The heavens, even the highest heavens cannot contain you! – 1 Kings 8:27
“The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you!” Those are the words of the wisest man to ever live: King Solomon, son of King David. The year was 959 BC. An epic year in Israel’s history, and human history for that matter. It was the year that the first actual permanent temple of Yahweh was finished.
Israel had been in the land for about 450 years. They spent 400+ years in Egypt, enslaved. Then they were delivered famously by God. That generation that left Egypt was forced to wander in the desert for 40 years until they all died off because of their unbelief. Then, the next generation was led by Joshua into the Promised land.
Over the next several hundred years everyone in Israel lived without a king, but periodically God would raise up a judge, someone of His choosing, to deliver the Israelites from the threats of their enemies. Such were the days of Gideon, Samson, Deborah, and others.
Then Israel sinned, wanting to be like the nations around them, and have a king. God was their King but that wasn’t enough, they wanted to model their society like that of the pagan nations around them. (Some things never change do they?) So God gave them a king. First it was Saul. But Saul sinned and so the kingdom was taken from his family. After Saul was the mighty King David, the man after God’s own heart. Then, after David, was his son Solomon.
Yet while Israel had been in their land, God was still “dwelling” in a tent, the great Tabernacle. There had never been a permanent place where God would dwell in the midst of His covenant people. But under King Solomon, that would change. God would have this son of David, this son of Abraham, Solomon, build for Him a temple, a house in which he would dwell. It would be the first time in all of human history that God would have a place where He would dwell on earth with man. Man could now go somewhere to worship and “meet” God. It wasn’t always so. Before it was God who had met with men at various places in history.
- He met with Abraham at the great tree of Moreh at Shechem (Gen 12:7). To commemorate that meeting Abraham built an altar there.
- He met with Isaac at Beersheba (Gen 26:23-5). So Isaac built an altar and dug a well there.
- He met with Jacob in Genesis 32 where their famous wrestling match occurred and Jacob called the place Peniel, which means face of God. Jacob said it was because He saw the face of God and did not die that He named that location Peniel.
Over and over God met with people at places of His choosing. Those places would be memorialized as a result, usually with a new name, digging a well, planting a tree or building an altar to the Lord on which to worship. But now God decided that Solomon, after all these years, would build a permanent house in Israel for the Lord to dwell.
After the Temple was finished, with all its furnishings and decorations, and after everything was in place Solomon assembled all the leaders and men of Israel before the new Temple. Then he prayed a prayer that God heard. We pick up in verse 23 and go through 27….. “….”
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.” No matter how glorious, how momentous, how epic, how big the accomplishment of establishing the first temple of Yahweh was, can you see how small Solomon felt? Can you see how small he felt the Temple was, how small earth and heaven were? Why? Because Solomon knew God “exceedingly exceeds” anything in His creation. For that matter we should say that God exceedingly exceeds the sum of all creation! That’s what Solomon knew, what He felt, and was expressing. Actually Solomon was worshipfully stating an important doctrine concerning God: God is infinite. “God – the heavens and the earth cannot contain you!” Isaiah would later join Solomon in such praise..turn there with me…
- Isaiah in his vision of God said “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple” (Isa 6:1).
- Or later in Isaiah 40:12, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?”
- Or this awesome one from God’s mouth in Isaiah 66:1-2, “
We need to let the weight of God’s Exceedingness and Surpassingness crush our minds.
What does infinite mean? It means that God is not limited by creation. He transcends it. He is beyond it. His existence is outside of it, and He is not dependent on it. He is not part of creation, and creation is not part of Him like some kind of an extension of Him. He is complete apart from creation, He is independent of creation, He is existing beyond creation. Here’s one thing none of us will ever be guilty of: thinking too highly of God. But thinking of God as infinite will help us think more highly of Him.
If God is infinite, and limitless, then there are some important things to know.
First, God is the Only God because He is Infinite
There can only be one Infinite. There cannot be two infinite beings. God is not in a partnership with another god, nor is He one of many Gods. he is God all by Himself. All that is God is Idolatry means to make someone or something other than God to be your god. Idolatry means to think of God as something other than what He is, which is always is to think down of Him. He is perfect and infinite and so if we the other way to think of a perfect, transcendent God is to think of Him as less than perfect, less than infinite, less than eternal, less than transcendent etc.
The reason we need revelation from God about God is because we could never think of God as God without it! And how we think about God matters to God. Let us therefore think of Him as infinite and think of Him as the One, True, and Only God.
Second, God’s Rule is Infinite (Omni-sovereign)
God is infinite, and therefore His rule is infinite. We could say this is His “Omni-Sovereignty”. He is free to do whatever He wills to do because He is over absolutely everything in existence – He is the highest and most supreme ruler in existence. Here I take you to the words of Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon. After God humiliated him for his arrogance Nebuchadnezzar declared in Daniel 4:34-35….
Or hear God Himself in Isaiah 45:5-12…
The Infinite Rule of God belongs also to the Son of God, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” Jesus said in Mt 28. Colossians 1 says, “For by Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.”
He is All-Sovereign, All-Ruling. His Kingship is over everything – everything seen and unseen, in heaven and on earth, under the earth even. He rules over every dominion, every power, every principality, every throne. Every finite authority derives its authority ultimately from God and yet God gets His authority from no one. He is the infinite authority who dwarfs any other authority beneath Him – be it men or angels. No one’s will can thwart the will of God. He is Omni-Sovereign. He is infinite, and therefore His rule is infinite.
Third, God’s Power is Infinite (Omnipotent)
Because God is infinite He is also omnipotent. He is an infinite being without limits and so therefore Whatever He is he is without limits. We could never imagine or express the power of God, as Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. He is powerful, and so He is All-Powerful. Unlimited in power and might. This means that there is nothing He can’t do.
Now this doesn’t mean that He can make a rock so big that He can’t lift it. That’s nonsense. There are lots of things God can’t do even though He is all-powerful. He can’t sin, He can’t lie, He can’t tempt, He can’t make a square circle or any other immoral or illogical thing. The person who says “Well see there then God is NOT all powerful” is a fool. They are not trying to understand, they are a dedicated scoffer and antagonist.
There are other attributes related to God’s infiniteness in coming weeks, such as His infinite knowledge, and Presence. But we need to talk about the fact that God is not only infinite, but personal.
This study of God’s attributes has its rewards and its risks as well. On the one hand, thinking of God and what He is like greatly improves our Christian life. Not to mention it is more worthy of God to “think of Him more nearly as He is” (Tozer).
However, we must see how this high and lofty God comes to us as all that He is. We must somehow be able to “touch” this God who is so far beyond our thinking. Otherwise we end up just thinking of Him as almost imaginary, that He is far beyond our reality down here. It risks feeling as though He is out of reach to us, less personal to us, and we lose that sense of Him being here and now.
The point of this series is to see that God is the Ultimate Reality beyond the reality we see here and now. But, at the same time to draw us nearer to Him. That’s why we must see that God is both infinite, and a personal God. He knows me. And I can know Him. He wants me to know Him. Because when I know this infinite God it will change my life forever.
Think of God’s SUPPLY to us. :
STRENGTH. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That is not sentimental, that is Spirit-filled truth, based on the fact that Christ, who is the infinite God and has infinite power is able to supply us with His strength. When you are weak, He is strong and will make you strong.
LOVE. And that’s not just strength to get through trials or weary days either. It is an infinite supply of love. God is the One who fills the cup of your heart with His love. Love enemies? Love difficult people? Love your spouse? Love someone who is the political opposite of you? Love someone who sees vaccines and masks different than you? Love your parents? Love your church? Love your boss? Where do you think love like that comes from? Love is not something “self-generated”. Love is not a feeling. Love is something that comes from outside of us: it comes from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit and it is the love of God coming out of us when we walk with the Spirit. He fills us up inwardly so that we are able to choose to love. Which is key. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. God did not “feel” oozy sort of dopey love when it says “For God so loved…” That was a holy decision to intentionally set His love on us and make it His purpose to do us good despite us deserving only wrath and condemnation and judgment. Love is a choice. It is not something you “falling” into or out of.
PEACE: What about peace? Does the fact that God is infinite open up a whole new horizon of peace for us? “My peace I give you” Jesus said. That’s the peace I want. I don’t want the peace that comes from everything going my way, although I want that. I want the peace that passes understanding, the peace that is not from this world, the peace that is produced by the Spirit when I’m setting my mind on the things of the Spirit. That peace has way more “peace” than anything else.
WISDOMOr how about wisdom? Where will you go for wisdom but to the infinite and infinitely wise God? “If any of you lacks wisdom” James 1 says, “Let him ask of God…” God’s Word is the mobile library of God’s wisdom. He gave us His thoughts, which make us wise if we study them.
Is your God infinite? If so, how?