"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Reasons For Trusting God’s Power

By William Gurnall (1617 – 1679)

    “...Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).

    What is “the power of His might”?  Simply put, the phrase means His mighty power.  Sometimes the Lord is described as “strong and mighty,” sometimes as “almighty.”  What matters is that we grasp the significance of God’s infinite, almighty power.

    How does the believer tap into his source of power?  To be strong in the power of the Lord’s might requires two acts of faith.  First, you must have a settled, firm persuasion that the Lord is almighty in power.  This is a foundational truth.  Second, you must not only believe that God is almighty, but also that this almighty power of God is engaged for your defense.  God expects you to meet every trial, every temptation, leaning on His arm.

    As a father walking over a rough path offers his hand to his child, so God reaches forth His power for His saints’ faith to cling to.  God did this for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose faith He tested above most of His saints before or since.

    How then did God make Himself known to them?  By displaying this attribute of His power (Ex. 6:3).  It was all they had to keep their footing sure.  They lived comfortably and died triumphantly, bequeathing the promise to their children.  They never doubted, because God Almighty had promised.

His Past Record

    Throughout history God has proven the sufficiency of His power, yet it is not easy to believe that God is almighty.  Moses himself was a star of the first magnitude for grace, yet see how his faith blinks and twinkles until he overcomes his doubts.  He said to God, “The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and Thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.  Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them?...” (Num. 11:21-22).

    This holy man lost sight for a time of the almighty power of God, and began questioning how the Lord could keep His word.  He might as well have said what he was obviously thinking: “O God, have You not overestimated Your power this time?  What You have promised cannot be done!”  For so God interprets his reasoning: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short?...” (v. 23).

    It was the same with Mary in the New Testament: “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:32).  To this her sister Martha added, “Lord, by this time he stinketh...” (v. 39).  Both were godly women, yet they had serious doubts about the extent of Christ’s power.  One limited Him to place “If Thou hadst been here….”  As if Christ could not have saved Lazarus’ life absent as well as present!  The other limited Him as to time “By this time he stinketh….”  As if Christ has brought His remedy too late and the grave would not release its prisoner at His command.  Despite their unbelief, God proved Himself faithful.

His Eternal Desire

    It has ever been and always will be the Father’s will that we trust only Him.  God demands to be called the Almighty; He insists we place our confidence in Him.  That child is wise who does as his father bids.  Man may be called wise, merciful, mighty; but only God is all-wise, all-merciful, almighty.  When we leave out this prefix all, we nickname God and call Him by a creature’s name, which He will not answer to.

    ...Our faith is so important to God that He will sometimes chastise His dearest children when they stagger in this area.  He expects us to trust Him even when we come off poorly by our own standards.  We are not to argue or reason; we are to submit and cling to the promise of His power poured forth for us.

    Zacharias merely asked the angel, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man and my wife well stricken in years” (Luke 1:18).  And for daring to question the vastness of God’s power, he was struck dumb on the spot.  God longs for His children to believe His word, and not to dispute His power.  The distinguishing mark of Abraham’s faith was that he was “…fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, He was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

    To encourage our trust, the Lord often intervenes in mighty ways on behalf of His people.  Sometimes He allows an opposing force to arise, so that at precisely the right moment He can raise up a more magnificent pillar of remembrance to Himself.  This pillar will stand in the very ruins of that which contested His power.  Thus, when He intervenes all must say, “Almighty power was here!”

    Such was the case with Lazarus.  Christ stayed away until the man was dead in order to give a greater demonstration of His power.  God sometimes used the same method in the Old Testament.  Remember the exodus.  If God had brought Israel out of Egypt while Joseph was in favor at court, they probably would have had an easy departure.  Instead, God reserved His deliverance for the reign of that proud Pharaoh who cruelly oppressed them that His children might know beyond doubt who had delivered them.

    God’s timely intervention is a confirmation that you can believe His almighty power is yours, engaged for your defense and help in all trials and temptations.  God miraculously brought Israel out of Egypt; did He then set them down on the other side of the Red Sea to find their way to Canaan using their own skill and strength?  No, “...The Lord thy God bare [them], as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that [they] went...” (Deut. 1:31).

    ...When the saint is upon his march and the whole country rises up against him, how will he get safely past all his enemies’ borders?  God Himself will enfold him in the arms of everlasting strength.  We “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Pet. 1:5).  The power of God is that shoulder on which Christ carries you, His lost sheep, home – rejoicing as He goes (Luke 15:5).  The everlasting arms of His strength are eagles’ wings, upon which you are both tenderly and securely conveyed to glory (Ex. 19:4).

    – From the 2002 printing of The Christian in Complete Armour, Volume One by William Gurnall.  Reprinted by permission of Banner of Truth, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, PA 17013.