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God’s Unsearchable Greatness

Cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant once penned, "All that I ask of life is a constant and exaggerated sense of my own importance." Many people become legends in their own minds, but I can't help but think especially of politics and politicians every time I read Brilliant's quote. Many elected officials serve effectively with humility and grace and gratitude. But political campaigns, and especially presidential ones, always seem to bring on a lot of loud and long tooting of one's own horn by the candidates and their supporters. In the current race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, reports are that by the time the dust settles after the election their campaigns will have spent close to a billion dollars each —most of it designed to tell us how great each of them is and how pathetic and wrong the other guy is.  My aim here is not to tell you which candidate I think is best. My aim is to remind us to avoid an exaggerated sense of our own importance, and also to avoid an exaggerated sense of our favored candidate's importance! Of course rulers and leaders have a vital and important role to play, and history testifies that not all politicians are equal. But history, and Scripture, also tell us we should NOT look to politics or politicians to do what only God can do or fix what only God can fix! Words from Psalm 146 are appropriate any time, but especially at this time: 'While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever (vs 2-6)." Even the greatest politicians suffer one deadly limitation — they are mortal! As regards sin, death, moral and spiritual living, the need for forgiveness, and eternal life — no son of man on earth can help — even one who is a prince or even a president. ALL of us face death and God's judgement (Hebrews 9:27), including princes and presidents.

French preacher and Roman Catholic bishop Jean-Baptiste Massillon served as the Court Chaplain to French King Louis XIV. Massillon was noted for his direct preaching and unwillingness to compromise what he believed to be the truth. As for King Louis, he had the most extravagant court in all Europe and called himself "the Great." He planned his own funeral to be a spectacular event. The king instructed Massillon that his body was to lie in state in a golden coffin at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. At his funeral the cathedral was to be dark, dimly lit by a single candle positioned above the coffin, causing all to be awed by the king's presence, even in death. Like all kings eventually do, Louis the Great died in 1715 after a reign of 72 years. Massillon did exactly as the king had instructed. Thousands waited in hushed silence as they peered at the exquisite casket that held the mortal remains of their monarch. But as Massillon began the funeral oration, he slowly reached down, snuffed out the candle, and proclaimed to all: "Only God is Great." We may exaggerate the greatness of a prince or president, but God's greatness can't be over-exaggerated.

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3)

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ