After the immutability of God, that is, his unchangeable-ness, the majesty of God must also be considered. But what do we mean when we speak of his majesty, and how exactly does it impact us as Christians? In this chapter, Packer states that knowledge of the majesty, or greatness of God leads us to trust the Lord implicitly and worship him joyfully. “But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack: and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern people, and modern people, thought they cherish great thoughts of themselves, have as a rule small thoughts of God.”
From the beginning of Scripture, two truths about God are made clear, namely, that he is both personal and majestic. He is personal in that he is not indifferent to the creatures he has made. He thinks of them, feels emotion toward them, acts in response to their needs, approves their good, and disapproves of their evil. The Lord of heaven is interested in his creatures all the time, but that does not mean that his power or knowledge are limited in any way. In fact, the same Scriptures which teach that God loves and cares for his people, also teach that he is El Shaddai, “God Almighty,” who rules over history and directs the destinies of men.
In order to obtain an accurate view of God’s greatness, Packer suggests that we must pursue a two-fold path of study. First, we must “remove from our thoughts of God limits that would make him small,” and second, we must “compare him with power and forces which we regard as great.” An example of the first step is found in Psalm 139, where the psalmist states essentially, “I can hid my heart, and my past, and my future plans, from those around me, but I cannot hide anything from God. I can talk in a way that deceives my fellow creatures as to what I really am, but nothing I say or do can deceive God. He sees through all my reserve and pretense; he knows me as I really am, better indeed than I know myself.” Surely Packer is correct when he concludes that “Living becomes an awesome business when you realize that you spend every moment of your life in the sight and company of an omniscient, omnipresent Creator.”
Not only is the Lord unlimited in his knowledge and power, he is incomparable, as Isaiah 40 declares. As Packer surveys this message from the prophet to a despondent people, he points out 5 comparisons in which God’s greatness is evident:
Tasks – “’Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?’ (Is. 40:12) Are you wise enough, and mighty enough, to do things like that? But I am, or I could not have made this world at all. Behold your God!”
Nations – “’Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales;…Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.’ (Is. 40:15,17) You tremble before the nations, because you are much weaker than they; but God is so much greater than the nations that they are as nothing to him. Behold your God!”
World – “’He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.’ (Is. 40:22) The world dwarfs us all, but God dwarfs the world…He is greater than the world and all that is in it, so that all the feverish activity of its bustling millions does no more to affect him than the chirping and jumping of grasshoppers in the summer sun does to affect us. Behold your God!”
Great Ones – “Do you suppose that it is really…top men who determine which way the world shall go? Think again, for God is greater than the world’s great men. ‘He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.’ (Is. 40:23) He is, as the prayer book says, ‘the only ruler of princes.’ Behold your God!”
Stars – “‘Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.’ (Is. 40:26) It is God who brings out the stars; it was God who first set them in space; he is their Maker and Master – they are all in his hands and subject to his will. Such are his power and his majesty. Behold your God!”\
Truly, we need to wait upon the Lord and meditate upon his majesty, until our hearts are filled with awe and wonder at his greatness, so that we will trust him fully and worship him freely.