When we think of power, we naturally associate that power with some physical object. We might suggest that a person is powerful when they are able to “pull strings”, that a machine is powerful when it is able to “lift heavy objects”, or that a bomb is powerful when it is able to “bust open a bunker”. Physical, tangible, touchable people and objects are thought to be the sources of power.
But, the greatest power is not physical it is spiritual. Perhaps we are given a foretaste of this idea when we consider that the power we experience in the material world is often rooted in the harnessing of things that are “immaterial” to our everyday experience. Two of our greatest sources of power, heat and electricity, are sourced in the movement of particles that are invisible to the naked eye, and hence not understood for centuries. Perhaps electricity and heat remind us that the greatest power is spiritual, not physical.
This idea was clearly understood by the ancients. When they wanted to proclaim the power of God, they compared his power to other “spirit beings”. Consider these words from the song known as Psalm 89.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:6–8 (NIV)
The song writer assumes that those who will sing this song understand that the Lord dwells among other “heavenly beings”. Indeed there is a “council of holy ones” which “surrounds” him. They all dwell “in the skies”. These spirit beings were created by YHWH the God of Israel and they are powerful, but their power cannot compare to his!
Some of these spirit beings are committed to doing the will of their creator. This group is referred to as the “heavenly hosts” or his “warriors” who carry out his will. Psalm 103:21 (NIV) Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts (“warriors”-NET bible), you his servants who do his will.
Some of them are committed to a path of evil, and are under the judgment of God. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: , Psalm 82:1 (ESV). The term “divine council” refers to a group of spirit beings he created, both benevolent and malevolent, over whom the creator God holds power.
The spirit beings, created by YHWH the God of Israel, do not have a power that is able to compete with Him. One common proclamation from the ancient Israelites is that their god had a power greater than the other gods, the gods of the other nations…
Psalm 86:8 (NIV) Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. The “gods” they are referring to are not eternal self existent beings, but created spirit beings, who are being worshiped as gods by other nations!
While we tend to think of power in very material forms, the greatest power is spiritual. The being with the greatest spiritual power is our creator, YHWH, the God of Israel, the God who revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
Because the greatest power is spiritual, our greatest experiences of power will be spiritual. By His power, he has made those who come to Him, into his children. By His spiritual power He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. By His spiritual power, He desires to encourage, aid, empower, and comfort us in the midst of life’s battles. By His spiritual power He has given us the Holy Spirit, to indwell, and encourage us. By His spiritual power we can experience Him, and will one day see him “face to face”!!