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How Big Is Your God, Daddy?
Genesis 32: 7-12
A businessman suffered some financial losses at the same time when his wife was seriously ill.
He came home one day, discouraged and respondent.
His five-year-old daughter, sensing her father's mood, gave him a hug and said,
"Yesterday in Sunday school, my teacher said that God raised Jesus back to life
after He had been dead for three days.
It takes a great big God to do something like that, just how big is God, Daddy?"
That five-year olds' question lifted her father out of his depression because he realized
that the God who had raised His Son was more than big enough to help his family through this time of crisis.
There is a connection between that incident and the prayer of Jacob in the Old Testament.
Like the businessman, Jacob was a frightened and despondent man.
Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham, two of the most godly men of the Old Testament,
- Jacob had deceived his father, Isaac, and had cheated his brother, Esau, out of his inheritance.
- Jacob went on to make a new life for himself, which culminated in cheating his father-in-law, Laban,
out of just about everything he owned.
but he was also one of the sneakiest, most manipulative characters of the entire Bible.
Jacob was returning home when he received word that his brother, Esau, was coming with 400 men to meet him.
Suddenly, he was panic-stricken!
The Bible says, "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed." (Genesis 32: 7)
In desperation, Jacob did something that he hadn't done for a long time -- he prayed.
Jacob's prayer reveals that he wondered if the God of his forefathers was big enough
to help him in his time of distress.
God had promised, "to do Jacob good," despite the fact that he was a thief and a liar.
But in spite of all of God's promises, Jacob wasn't really sure that his father's God was big enough
to save him from his brother, Esau.
As we think about Jacob's plight,
I wonder how many of our sons and daughters are wondering the same thing about us.
I wonder how many of our children are asking, "Just how big is your God, Daddy?"
The kind of God, in which our children believe, is to some extent mirrored in the kind of parents we are.
They may not ask us directly, but we can be sure they wonder, and we ought to be willing to answer their questions.
Big Enough to Deliver from Danger
"Daddy, is your God big enough to deliver us from the dangers which confront us daily?"
That is a question our children could be asking daily, and it is also implied in Jacob's prayer:
"Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him,
lest he comes and slay us all, the mothers with the children." (Genesis 32: 11)
Jacob knew he was in danger and wondered if his father's God was big enough to deliver him.
Our children face many dangers in today's world: kidnapping, child abuse, prostitution, pornography,
drugs, and war and the threat of wars.
The world in which our children live is such a fearsome place that one child psychologist estimates
that more than 70 percent of all American children are permanently neurotic.
All of us live in a fearsome age -- riots, rapes, robberies, and murders.
Elmer Davis once wrote a book entitled, Two Minutes until Midnight.
The title came from a cover of "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,"
which showed a clock with its hands at various intervals of time.
At one time, the hands were at eight minutes until midnight.
When the Russians got the atomic bomb, the hands moved to three minutes until midnight.
When the Russians developed the hydrogen bomb, the hands moved to two minutes until midnight.
No wonder our children are frightened and neurotic.
They have every reason to be so!
Unless we, as parents, believe our God is big enough to deliver us from the dangers of the world we live in,
and unless we pass that belief on to our children.
The Bible is perfectly clear -- God is big enough to do anything He wants to do.
Abraham and Sarah laughed at God when He told them they would have a child.
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, but they had Isaac because God was big enough
to make them fertile again.
Jesus was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, and conquer His own grave because
His Father God was big enough.
Paul told the Ephesians that God was "able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3: 20)
As Christian parents, we believe in a God who is big enough to protect us from anything
the world may bring, and we are under obligation to teach our children to believe in that same all-powerful God.
One of the most quotable parents of our age is Yogi Berra, the baseball player,
who often murders both language and logic, but somehow always makes sense.
On one occasion he said,
"Ninety percent of baseball is mental. The other half is physical."
Yogi can't add, but his observation is correct.
Most of life is mental.
If you are convinced that you are a failure, then in all likelihood, you will fail.
If, on the other hand, you believe that God is big enough to save you, and that you are His child
by grace through faith, then your life will be good and happy, no matter what happens.
I believe our children ought to believe in a big God like that.
Big Enough to Forgive
"Daddy, is your God big enough to forgive us of our sins and failures?"
That is another question, our children are silently asking us today.
It was also a concern, which troubled Jacob in his prayer: "I am not worthy of the least
of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness which thou hast shown to thy servant."
(Genesis 32: 10)
Jacob knew that he had been a liar and a cheat; and he wondered if God was big enough to forgive him.
Jacob's concern is that of many children today, even though most of them cannot articulate as Jacob did.
Most children are aware that they live in an age, which basically has a mean attitude.
Very few Americans want to forgive their enemies; they would rather punish them.
Our children cannot help wondering if the God of their parents is big enough
to forgive their sins and failures.
In a Sunday school class for 8-year-olds was a little boy who had Down's syndrome.
The Sunday school teacher tried to teach those 10 children to love and forgive one another.
On the Sunday after Easter, the Sunday school teacher came to class with a paper bag
full of the big plastic eggs, which originally contained panty hose.
The teacher gave each child an egg and instructions to go outside; find a symbol of new life, put it in the egg,
and then come back and share it with the class.
The other children cried out that he didn't try.
- One child put a flower in her egg.
That symbolized new life; everybody applauded.
- Another child had a butterfly in her egg;
all agreed that was appropriate as a symbol of the resurrection.
- The boy with Down's syndrome, however, opened up his egg
and there was nothing in it.
However, the teacher allowed him to explain.
The little boy explained, "That egg is empty because Jesus' tomb was empty."
When they heard those words, all of the rest of the children became silent.
When the little boy died four months later, nine 8-year-olds came to the altar of the church
where the funeral was held.
Each of them brought an empty panty hose egg because he had taught them that his God was big enough
to raise anybody to eternal life -- even a little boy with Down's syndrome.
If God is big enough to protect a little boy like that, and to forgive a scoundrel like Jacob,
He is also big enough to forgive us of our sins and failures.
Our children need to know that God personally.
Big Enough to Keep Promises
"Daddy, is your God big enough to keep His promises?"
I also believe our children are asking that question this morning.
Jacob implied it in his prayer when he said, "But thou didst say, 'I will do you good,
and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude."
(Genesis 32: 12)
Jacob knew what God had promised him, but after the kind of life he had lived,
he wondered if God was big enough to keep His promises.
One of the greatest mistakes any father can make is to promise his children something,
and then fail to keep that promise.
Here is a man who had such an experience.
When he was eight years old, the man's father promised to buy him a BB gun when he received
his next paycheck.
This was during the Great Depression, and the father had only a part-time government job.
On the day when the check was due, it was raining and the roads were rivers of mud.
The check arrived, but with it was a letter ordering the father to go to Atlanta, 200 miles away,
on the same day.
The boy knew his father couldn't drive into town, buy the BB gun, come back, and still get to Atlanta on time.
To hide his disappointment, he went to his room, sobbing with a broken heart.
He heard his parents talking, heard the car door slam, and heard his father drive away.
He wept himself to sleep, only to be awakened later by the sound of an automobile horn.
He ran to the window and saw his father holding a new BB gun for him.
He ran downstairs and took his gift.
He didn't say anything and neither did his father.
There was no need for words.
If an earthly father can keep His promises, how much more can we depend upon our heavenly Father to keep His!
Jacob discovered that God was big enough to keep His promises.
God had promised, "to do him good," and He did!
Jacob was a liar and a thief, but God forgave him, changed him, renamed him, "Israel,"
and made him the father of a mighty nation -- because God was big enough to keep His promises.
God made Jesus the answer to all of the promises of the prophets, all of the prayers of His people,
and all the hopes of humanity.
God promised to raise Jesus from the dead, and He kept His promise on Easter Sunday, 2000 years ago.
God has promised that Jesus is coming again, and that He will take all who are His children to live
with Him in that heavenly city where He will dwell with us.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more."
We know those promises will come true.
We can tell our children that our God -- the God who was in Christ Jesus -- is big enough
to keep all of His promises!
"How Great Thou Art" is probably the favorite hymn of more Christians than any other.
It tells about a God who is big enough to put the stars and skies and form the soaring mountains,
and big enough to raise Christ!
That same God was big enough to hear the prayer of a sinner like Jacob and a sinner like me.
He is also big enough to protect our children, to forgive their failures, and to keep all of His promises.
"How big is your God, Daddy?"
Any father who doesn't know how to answer that question can find the answer in giving his life to the Lord Jesus.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com