Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Psalms 147:1, 4-5, 10-11 ( NIV ) Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Many years ago, while in college, I stood on the American side of Niagara Falls. I was spellbound. I could not contemplate the continuous surge of water flowing down that river and over that cliff. Since the days of Noah and the flood, millions of gallons of water per minute have crashed to the rocks 170 feet below the river bed. As I stood absorbing facts I was reading and trying to avoid the cold spray from the force of the falling water, I was awestruck by the immensity and greatness of God. He created those falls. He created the water in the river. He sustains the flow of the water. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. It made me wonder how great a person has to be to know this awesome God.
Later, on that same trip, my friends and I stopped at a rest area in Michigan. We were tired and thirsty. On the outside of the building was a sign with an arrow pointing down a short path. The sign said, “Drinking Water…clear and cold.” At the end of the path was a pipe sticking straight up out of the ground with water bubbling out of it. We initially thought it was a pretty weird drinking fountain. But then I remembered as a youth being taught about Artesian Springs, where water from a pressurized aquifer flows out of the ground without the need for pumping. Here was one of them, just squirting away.
We bent over and drank a little to test it. It tasted fantastic, and after multiple swallows of the ice cold water, it completely quenched our thirst. What the mighty waters of Niagara couldn’t do, this obscure little spring did. There was nothing great about it, but it provided me with the greater pleasure.
I understand now that our greatness cannot bring us closer to God. The great Biblical commentator Albert Barnes once said, “It is the bubbling stream that flows gently, the little rivulet which runs along day and night by the farm-house, that is useful, rather than the swollen flood or warring cataract. Niagara excites our wonder; and we stand amazed at the powerful greatness of God there, as He pours it from the hollow of His hand. But one Niagara is enough for the continent of the world, while the same world requires thousands and tens of thousands of silver fountains and gently flowing rivulets, that water every farm and meadow, and every garden, and shall flow on every day and night with their gentle, quiet beauty. So it is with the acts of our lives. It is not by great deeds that good is to be done, but by the daily and quiet virtues of life.”
Find great joy in this truth, my friends. God’s pleasure is not in the greatness of your deeds. His delight is not in the wisdom of your ways. He delights in those who fear Him, and put their hope in His unfailing love. Do not compare yourself to what some may call a Niagara of the faith. God loves and uses little squirts like us all the time. And when a bunch of little squirts unite together with a common purpose, it soon grows to be a powerful Niagara-like force.
APPLICATION: Are we seeking to make a name for ourselves and draw attention to ourselves, or are we satisfied to be a little squirt from whom living water abundantly flows to meet the spiritual needs of others?