by Pastor Ron Thomas
RODGERS BAPTIST CHURCH
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Text: Isaiah 40:28-31. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God (El Olam), the LORD (Jehovah or self-existing One), the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Introduction: For years we have watched commercials that include a cool, pink bunny with dark sunglasses, who scoots around town and over the countryside, playing a big bass drum. He's the Eveready Energizing Bunny! Nothing can stop him, nothing can deter him. He never runs down, he just keeps going, and going, and going. (Except recently when he was arrested and jailed for battery.) If your Christmas present came with batteries, make sure they are energized.
What about you? Are you energized as you face the prospect of a new year? Are you entering the new year like the Eveready, Energizing Bunny, with a sense of optimism, excitement, and enthusiasm? Most Christians sad to say, will enter the new year more like a slow, lethargic possum. How wonderful it would be if every believer could charge into the new year, ever ready and energized for Jesus Christ!
As good as that pink bunny might be, he can't run your race for you. You can be attached to the Ever Ready, Energizing God!
Our text contains one of the many names of God. There is a need to give God His rightful place in our hearts and lives. One way to do that, is to know God better through His many names revealed in the Old Testament. Each name tells us something of God's attributes and character. We are going to study El Olam.
El is the Old Testament name for God, and is associated with power. Olam means eternity. The name El Olam therefore means, Everlasting God. This is an appropriate name as we begin the new year. Sometimes my batteries run low. In the course of a year, I find myself running down, running low, running out, and running dry. How wonderful it is to know that we have more than a pink bunny. We have an Ever Ready, Energizing God. The name El Olam, the eternal God, is not so much used to describe God in relation to time, but God in relation to us! As we go into 2008, we need to take El Olam with us. Why? What does the name El Olam say about our God, and what does it mean to us as we face a new year?
First, El Olam is the ageless One. We are soon to end one year and begin another. The years seem to fly by us. We measure things, careers, and ourselves by time. The years begin to show up in our bodies and etch themselves on our faces. The longer we are on this earth, the more we resemble Father Time! We picture God the same way. We see Him as white headed, stooped, and wrinkled! God is not old! God is ageless!
Early in the twentieth century, Albert Einstein introduced a new concept of time and space. It was revolutionary and mind bending to think of bending time and the possibility of being outside of time. Truth be known, Einstein was describing El Olam, the God of eternity! God is not a product of time. Time is the product of God. God is at the beginning and at the end, at the same time. He stands outside of time as the ageless One.
As the ageless One, He is before all things. Our Bibles open with the words, "In the beginning God." Before there was anything, when there was nothing, there was God! That is a strain on our brain! We mortals are so earth bound. Our existence and thinking is limited by time and space! Not El Olam!
As the ageless One, He is the source of all things. Isaiah 40:28 says, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God (El Olam), the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" Since God is before all things, He must be the source of all things. How can something come from nothing? Something never comes from nothing, it never has, it never will. Not in your bank account, not in your gas tank, not with your homework assignment or midterm paper! Nothing always produces nothing! It takes something or someone to make or produce something, and that Someone is the eternal God! El Olam is "the Creator of the ends of the earth." He is the ultimate cause!
Presently there is a big debate going on in our nation concerning the origins of mankind. The complexity of creation is not explained by Darwinism. Everywhere you look, you see intelligent design! Are we the product of random chance, or a Divine Creator? As El Olam, God is the Creator. Do you believe that it is possible for a tornado to tear through a Home Depot, and leave behind a perfectly built house with all the finish trim, plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioning, flooring and fixtures set? Evolutionist would say, "Well, maybe if it happens again and again over billions of years!" There is no way such things could have come into being by random chance. El Olam, the eternal God, is the source of all things!
As the ageless One, He is above all things. Some see God as the summation of nature. They say, "God is nature. Add it all up, you've got God! God is in all things, and all things are God." What an insult! If you gather all the great works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart together in a pile and say, "This is Mozart," you would insult him, putting him on the level of his work. We may see Mozart in each composition, but Mozart is above them. He is their creator. So it is with God. God made all things, therefore we can see His handiwork in all things, but He is distinct, separate and above His creation. We worship God, not His creation!
Because God is the ageless One, He is eternally present for each and every generation! He is known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but He is the God of Adam and Seth; the God of Moses and Aaron; the God of Saul and Samuel; the God of David and Solomon. In a changing world, God's presence is eternal. No one can be with us all the time. Our parents, friends, relatives, spouse, are not with us all the time or forever. Sometimes the people we depend on disappoint us, fail us, betray us, and even leave us. El Olam, the eternal God can be relied on. Every generation can say, "He is my God!" Psalm 100:5 says, "For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations."
Because God is the ageless One, He can connect you with His great, eternal purpose. Ecclesiastes 3:11a reads, "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (Olam, eternity) in their heart." Every human being has a built in sense of eternity, an awareness of something beyond the material, physical world. Steven Curtis Chapman was right when he wrote, "But there's more to this life than living and dying, More than just trying to make it through the day; More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see, And there's more than this life alone can be." That is so true. We need more than our eyes to see, more than our senses to perceive! El Olam can help you to see and understand that you are a part of a bigger plan. One of Charles Stanley's thirty life principles is: "If necessary, God will move heaven and earth to show us His will." Your life has significance as your live it surrendered to His will!
As you focus on El Olam, and His plans, His purpose for your life, realize He is ageless, but you are not! Today is the time to serve Him. You may not have tomorrow! Give Him your best now!
Second, El Olam is the limitless One. In the verses proceeding our text passage, it expresses the futility of making an image to represent El Olam. Notice verses 18-19. "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? 19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains." Verse 25. "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth." Not only is it forbidden to worship the living God through idols and the works of men's hands, it is impossible! Why? El Olam, the eternal God is limitless! The heavens cannot contain Him! What could you begin to sculpture that would do Him justice? Any image, no matter who vast, how precious or intricate, will be limited! El Olam is the limitless One!
In Deuteronomy 33:26-27, Moses uses the name El Olam in blessing the tribe of Asher. He describes God as "the God of Jeshurun". Jeshurun means the upright one, and speaks of Israel. Moses says, "There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky. 27 The eternal God (El Olam) is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them." Moses was in touch with a limitless God who rides upon the heavens; whose powerful arms can comfort and cradle His children, and toss out their enemies! The apostle Paul would say, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" When manufacturers create a special product, they only make so many and promote it as a "limited edition." Mankind is a limited edition in a negative sense. We can only see so far; jump so high; travel so fast; learn, comprehend and understand so much. Not El Olam. He is limitless! Isaiah 40:28b says, "...there is no searching of His understanding." This is why we need the eternal God in our lives! He expands our horizons and increases our potential! The rod of Moses could help lead a flock of sheep in the wilderness, but when it became the rod of God, it challenged and changed the world! William Cary is known for his challenge to all believers, "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." As you take El Olam the limitless One with you into the year, He will expand your horizons and increase your possibilities. El Olam is all His people will ever need, from generation to generation. Hebrews 11:6 informs us that minus faith, it is impossible to please God. El Olam, the limitless One, desires you to trust Him more, believe in Him more, ask Him for more!
Third, El Olam is the changeless One. Isaiah 40:21 asks, "Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity."
God is the only constant. He is eternally consistent, unchanging, faithful, reliable, and dependable. These verses indicate that times change, people change, governments change, everything changes, but God doesn't change. He never has, and He never will. Over the weekend, a leader in Pakistan was murdered. People are speculating about the changes it will provoke in that troubled nation. Leaders come and go, but El Olam stays in office! Psalm 102:25-28 says, "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end. 28 The children of Thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before Thee."
We sometimes feel threatened and lost in a world of change. With the advancement of technology, change is coming at an even faster pace! It makes you want to retreat to your local Cracker Barrel Restaurant, bolt the door and live where life is simple again! We can't live in a Cracker Barrel Restaurant forever! Eventually we must enter our ever changing world. What do we leave behind? What do we hold on to? In a world that is spinning so rapidly, where nothing seems to be dependable or constant, the eternal God is there to secure us with His eternal, unchanging values and promises, that you can build your life upon. El Olam can help us sort through the issues that face us, and deal with the changes that force themselves upon us!
The name El Olam should remind you that among the things in life that can be changed to suit your taste, God remains tamper-resistant! When life is unsettled, we gain great comfort from the Bible's affirmation that God is changeless. You must never forget that God came to change you, not the other way around! James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." God doesn't change, but He wants you to always be changing into the likeness of Jesus. What kind of change? 1. Love more. 2. A spirit of meekness and humility. 3. Work at making and maintaining relationships. 4. Less of self. 5. More giving. What will you change?
Fourth, El Olam is the tireless One. The first law of thermodynamics says that the total quantity of energy in the universe remains constant. This is the principle of the conservation of energy. The second law of thermodynamics states that the quality of this energy is degraded irreversibly. This is the principle of the degradation of energy. Let's put it another way, When we grow old, we wear out! Isaiah 40:30 describes this loss of strength and energy. It says, "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall." If we live long enough, we will see the Eveready Energizer Bunny stall! Even young people eventually run out of energy and crash for a while!
How wonderful it is to know that El Olam, the eternal God, never tires. He is tireless! When we grow weary in well doing, when we would faint, falter, and fail in our service, the eternal God is there to renew us! Isaiah 40:29 reads, "He (El Olam) giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."
In the early 1500s, a Spaniard named Ponce de Leon searched all over Florida for the legendary, "Fountain of Youth." Ponce de Leon never found it. Today, the market is flooded with all sorts of creams and machines, tonics and vitamins, that are supposed to keep us young and energetic. Some of these might help for a while, but there is nothing on the shelf that can restore and renew our inward man! There is nothing that can get us up and going again like waiting on the Lord. Verse 31 reads, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." The word "wait," implies that we look to Him and lean on Him.
"What is your strength?" Is it your youth? Is it your wit, winsomeness, and wisdom? It is it your intelligence? Is it your looks? Is it your experience? It is your physical conditioning? It is your charisma, popularity and friends? All of these will ultimately fail. All of these are limited commodities and are vulnerable. At any moment, we could find ourselves without these things. Only the eternal God, El Olam, can help us get up when we are down; to keep going when we hit a wall and feel like quitting; to stay positive when everything and everyone around us is negative; to get resourceful when its easy to be stagnate! You need the eternal, tireless God.
Abraham learned to include El Olam in the everyday issues of his life. The first time we find the name El Olam used in the Bible is Genesis 21. Here Abraham and Abimelech squabble and war over territory and water rights, and eventually they make a deal. As Abraham seals the covenant or agreement, he invokes the name El Olam. Genesis 21:33-34 says, "And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God (El Olam). 34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days." Why does he do this? Abraham is acknowledging that God is sovereign over the affairs of men. He walks with an increasing awareness that he needs El Olam, the ageless, limitless, changeless, tireless One in his life. Increase your awareness of El Olam. Include Him in all your plans!
1. God is eternal, your days on earth are limited. Are you ready to go out into eternity and face God? You are not ready if you have not acknowledged and received Jesus Christ into your heart. Today is the day of salvation. Now is God's accepted time!
2. There is no limit to what God can do in your life, if you will submit to Him.
3. Ask God to show you where and what you need to change to bring Him glory.
4. Like Abraham, declare that you need God's power and pray for His outpouring on your life.