed us in union with Himself (I Corinthians 6:17), so that we could participate in what Christ had done on our behalf. In Christ, He crucified our old sinful self and buried us. He completely eradicated forever, everything that was wrong about us. Talk about doing more than we ask!
Then, in Christ, He resurrected us as a brand-new creation (II Corinthians 5:17), His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10.) He made us so right, that He actually calls us “saints” now – hagios – which means holy ones. INCREDIBLE!
But God did even more! In Christ, He has actually seated us in heaven, right now, at his right hand! So, we are seated in heaven right now while we are on our way to heaven! Blows my mind!
And still, He did more! He made us so right, that He, the Living, Holy, God of the universe can actually live inside us so that we can experience Him intimately and powerfully, and express Him to others clearly and radically. Though we did not become God and God certainly did not become us, when we walk in the Spirit, manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, the world can look at our lives and see what God is like through us! That is why we are called the temple of God. And get this, the word temple is actually the word that is used for “the holy of holies” --- We are the holy of holies, the place where God dwells among men. We are God’s address. He lives where we live. Do you realize what this means?
God has not only done way beyond what we could ask or think in the past, He wants to continue to do more than we could ever ask or think in the present. We are never alone in this world, never unloved, and always provided for. He is with us all the time, offering to be all that He is to all that we need, in the moment of faith. No matter what this world hurls at us, we can make it through this world (Philippians 4:12), because God will provide all our need in Christ (Philippians 4:19). He will give us His strength when we are weak, His peace when we are anxious, His courage when we are fearful, His joy when we are sorrowful, and His comfort when we are hurting. Now that is more than I could have ever imagined!
When I prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior so many years ago, I did so because I wanted to be forgiven of my sins so I could go to heaven. The thought of my being crucified, buried, resurrected, seated in heaven, becoming the holy of holies, the dwelling place of God, and being placed into union with God? Well, none of that ever entered my mind. I had no idea how much God had done for me. And I certainly had no clue of the more He wants to do in my life, more than I could ask or even imagine.
He is that kind of God. He is a great God and worthy of being greatly praised. I hope you were encouraged today to reflect on the goodness and mercy of Who God is and all that He wants to be in your life. He wants to be more to you than you could ever ask or think. Knowing this about Him, my prayer for all of us, is that we would trust Him fully, so that we could experience Him powerfully, so that we could live radically on this planet, so that people will come to know Him as we do, and they too could trust Him.
Because I want this character trait of God to be at the forefront of your mind for the rest of your life, I need to give you one more thought. I trust you understand, that through faith in Christ, you are now His child. But let’s take this thought to its ultimate fruition. God is the King of all Kings, and He is your Father. Well friend, what do you call the son of a king? You call him a prince. What do you call the daughter of a king? You call her a princess. Some would say, “Frank, now you are taking this too far!” Absolutely not! In I Peter 2:9-10, we are called a “royal priesthood” --- oh my goodness! You my brother, are a prince! And you my sister, are a princess! And me, Frank Friedmann, I am a prince too! Who would’ve thought that the likes of me would ever be a prince? This too is a part of the more than we could ask or imagine of what God has done for us!
WOW! AND AGAIN, I SAY --- WOW!!!
May we have eyes to see this glory of His character --- And seeing Him, may we praise and worship Him like never before, for He is worthy of our praise! Worthy is the Lamb!!!