“All the Great Work”

Consider today the discipline of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, his signs and his deeds that he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land, and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day, and what he did to you in the wilderness, until you came to this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram.., how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel. For your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord that he did. You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to give [your fathers] and their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 11:2-9

In our flesh, we might define “great work” as peace, prosperity, happiness, comfort, plenty. After all, ‘things are great’ and ‘I’m feeling great’ are not natural responses to illnesses, sadness, weariness, unemployment, unrest. But God’s word lists together for remembrance discipline, greatness, His mighty hand and outstretched arm, signs and deeds of judgment, destruction, fantastic plagues, death, displacement, and loss. These ALL are the great works He calls us to consider. (Exodus 7:14-12:32; 14:21-31; Numbers 16:25-33)

This is because God uses all things to bring glory to Himself and work good for His people and kingdom. In the peaceable, pleasant, and pretty things, we quickly see His loving hand. In the harsh, hurtful, and confusing events, we must trust it. The same hand that slays is the one that soothes- all in sovereign love and perfect wisdom. (Isaiah 43:7; Romans 8:28)

Furrowed ridges in rain-filled ditch

When we do not understand why emotions run amok and out of control, why certain events transpire and certain words flame, we can trust that omnipotent God knows and uses “all these great things” to accomplish His high and holy purposes beyond our comprehension, and will waste nothing in His righteous economy. What appears as a scary, sleuthing serpent is actually the hand of Jesus fingering the soft sand of our souls to conform its shape to His beauty, to reflect His light. (Jeremiah 33:3; Romans 11:33)

Am I in the habit of picking and choosing what I deem comes from God’s hands? Do I label some things “great” and others “not so great, not for me, thank you,” what I like, “God’s kind gift,” and the hard and harsh things, “out of His control”? Every gift comes from Him, and we understand His rich, many-faceted character better when we receive all He gives as useful and redemptive in His plans for us. (Job 2:10; Matthew 5:45; James 1:17)

Father God, open my eyes to see all Your great work, and consider it just that. Show me Your ways, that I may know You, and gratefully live for Your pleasure and honor. (Exodus 33:18)

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