TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. God’s Pre-Eminence

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Chapter 1  Part II

God’s Pre-Eminence

See also:

A failure of many of us in the church today is that we have an inadequate view of God, failing to fully appreciate his pre-eminence. All Christians need to understand and be mindful of God’s surpassing greatness and incomparable capabilities – notably his power, knowledge and wisdom.

God’s Greatness

See also:

God is great and awesome

See also:

2Sam 7:22  Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. ▤ 

Ps 135:5  For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. ▤ 

Ps 104:1a  Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! ▤ 

Deut 10:17  For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. ▤ 

Neh 4:14  And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” ▤ 

Neh 9:32a  “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, … ▤ 

Ps 47:2  For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. ▤ 

Ps 99:3  Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 

Ex 15:11  Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? ▤ 

Job 37:22  Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty. ▤ 

Ps 68:35  Awesome is God from hisv sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! ▤ 

v Septuagint; Hebrew your

  • God’s glory is great:

Ps 138:5  … and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. ▤ 

God is greater than all others

John 10:29  My Father, who has given them to me,w is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. ▤ 

w Some manuscripts What my Father has given to me

Heb 6:13  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, … ▤ 

Job 33:12  Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. ▤ 

Ps 77:13  Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? ▤ 

Ps 95:3  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. ▤ 

Ex 18:11  Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”x ▤ 

x Hebrew with them

1Jn 4:4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ▤ 

Note that the “he who is in you” could be referring in particular to the Holy Spirit, or possibly Jesus Christ. The “he who is in the world” refers to Satan.

Ps 89:6b-7  Who among the heavenly beingsy is like the Lord, 7a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? ▤ 

y Hebrew the sons of God, or the sons of might

Ps 150:2  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! ▤ 

God has “surpassing greatness” (NIV®, NRSV).

God is exalted above all others

See also:

God is exalted above all others in greatness and authority. He is also exalted above all others in the sense that he exists beyond the universe, “high above” all things.

1Chr 29:11  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. ▤ 

Ps 97:9  For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. ▤ 

Ps 113:4  The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! ▤ 

Ps 148:13  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. ▤ 

Mark 5:7a  And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? ▤ 

The title “the Most High God” (cf. Gen 14:18-20 ) refers to God’s exalted position over all. But perhaps more specifically his superiority over all other “gods” is the primarily reference.

Gen 14:18-20a  And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessorz of heaven and earth; 20and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” ▤ 

z Or Creator; also verse 22

  • God is “on high” forever:

Ps 92:8  … but you, O Lord, are on high forever. ▤ 

There is no one like God . . .

See also:

2Sam 7:22  Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. ▤ 

Jer 10:6-7  There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. 7Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. ▤ 

Ex 15:11  Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? ▤ 

Deut 32:31  For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves. ▤ 

The gods of Israel’s enemies were not like God. Note that “Rock” (cf. 1Sam 2:2 ; 2Sam 2:32 ) poetically portrays God as an incredibly strong, mountain-like refuge and support.

1Sam 2:2  There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. ▤ 

2Sam 22:32  For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? ▤ 

2Chr 6:14  … and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, … ▤ 

Job 36:22-23  Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? 23Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’? ▤ 

In addition to there being no one who is a teacher like him (v. 22), unlike all others God has never been subject to direction or correction (v. 23). Similarly Isaiah 40:13-14 below indicates that God has never had anyone instruct or teach him; he has never needed it nor would anyone be capable of doing it.

Ps 71:19  Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? ▤ 

Ps 89:6-8  For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beingsa is like the Lord, 7a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? 8O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? ▤ 

a Hebrew the sons of God, or the sons of might

Isa 40:13-18  Who has measuredb the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? ▤ 

b Or has directed

Note that “takes up” (v. 15) has the sense “picks up” (NLT).

Isa 46:5  To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? ▤ 

Jer 49:19b  For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? ▤ 

. . . Things God does which show that there is no one like him

See also:

Deut 33:26  There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. ▤ 

One aspect of God’s unique greatness is that he “rides through the heavens” to help his people. This imagery implies that God does so swiftly and cannot be impeded.

Ps 35:10  All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?” ▤ 

Ps 40:5  You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. ▤ 

The phrase “your thoughts toward us” appears to refer to – or at least be inclusive of – God’s plans for his people (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT). The multitude of his wondrous deeds and plans for his people show that there is no one comparable to him.

Ps 113:5-6  Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, 6who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? ▤ 

Isa 40:12, 22-26  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? ▤ 22It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. ▤ 

Isa 44:7  Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.c Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. ▤ 

c Or Who like me can proclaim it?

As well as implying that no one can “tell and explain” (NCV™) all that has happened – and all that will come – this may also be alluding to the fact that no one else could bring all these things about (cf. GNT; Isa 46:9-10 ).

Isa 46:9-10  … remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ … ▤ 

Verse 9 points to what God has done “throughout history” (NLT) as evidence that he is God and there is no other.

Dan 3:29  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way. ▤ 

Mic 7:18a  Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? ▤ 

  • The Egyptian plagues demonstrated that there is no one like God in all the earth:

Ex 9:14  For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself,d and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. ▤ 

d Hebrew on your heart

God is in fact beyond our comprehension

See also:

Job 36:26  Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. ▤ 

Ps 145:3  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. ▤ 

Job 9:10-11  … who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. 11Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. ▤ 

God’s deeds cannot be understood or counted (v. 10), nor can his movements or presence be perceived (v. 11).

Job 11:7-9  Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? 8It is higher than heavene—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? 9Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. ▤ 

e Hebrew The heights of heaven

Ps 106:2  Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? ▤ 

No one can adequately either tell of God’s acts or praise him. This illustrates that God and what he does are beyond comprehension.

Isa 40:28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. ▤ 

Rom 11:33-34  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” ▤ 

Particularly in the light of v. 33, v. 34 implies that not only do we not know God’s mind and thoughts, but they are – for the most part at least – beyond our knowledge and understanding.

  • The angel of the Lord’s name was incomprehensible:

Judg 13:18  And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” ▤ 

The speaker here is “the angel of the Lord”, who is identified with God in v. 22 and also possibly in v. 19. As in ancient times one’s name was correlated with one’s person, this verse arguably implies that God was “too wonderful” (NRSV) to comprehend.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God’s Power (I): Ultimate Power

See also:

God is mighty in power . . .

Josh 22:22a  “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! ▤ 

Job 9:19a  If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! ▤ 

Ps 24:8  Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! ▤ 

Ps 89:8  O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? ▤ 

Ps 93:4  Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! ▤ 

Ps 106:8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. ▤ 

Isa 1:24  Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes. ▤ 

Jer 32:18  You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, … ▤ 

Eph 1:19-21  … and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ▤ 

Eph 3:20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, … ▤ 

God’s power is so mighty that he is able to do “much more than anything we can ask or imagine” (NCV™).

Col 1:11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, … ▤ 

In this context the phrase “all power” points to God as being all-powerful and having ultimate power, in accordance with “his glorious might”.]

Rev 18:8  For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. ▤ 

Ps 147:5  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. ▤ 

. . . God is Almighty

The words translated as “Almighty” convey God’s all-surpassing, infinite power (or omnipotence) and his sovereignty.

Gen 17:1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty;f walk before me, and be blameless, … ▤ 

f Hebrew El Shaddai

Gen 28:3  God Almightyg bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. ▤ 

g Hebrew El Shaddai

Gen 49:25  … by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almightyh who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. ▤ 

h Hebrew Shaddai

Job 21:20  Let their own eyes see their destruction, and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty. ▤ 

Job 37:23  The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. ▤ 

2Cor 6:18  … and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. ▤ 

Rev 11:17  … saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. ▤ 

Note that the reference appears to be to God imposing his rule on all, with the manifestation of his kingdom (cf. v. 15).

Rev 15:3b  “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!i ▤ 

i Some manuscripts the ages

  • God’s power is eternal:

Rom 1:20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. ▤ 

God can do all things – nothing is too hard

Job 42:2  I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ▤ 

Mark 10:27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” ▤ 

Mark 14:36  And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” ▤ 

Gen 18:13-14  The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hardj for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” ▤ 

j Or wonderful

The fulfillment of this promise is recounted in 21:1-2.

Jer 32:17, 27  Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. ▤ 27“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? ▤ 

Luke 1:36-37  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God. ▤ 

Num 11:21-23, 31  But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” ▤ 31Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubitsk above the ground. ▤ 

k A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

“Is the Lord’s hand shortened?” (v. 23) is a rhetorical question asking if the Lord’s power is limited (cf. GNT, NASB, NLT, NRSV).

Zec 8:4-6  Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts? ▤ 

God’s wonderful renewal of Jerusalem (vv. 4-5) may have seemed “impossible” (CEV, GNT, NLT) and so “too difficult” (NCV™) to the Jews of Zechariah’s day – but not to God.

  • The seemingly impossible is easy for God:

2Ki 3:17-18, 20  For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ 18This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, ▤ 20The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water. ▤ 

God does whatever pleases him

See also:

Job 23:13  But he is unchangeable,l and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. ▤ 

l Or one

Ps 135:6  Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. ▤ 

Isa 46:10  … declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ … ▤ 

Dan 4:34-35  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ▤ 

Jer 27:5  It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. ▤ 

Dan 4:25  … that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. ▤ 

  • God has the power to do what he promises:

Rom 4:21  … fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

God’s power is far superior to that of anyone else . . .

See also:

2Chr 20:6  … and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. ▤ 

2Chr 32:7-8  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 8With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. ▤ 

Ps 66:3  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. ▤ 

Ps 76:7  But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? ▤ 

Isa 14:26-27  This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. 27For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? ▤ 

Note that the title “the Lord of hosts” speaks of God’s power or authority over all things or all forces, though some understand “hosts” to refer in particular to Israel’s army or angels.

Isa 43:13  Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back? ▤ 

2Cor 4:7  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. ▤ 

Eph 1:19-21  … and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ▤ 

Verse 21 reflects God’s power over all other powers, in accordance with “the immeasurable greatness of his power” (v. 19).

Job 41:1-5, 8-10  m “Can you draw out Leviathann with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? 2Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3Will he make many pleas to you? Will he speak to you soft words? 4Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? 5Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? ▤ 8Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! 9 o Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. 10No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? ▤ 

m Ch 40:25 in Hebrew

n A large sea animal, exact identity unknown

o Ch 41:1 in Hebrew

If no one is able to control (vv. 1-5) or challenge (vv. 8-10a) the leviathan (cf. text note), then no one has the capacity to stand against God (v. 10b).

Ps 89:8  O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? ▤ 

Isa 31:4  For thus the Lord said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the Lord of hosts will come down to fightp on Mount Zion and on its hill. ▤ 

p The Hebrew words for hosts and to fight sound alike

Like a mighty lion, God’s supreme power is such that he is unconcerned by any forces that futilely gather against him.

. . . No being can do what God can do

See also:

Deut 3:24  O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? ▤ 

Deut 4:32-34  For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? ▤ 

The incomparably great event referred to in v. 32 would appear to be either or both of the glorious revelation of God at Mount Sinai (v. 33) or God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (v. 34).

Ps 72:18  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. ▤ 

Ps 136:4  … to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; … ▤ 

Ps 86:8  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. ▤ 

Job 40:9-13  Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? 10“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. 11Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. 12Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. 13Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below.q ▤ 

q Hebrew in the hidden place

Power in fact belongs to God

Verses which speak of power as belonging to or being with God, point to him as having ultimate power and being all-powerful (or omnipotent). Possibly they also allude to God as ultimately being the source of all power, in part due to him being creator of all creatures and their power.

Rev 19:1  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, … ▤ 

1Chr 29:11  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. ▤ 

Job 12:13  With Godr are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. ▤ 

r Hebrew him

Rev 4:11  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” ▤ 

In line with the assertion that power belongs to God, he is worthy to “receive” power or to have ultimate power attributed to him.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God’s Power (II): His Deeds

See also:

God’s great power is shown in his deeds

See also:

Ex 9:16-18  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. ▤ 

Ex 14:27-31  So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threws the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. 29But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. ▤ 

s Hebrew shook off

Ex 15:6  Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. ▤ 

Deut 3:24  O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? ▤ 

Josh 4:23-24  For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”t ▤ 

t Or all the days

Ps 77:14  You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. ▤ 

Ps 106:8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. ▤ 

Ps 111:6  He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. ▤ 

Ps 145:6  They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. ▤ 

Isa 33:13  Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. ▤ 

Jer 32:18b-21  O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, 19great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. ▤ 

In v. 21, “a strong hand and outstretched arm” refer to God’s “great power and strength” (NCV™), shown in performing “signs and wonders” (vv. 21-22).

God performs great and awesome deeds

See also:

Ps 66:3, 5  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. ▤ 5Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. ▤ 

Ps 86:10  For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. ▤ 

Ps 107:24  … they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. ▤ 

Ps 111:2-4  Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. ▤ 

Isa 29:14  … therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden. ▤ 

Isa 64:3  When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. ▤ 

God did awesome things that the people “did not expect” (AMP, GNT, NCV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

Dan 4:3a  How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! ▤ 

Joel 2:21  Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! ▤ 

Acts 19:11-12  And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. ▤ 

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantu of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!v ▤ 

u Greek bondservant

v Some manuscripts the ages

  • What God does is perfect:

Deut 32:4  The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. ▤ 

God’s deeds are largely incomprehensible

See also:

Job 36:29  Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? ▤ 

Job 37:5, 15-16  God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. ▤ 15Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? 16Do you know the balancingsw of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, … ▤ 

w Or hoverings

Eccl 3:11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. ▤ 

People cannot ever fully understand what God does.

Eccl 8:17  … then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out. ▤ 

The phrase “the work that is done under the sun” alludes to the earlier phrase “all the work of God”. God has so worked that man cannot find out or understand much of what he has done.

Eccl 11:5  As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the wombx of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. ▤ 

x Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb

Job 26:7, 11-14  He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. ▤ 11The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke. 12By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. 13By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. 14Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? ▤ 

In v. 14 Job says that the awesome deeds previously mentioned are only a glimpse of what God does, and in fact the actual extent of his power is beyond our comprehension. One can infer from this that God’s deeds – like his power that is expressed in his deeds (v. 14) – is beyond our comprehension. Note that Rahab (v. 12) and “the fleeing serpent” (v. 13) refer to a mythical monster/s or force/s of the sea, associated with chaos and evil.

Prov 20:24  A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way? ▤ 

God directs people’s lives, making the course of their lives incomprehensible to them.

Hab 1:5  Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. ▤ 

Akin to doing things beyond our comprehension, God is able to do things that we find difficult to believe.

  • God can do immeasurably more than all we can imagine:

Eph 3:20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, … ▤ 

God’s deeds are uncountable

See also:

Ps 40:5  You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. ▤ 

Job 5:8-9  As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, 9who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: … ▤ 

Ps 104:24-25  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. ▤ 

God’s works of creation are innumerable.

Ps 71:15  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. ▤ 

Ps 106:2  Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? ▤ 

The reason why the psalmist says we cannot tell of the mighty acts of the Lord is probably either because there are too many (cf. GNT, NLT) or because they are beyond our comprehension. Possibly both reasons are in view.

  • God’s deeds are incomparable:

Ps 86:8  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. ▤ 

The fact that God’s deeds are incomparable is borne out earlier, in . . . No being can do what God can do.

God’s deeds are glorious

Ps 78:4  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. ▤ 

Ex 15:1, 6, 11  Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his ridery he has thrown into the sea. ▤ 6Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. ▤ 11“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? ▤ 

y Or its chariot; also verse 21

In speaking of God being “glorious in power” in conjunction with his deeds, v. 6 reflects the fact that God’s deeds are glorious – a fact shown in v. 1 and explicitly indicated in v. 11.

Isa 12:5  Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made knownz in all the earth. ▤ 

z Or this is made known

Ps 111:3  Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. ▤ 

  • God’s power is glorious:

Ps 90:16  Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. ▤ 

God is exalted and glorified in his powerful deeds

See also:

Job 36:22  Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? ▤ 

Ps 46:8-10  Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ▤ 

Isa 2:11  The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. ▤ 

God’s awesome acts of judgment are in view (cf. vv. 12-18).

Isa 12:4  And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. ▤ 

Isa 63:11b-14  Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, 12who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, 13who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. 14Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. ▤ 

Ex 14:17-18, 28  And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” ▤ 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. ▤ 

Ps 66:2-3  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. ▤ 

This speaks both of: God’s glory being evidenced in his power and deeds; and God being glorified in people praising him because of his power and deeds.

Ps 86:9-10  All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. ▤ 

Ex 9:16  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. ▤ 

God would show his power in (further) great plagues amongst the Egyptians, so that his name would be proclaimed throughout the earth (cf. Jer 32:20 ) – thus bringing him glory.

Jer 32:20  You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God’s Knowledge and Wisdom

See also:

God knows everything

See also:

1Jn 3:20  … for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ▤ 

Job 37:16  Do you know the balancingsa of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, … ▤ 

a Or hoverings

1Sam 2:3  Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. ▤ 

The clause “the Lord is a God of knowledge” implies that God knows all things (cf. CEV, NCV).

Dan 2:22  … he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. ▤ 

In this context “light” may in part allude to knowledge or insight – as per God’s knowledge of all things, illustrated in the first two clauses.

Ps 50:11  I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. ▤ 

Matt 10:30  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. ▤ 

This illustrates that God knows every minute detail.

Heb 4:13  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. ▤ 

  • God’s wisdom and knowledge is of an amazing depth:

Rom 11:33a  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! ▤ 

God sees all people, seeing and knowing all that they do . . .

See also:

Gen 16:13  So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”b for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”c ▤ 

b Or You are a God who sees me

c Hebrew Have I really seen him here who sees me? or Would I have looked here for the one who sees me?

Here Hagar appears to allude to God as the one who sees all people (cf. text notes).

Ps 33:13-15  The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. ▤ 

Prov 15:3  The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. ▤ 

Job 23:10  But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. ▤ 

Job was confident that God knew that he lived righteously.

Job 31:4  Does not he see my ways and number all my steps? ▤ 

Ps 119:168  I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. ▤ 

Ps 139:2-3, 15-16  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. ▤ 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. ▤ 

Prov 5:21  For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondersd all his paths. ▤ 

d Or makes level

Matt 6:4, 18  … so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ▤ 18that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ▤ 

The phrase “sees in secret” may well be speaking of God seeing what is done in secret (cf. CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV).

2Ki 19:27  But I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me. ▤ 

God knew Sennacherib’s every movement.

Job 28:24  For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. ▤ 

Jer 29:23  … because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the Lord. ▤ 

. . . No one can hide themselves or what they do from God

Ps 139:11-12  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. ▤ 

Jer 23:24  Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. ▤ 

Amos 9:3  If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them. ▤ 

Job 34:21-23  For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps. 22There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves. 23For Gode has no need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment. ▤ 

e Hebrew he

Verse 23 asserts that God does not need to examine men any further, as he already knows all about them. For God sees – and evaluates – all their deeds as they are being carried out.

Isa 29:15  Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” ▤ 

The Hebrew translated here as “Ah” is sometimes translated as “Woe” (AMP, NASB, NIV, NKJV). It points with a sense of alarm to coming grave trouble and misery.

Jer 16:17  For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. ▤ 

  • Even the dead and the realm of death lie open before God:

Job 26:5-6  The dead tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. 6Sheol is naked before God,f and Abaddon has no covering. ▤ 

f Hebrew him

Verse 5 appears to imply that the dead “tremble” as they and their deeds are exposed before God (v. 6). In v. 6 “Sheol” is a name used for the place of the dead; and “Abaddon” denotes destruction or the place thereof. Note that Proverbs 15:11 in the following subsection reflects the teaching of v. 6.

God knows all people’s “hearts” and minds

See also:

Bear in mind that in the Bible “heart” is often used to refer to a person’s thoughts and feelings.

Acts 15:8  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, … ▤ 

1Ki 8:39  … then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), … ▤ 

Ps 44:21  … would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. ▤ 

Prov 15:11  Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man! ▤ 

Ezek 11:5  And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the Lord: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind. ▤ 

Gen 6:5  The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ▤ 

2Sam 7:20  And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! ▤ 

God knew David so well that there was no thought of his that he could voice that God did not already know (cf. Ps 38:9 ; Ps 139:4 ).

Ps 38:9  O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. ▤ 

Prov 21:2  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. ▤ 

God examines and evaluates people’s hearts, knowing them fully.

Deut 31:21  And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give. ▤ 

Effectively God is saying: “I know their strong desire and the purposes which they are forming even now…” (AMP)

Job 11:11  For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it? ▤ 

God knows which people are deceitful and evil, knowing all people’s “hearts” and minds.

Ezek 20:32  What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’ ▤ 

Whether or not they had verbalized this thought, God still knew it.

  • God knows us completely:

Ps 139:1-2, 4-5  O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. ▤ 4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. ▤ 

Verse 5b may allude to God’s care or protection (cf. CEV, GNT), but in keeping with the context it seems to primarily be speaking of people being unable to get away from God, along with his awareness and discernment of them. Note that God’s complete knowledge of people is also alluded to in 1 Corinthians 13:12, with Paul saying, “I have been fully known.”

God knows the future

Isa 42:9  Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them. ▤ 

The “former things” that “have come to pass” were things that God had “said would happen” (NIrV®).

Isa 44:7-8  Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.g Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. 8Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any. ▤ 

g Or Who like me can proclaim it?

Note that in the first part of v. 7 God appears to be challenging anyone to be able to declare all that has happened since he “appointed an ancient people”, referring either to his creation of Israel or of humankind. However, the Hebrew is unclear (cf. GNT text note) and it may be that God’s knowledge of the future is in view, as per the last statement in v. 7 and the subsequent verse (v. 8).

Isa 46:9b-10  I am God, and there is none like me, 10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ ▤ 

Like most of the other references in this subsection, this implies that God knows what will happen in the future because he himself has ordained it.

Isa 48:5-8  I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’ 6“You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. 7They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ 8You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel. ▤ 

The final clause, particularly in light of the preceding clause, suggests that God knew from before the nation of Israel was born that it would be rebellious.

Jer 1:5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” ▤ 

Dan 2:28-29, 45b  … but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. ▤ 45… A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure. ▤ 

Dan 8:26  The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now. ▤ 

Daniel was given a vision from God, about the distant future.

Mark 13:32  But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ▤ 

This is speaking of the time of Jesus Christ’s return.

Acts 2:23  … this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. ▤ 

Acts 15:17-18  … that the remnanth of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18known from of old. ▤ 

h Or rest

Verse 18 indicates that God made known “these things” (v. 17) long ago (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Rom 8:29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ▤ 

Here “foreknew” may mean more than just prior knowledge, quite possibly implying foreordination. (The same applies to “foreknowledge” in Acts 2:23 above.)

God has incredible wisdom

Job 9:4  He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— ▤ 

Job 11:5-6a  But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, 6and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding.i ▤ 

i The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Job 36:5  Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any; he is mighty in strength of understanding. ▤ 

Ps 147:5  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. ▤ 

One can infer from this that God’s “wisdom cannot be measured” (GNT).

Isa 28:29  This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. ▤ 

Jer 32:18b-19  O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, 19great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. ▤ 

Rom 11:33a  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! ▤ 

Rom 16:27  … to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. ▤ 

This intimates that God “alone is all-wise” (GNT; cf. NLT).

Eph 1:7-8  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight … ▤ 

Commentators and translations differ over whether “wisdom and insight” (v. 8) are referring to: (a) God’s comprehensive wisdom and understanding, with which he has lavished his grace on us; or (b) wisdom and understanding that he has given to us along with his grace. If the former is the case, this would be speaking of God having “all wisdom and insight”.

Eph 3:10  … so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. ▤ 

God’s “manifold” wisdom has a “rich variety” (NLT, NRSV) of forms or aspects.

Job 12:16  With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. ▤ 

Ps 92:5  How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! ▤ 

Ps 139:17-18a  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. ▤ 

The Hebrew translated here as “precious” (v. 17a) has also been translated “difficult” (GNT) and “weighty” (NASB). As such it implies that God’s thoughts are beyond the psalmist’s understanding (cf. CEV), such is God’s wisdom and intelligence. Moreover, God’s thoughts are innumerable (vv. 17b-18a).

  • God is the ultimate source and possessor of wisdom:

Job 12:13  With Godj are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. ▤ 

j Hebrew him

God’s knowledge and wisdom is far superior to that of people – beyond our comprehension . . .

See also:

Job 21:22  Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those who are on high? ▤ 

The second clause indicates that God judges even the greatest of people (cf. CEV, NCV) – or beings (cf. NIrV). He is in a position to do this as he knows and understands everything about them, including what they do and know. The point of the verse as a whole is that no one can teach God anything that he does not already know (cf. Isa 40:13-14 ).

Ps 94:11  … the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.k ▤ 

k Septuagint they are futile

Isa 40:13-14  Who has measuredl the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? ▤ 

l Or has directed

The first clause (v. 13) appears to be speaking of no one being able to direct (cf. AMP, NASB, NKJV, NRSV) God, or more particularly his Spirit. As such, like the rest of vv. 13-14, it is implying that God’s knowledge and wisdom is far superior to anyone else’s.

Isa 55:8-9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ▤ 

Jer 10:7  Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. ▤ 

Dan 1:20  And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. ▤ 

The wisdom that God gave to Daniel and his friends was far superior to the wisdom of the wise men of the kingdom, illustrating that God’s wisdom is far superior to that of people. This is also shown by the wisdom that God gave to Solomon, who was “wiser than all other men” (1Ki 4:31).

1Jn 3:20  … for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ▤ 

God’s knowledge is superior to our perception, even our perception of ourselves.

Ps 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. ▤ 

Here David speaks of God’s knowledge (cf. vv. 1-5) as being beyond him and his comprehension.

Isa 40:28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. ▤ 

Rom 11:33b-34  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” ▤ 

. . . God knows much that people do not know

Gen 41:15-16  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”m ▤ 

m Or (compare Samaritan, Septuagint) Without God it is not possible to give Pharaoh an answer about his welfare

Joseph indicates that God can interpret dreams (v. 16) – even if no one else can (v. 15).

Deut 29:29  The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. ▤ 

There is much that God has kept secret from us, and the things people know are in a sense at least only what God has revealed to them. Here the “secret things” probably primarily refers to the future. The “things … revealed” appears to primarily be speaking of God’s law – then unknown to nations other than Israel.

1Ki 8:39  … then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), … ▤ 

Job 38:16-18  Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. ▤ 

The rhetorical questions (cf. v. 37a ) imply that God is the only one who has done or can do these things – and thus the only one who knows and understands such things.

Job 38:37a  Who can number the clouds by wisdom? ▤ 

Job 42:3  ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ▤ 

Here Job begins by quoting God’s earlier question in 38:2, which indicated that Job had detracted from God’s counsel without having any comparable knowledge or wisdom to be able to do so. Job then responds to God’s question by acknowledging that he was in no position to question or interpret God’s counsel, particularly regarding the matters at hand which were in fact beyond his comprehension and knowledge.

Mark 13:32  But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ▤ 

2Cor 12:2-4  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. ▤ 

Paul is speaking of an experience of his own, the exact nature of which he did not know – in contrast to God, who did know. In this experience he was caught up to heaven where he was given revelations from God that were unknown to humans, even inexpressible.

  • People do not know what is best for them in life:

Eccl 6:12a  For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? ▤ 

This illustrates the fact that people’s knowledge and wisdom is markedly inferior to that of God.

Note: God can frustrate and take away worldly wisdom – and bring down the wise

Job 5:12-13  He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. ▤ 

Job 12:17, 20, 24  He leads counselors away stripped, and judges he makes fools. ▤ 20He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders. ▤ 24He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. ▤ 

Isa 19:11-14  The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”? 12Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt. 13The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded; those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have made Egypt stagger. 14The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. ▤ 

Egypt’s officials and supposed wise counselors were rendered as fools by God, as v. 11a clearly implies. As such they not only knew nothing of his plans against Egypt (v. 12) but they also caused Egypt to stumble (vv. 13-14).

Isa 44:24b-25  I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, … ▤ 

Jer 8:9  The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them? ▤ 

Here “taken” refers to being taken captive (cf. AMP, NLT); the exile is in view.

Jer 51:57  I will make drunk her officials and her wise men, her governors, her commanders, and her warriors; they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Obad 1:8  Will I not on that day, declares the Lord, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of Mount Esau? ▤ 

1Cor 1:19-21, 25-27  For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. ▤ 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,n not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; … ▤ 

n Greek according to the flesh

The context indicates that Paul is showing how the wisdom of man is hopeless as a means of salvation. In regard to this, God renders worldly wisdom as foolish (vv. 19-20) – useless as a means of knowing him (v. 21a). In conjunction, God’s way of salvation that appears to man as folly or foolishness (v. 21b), is actually wiser than man’s wisdom (v. 25). God has further shamed the wise of this world by choosing mostly people who are not seen as wise by human standards (vv. 26-27).

  • God has hidden the truths of the kingdom from the wise and learned:

Matt 11:25  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; … ▤ 

The “things” probably primarily refers to the significance of Jesus’ mission and other matters of the kingdom. God chooses to reveal these things to those who are humble and open like “little children”, rather than to those who are “wise and understanding” by the standards of this world – particularly those who see themselves as such.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Addendum: God’s ‘Name’

In biblical times, a person’s name represented or embodied their whole person – including their nature, authority and even their purpose or significance. This is highlighted by references to the “name” of the person.

Thus when used in regard to such things as God’s interaction with his people, references to God’s “name” are understood as being synonymous with God himself. For example, God’s “name” is used in expressing God’s presence amongst his people and also his care of them. Furthermore, God’s people are said to do such things as trust in, fear, love and praise his “name”.

God’s “name” is synonymous with God himself

In this subsection God’s “name” is shown to be synonymous with God himself by what are virtually the same things being said in regard to God and also to his “name”.

Ps 18:49  For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. ▤ 

Ps 44:5  Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. ▤ 

Isa 50:10  Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. ▤ 

The terms “trust” and “rely” are virtually identical. Here God’s “name” and God himself are both spoken of as the object of one’s trust (or reliance), illustrating that God and his “name” are synonymous.

Isa 48:9, 11a  “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. ▤ 11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my nameo be profaned? ▤ 

o Hebrew lacks my name

The virtually identical use of “my name’s sake” (v. 9) and “my own sake” (v. 11a) points to God’s “name” being synonymous with God himself.

Jer 10:6  There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. ▤ 

Ezek 36:23  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. ▤ 

God’s “name” is synonymous with his presence

Deut 12:5, 11  But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitationp there. There you shall go, ▤ 11then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. ▤ 

p Or name as its habitation

God would choose a place to put his “name”, signifying his presence, where the people were to “come into his presence and worship him.” (GNT)

1Ki 5:5  And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ ▤ 

Solomon tells of his intention to fulfill God’s words that David’s son would build a house/temple for “My Name and Presence” (AMP).

1Ki 8:29  … that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. ▤ 

The reference to God hearing prayer prayed toward the temple indicates his presence there, in accordance with the statement: “My name shall be there.”

1Ki 9:3  And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. ▤ 

Ps 75:1  We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. Weq recount your wondrous deeds. ▤ 

q Hebrew They

Isa 30:27  Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;r his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; … ▤ 

r Hebrew in weight of uplifted clouds

Similar to the references to God’s eyes and heart in 1 Kings 9:3 above, the references to God’s lips and tongue emphasize that “the name of the Lord” speaks of God himself and his actual presence.

God’s “name” is synonymous with God in him helping his people

Ps 20:1  May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! ▤ 

Ps 44:5  Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. ▤ 

Ps 54:1  O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. ▤ 

Although the phrase “by your name” could well also be a reference to God’s “might” (GNT, NLT), more precisely David may be calling on God to save him in accordance with his character or nature – “because of who you are” (NCV™).

Ps 124:8  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ▤ 

Prov 18:10  The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ▤ 

God’s “name” is synonymous with God in people relating to him

Ps 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ▤ 

Ps 33:21  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. ▤ 

Ps 52:9  I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. ▤ 

Ps 61:5  For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. ▤ 

Ps 106:47  Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. ▤ 

Ps 116:13  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, … ▤ 

God’s “name” is correlated with his authority and power

Note that most of the verses in the previous two subsections similarly associate God’s “name” with his power.

Ex 23:21  Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. ▤ 

The final phrase appears to refer to God’s authority (“I am giving him complete authority” – CEV) and power (“my power is in him” – NCV). While it certainly encompasses God’s authority and power, note that some commentators think it has a deeper meaning, believing it to quite likely indicate that the angel to whom it refers (cf. v. 20) is in fact the pre-incarnate Christ.

Deut 10:8  At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. ▤ 

In pronouncing blessings “in his name”, the priests were acting on God’s behalf and on his authority. The same applies to the prophets who spoke in God’s “name” in Daniel 9:6 immediately below.

Dan 9:6  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. ▤ 

1Sam 17:45  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. ▤ 

David came as one acting on God’s authority (cf. Ps 118:26a ) – with and in reliance on God’s power.

Ps 118:10-12  All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! ▤ 

Ps 118:26a  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! ▤ 

This verse and Micah 5:4 below have messianic significance, telling of the Messiah coming with God’s authority and power.

Mic 5:4  And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. ▤ 

John 10:25  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, … ▤ 

Jesus performed his miracles in the “name” of his Father – i.e. by the “authority” (CEV, GNT) or “power” (AMP) of God.

John 17:11-12  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. ▤ 

These verses may be referring to God keeping his people by the power of his name (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV), hence their inclusion here. Alternatively, they may be speaking of God keeping them “in” himself. For further comment on v. 12 see Note: God has given Jesus Christ a name that is superior to all others.

Jer 10:6  There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. ▤ 

God’s “name” is holy

1Chr 29:16  O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. ▤ 

Ps 111:9  He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! ▤ 

Isa 57:15a  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: … ▤ 

Ezek 36:22-23a  “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. ▤ 

Ezek 39:7  And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. ▤ 

Luke 1:49  … for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. ▤ 

God’s “name” is great

See also:

1Ki 8:42a  … (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm) … ▤ 

Ps 99:3  Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 

Ps 76:1  In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel. ▤ 

Jer 10:6  There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. ▤ 

Mal 1:11  For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will bes great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

s Or is (three times in verse 11; also verse 14)

The greatness of God’s “name” will be acknowledged amongst the nations – not just amongst his own people (cf. Ps 76:1 ).

Judg 13:18  And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” ▤ 

If there is a correlation here between “the angel of the Lord” and God (cf. vv. 19, 22), then this would point to the greatness of God’s “name” in saying that it is “wonderful” or “beyond understanding” (NIV®). Psalm 135:13 below likewise points to its greatness by saying that it “endures forever”.

  • God’s name endures forever:

Ps 135:13  Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown,t O Lord, throughout all ages. ▤ 

t Or remembrance

God’s “name” is glorious and exalted

Deut 28:58  If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, … ▤ 

Here “name” appears to refer to “Lord”, or at least “the Lord your God”.

Neh 9:5b  Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. ▤ 

Ps 66:2  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! ▤ 

Ps 8:1  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ▤ 

Similarly Micah 5:4 refers to “the majesty of the name of the Lord”.

Ps 138:2  I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.u ▤ 

u Or you have exalted your word above all your name

Ps 148:13  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. ▤ 

Ex 9:16  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. ▤ 

God’s name would be exalted by being proclaimed throughout all the earth (cf. Ps 48:10 ).

Ps 48:10  As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. ▤ 

This implies that God’s “name” is renowned throughout the earth.

Luke 11:2  And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. ▤ 

The clause “hallowed be your name” (v. 9) means may your name “be honored” (GNT, NIrV, NLT, cf. CEV) or “always be kept holy” (NCV™). Such a prayer that God’s “name” be honored also exalts his “name”, implying that it is worthy of such honor.

  • The Lord’s name will be the only name:

Zec 14:9  And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. ▤ 

The final phrase appears to refer to the Lord’s name being “the only one” (NASB; cf. NCV, NIV) – the only name that will be worshipped (cf. CEV, NLT).

God’s “name” is praised and blessed

See also:

Ps 99:3  Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 

Ps 113:1-3  Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! 2Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! 3From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! ▤ 

Ps 145:1-2  I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. ▤ 

  • People give thanks to God’s name:

Ps 30:4  Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.v ▤ 

v Hebrew to the memorial of his holiness (see Exodus 3:15)

God acts for the sake of his “name”

1Sam 12:22  For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. ▤ 

God was reluctant to reject his people (cf. Isa 48:9 ), for to have done so would have brought dishonor to his “name”, God having made them his own.

Ps 23:3  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousnessw for his name’s sake. ▤ 

w Or in right paths

What God’s people do is in a sense a reflection on God and his “name”, as they are his. Hence he guides them to live in a way that honors him – and punishes them when they act to the contrary (cf. Isa 48:9-11 ; Ezek 43:8 ).

Ps 106:8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. ▤ 

Isa 48:9-11  For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. 10Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have triedx you in the furnace of affliction. 11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my namey be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. ▤ 

x Or I have chosen

y Hebrew lacks my name

For his “name’s” sake God disciplined his rebellious people (vv. 10-11) rather than cut them off completely in his wrath (v. 9).

Isa 52:3, 5-6  For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” ▤ 5Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. 6Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.” ▤ 

Being in captivity, God’s people brought ridicule to his “name”, with their enemies mocking God (v. 5b) – presumably for supposedly not being able to protect his people (cf. Ezek 36:20 ). So God swore to redeem his people (v. 3; cf. Ezek 36:22-25 ; Ezek 39:25 ) so that they would know his “name” (v. 6a) – who he is. As such they would realize his power and character – and that he was the one who foretold their redemption (v. 6b), all along having the power to implement his will.

Ezek 36:20-25  But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ 21But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. 22“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. ▤ 

Ezek 39:7, 25  And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. ▤ 25“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. ▤ 

  • God destroyed Israelites who defiled his holy “name”:

Ezek 43:8b  They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. ▤ 

Note: God declared his actual name to be the “Lord

Bear in mind that references to God’s “name” – at times at least – may be an allusion to God’s actual name, the “Lord”.

Ex 3:12-15  He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” 13Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”z And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord,a the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. ▤ 

z Or I am what I am, or I will be what I will be

a The word Lord, when spelled with capital letters, stands for the divine name, YHWH, which is here connected with the verb hayah, “to be” in verse 14

Lord” (v. 15) can be derived from “I am” (v. 14) (cf. text notes on vv. 14, 15). For the actual Hebrew that is rendered as “Lord” is “YHWH” (most likely pronounced “Yahweh”) and it “is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be” (NASB, text note) to which “I am” is also related. Note that “I am who I am” (v. 14) – or “I will be what I will be” (v. 14 text note) – and its shortened form “I am” (v. 14) appear to express God’s unchanging nature, self-existence, self-determination and omnipresence. In regard to the last aspect – God being ever-present – God’s name may well allude to his promise in v. 12 – “I will be with you.”

Ex 6:3  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty,b but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. ▤ 

b Hebrew El Shaddai

Ex 33:19  And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. ▤ 

Some commentators see this verse as indicating that God’s name the “Lord” (v. 19a) points to his graciousness and mercy (v. 19b; cf. Ex 34:6 ). If this is so, the usages of “I will” in the second sentence may well allude to the primary form of God’s name, “I AM”.

Ex 34:5-7  The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands,c forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” ▤ 

c Or to the thousandth generation

Similar to the previous reference from Exodus 33:19, the characteristics listed immediately following “The Lord, the Lord” may be elaborating on the meaning of “Lord”.

Isa 42:8  I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. ▤ 

  • Sometimes God’s name is stated as “the Lord of hosts”:

Isa 47:4  Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name— is the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

The phrase “the Lord of hosts is his name” occurs in 15 verses in the ESV. It points to God’s sovereign power over all things.

Pray for persecuted Christians