How Will The World Know God Is Great?
But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
Psalm 70 calls those of us who have been saved by God’s grace to worship God by shouting repeatedly “God is great!” David envisions the people of God gathered together, in which they celebrate the goodness and power of God. We experience this goodness and power when God saves us, whether from earthly foes, or the sorry results of our own bad choices, or from sin and death. The center of Christian worship celebrates the greatness of God.
Yet, I wonder how we can communicate God’s greatness in a way that will be heard by those who have not experienced his salvation. Simply shouting “God is great” is not enough. Something more is needed.
I was impressed by this fact four years ago during one of the strangest events of my life. I found myself in a three-hour, live, radio debate (transcript and recording here) with Christopher Hitchens, one of the world’s most “evangelistic” atheists and the author of the suitably title book: god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens brought up many reasons for denying the greatness—really, the existence—of God. When I suggested that, in fact, religion, as I have known it, has done quite a bit of good in the world, Hitchens had no adequate response, besides pointing to evil done in the name of God. It was clear to me that no amount of intellectual argumentation would persuade Hitchens of the truth of the Gospel. The actions of Christian people would speak much louder than words.
Of course, this isn’t a new idea. Jesus himself said we are to live in such a way that our good deeds lead people to praise God (Matt. 5:16). Moreover, he taught that the world would know we are his disciples by our love (John 13:35). We are to love our neighbors and even our enemies, not just because loving is a good thing, but also because it is an indispensable way for us to demonstrate the truth of the Gospel.
So, by all means, let us be people who repeatedly shout “God is great!” But let us also live in such a way that people who have not experienced God’s salvation will be drawn by our actions to join us in praising God.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways do you bear witness to God’s greatness? How are you living so that people might see the greatness of God through you?
PRAYER: Almighty God, indeed, you are great! Your greatness is seen in manifold ways: in the majesty of creation, in the wonders of human love, in your faithful delivering us from the messes of our lives, and, most of all, in the salvation you have made possible through Jesus Christ. You are great!
Help me, O God, to bear witness to your greatness with the words of my mouth, as I proclaim your wonders. Help me also to demonstrate your greatness through how I live each day, at work and at home, in my neighborhood and in the market. May my love for others show people that I am a member of your family. Amen.