Excerpt from classes at Belhaven University. Also used in other teaching, pastoral care, counseling, and prison ministry.
Dr. Robert D. Wilson (1856-1930) was a Presbyterian scholar who devoted his life to showing the Hebrew Bible’s reliability. In proving the accuracy of the Old Testament manuscripts, Wilson learned 45 languages, including all languages into which the Scriptures had been translated up to 600 AD. He was a Professor at Princeton Seminary and Westminster Seminary.
Wilson went to hear one of his students (Donald Barnhouse) preach and said, “I came to see if you are a big-godder or a little-godder, then I know how your life and ministry will unfold.” Wilson explained that people with a little god are always in trouble. Their god can’t create or do miracles. He can’t forgive big sins or help people change their lives in big ways. Their little god can’t take care of the Scriptures’ inspiration and transmission to us. He doesn’t intervene for His people or answer prayer. These people have a little god.
Others have the great, awesome, almighty, invincible God—the Lord of the Bible—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This God speaks and it is done; He commands and it stands firm; He shows Himself strong on behalf of those who love, fear, trust, and obey Him. Dr. Wilson said, “You, young man are a big-godder, and the Lord will bless your life and ministry. He will use you for His praise.”
“God Can Do Anything but Fail” (by Ira F. Stanphill)
Christ can save, He can cleanse, He can keep, and He will. Christ can do anything but fail. (2x)
Chorus: He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end / He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul / God can do anything, anything, anything / God can do anything but fail.
Near age 70, Wilson finished a lecture on the trustworthiness of Scripture and said to his students, tears streaming down his face: “There are many mysteries in life I can’t understand, many things hard to explain. But I can tell you with absolute assurance: Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so!”
How big is your God? How much is He in control? Does He have the whole world and you in His hands? Is He big enough to win against sin, Satan, death, disease, and all false religions? To heal your marriage? To make you an effective parent and to save your children? Is He big enough to help you do your work for Christ? To know your physical, spiritual, emotional, mental needs and to provide for them?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for acting like we can handle our lives on our own. Forgive us for treating you like a vending machine to meet our needs. Forgive us for living with ourselves on the throne. Forgive us for hallowing our own name, advancing our own little agenda, and doing what we please. Wake us up to your bigness, your greatness, your transcendence, and make us delight in bowing before you and being your grateful servants. Make us content to glorify you (not ourselves) and to enjoy you forever. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Wilson story adapted from James M. Boice’s Joshua: We Will Serve The Lord (p. 114-115)