What is true power? Is there a difference between the way God views power and how humanity in general understands it? Considering that Isaiah 55:8 says that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways his ways, I would think oh my yes!
Our natural way of understanding power is the old “might makes right” adage. We use force to impose our will on someone else, unless that someone else has more power than we do and then it is their will imposed upon us. This is typically our approach whether it’s the school yard bully, climbing the corporate ladder, or sports and all the way up to military strength and political power.
But that’s not God’s power.
Some might object pointing to the Old Testament where God uses force to drive out the nations from the Promised Land. But I can’t think of a single instance when pure military power or even strategy could be attributed for the defeat of the enemies of the Israelites, can you?
The objections may continue in New Testament passages like Revelation 19:16 that talk about striking down the nations and ruling with an iron scepter.
Notice that this and many other passages about the final defeat of the enemies of God use the imagery of a sword coming from the mouth of Christ. That imagery gives us an insight into what Divine power is really like. Here’s another passage that gives us a clue, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” There is a power there that goes way beyond brute strength.
Let me illustrate. Suppose I was presented with an ice cube that I wanted to destroy. I might take a hammer and crush it into oblivion. That’s human perspective on power. But suppose that ice cube was the size of a glacier, or even an ocean? I couldn’t make a hammer big enough to crush that let alone wield it!
But the sun is a completely different kind of power that can overcome an entire ice age. That comes much closer to understanding how Jesus will destroy by the splendor of his coming.
Two things to take from this. First, the same splendor of Jesus’ coming that brings destruction to those adamant to be his enemies brings glory and joy for those who have acknowledged Jesus as their Lord.
And second, that power has been given to those who follow Jesus. The next time adversity approaches ask God for wisdom to show you how to let him use his power through you to overcome it.