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Knowing Even A Snail's Pace

Because of God’s infinite and intricate knowledge, we can be confident in our trust in him.


If I tell you I am going to do something quick as a wink, how fast is that? Do you know how fast a wink is? If I say, "I wouldn't do that for all the tea in China," how much tea are we talking about? Don't you know? If I say, "I haven't seen you in a coon's age," how long has it been since we've seen each other? Don't you know? If I complain that one of my kids is moving at a snail's pace, how fast is he going? Do you know a snail's pace?

You don't know the answers to these questions, do you? But God does. God knows those things. God knows that a wink is one third of a second. How much tea is there in China? According to a recent estimate, about 370,000 tons. What's a coon's age? Thirteen years. How fast is a snail's pace? Ten feet an hour. If he comes through that door while I'm talking and really hustles, we'll make it out of here by about five o'clock. God knows those things.

In fact, God knows everything. Everything that could be known, God knows. That's one of his attributes. God is omniscient. "O." All knowledge. God has all knowledge. All the knowledge there is to have, God has.

I would like to focus on how vast is God's knowledge. I would like to focus on how all encompassing, how penetrating, how specific is God's knowledge. I would like us to see how absolute is God's knowledge. Then having seen it, I would like us to be encouraged by what that means to us. I would like us to see how good it is for us to know it.

God's knowledge is vast, specific and personal.

How vast is God's knowledge? How encompassing is it? The Scriptures say God distinctly knows every star that exists. Billions of stars. God knows their unique he has given every one of them a name, billions of names. I can't keep straight the names of my five kids. You have in your vocabulary, if you can read, about 60,000 words you can recognize. Your speaking vocabulary is less that that. God has billions of proper names alone.

Listen to the Psalmist: "He counts the number of stars. He gives names to every one of them. Great is our Lord. His understanding is infinite" (Ps. 147:4).

God's knowledge is vast, beyond comprehension. But the Scriptures also say God's knowledge is so specific it extends to the least detail. God's knowledge is so thorough, so penetrating, so minute, that he knows the least thing that is attentive to it.

Tomorrow morning in Garland a pet store owner is going to open his shop. He's going to take two parakeets and put them in a cage and put a sign on the cage: "Sale: $5.95." About noon a woman is going to drive into the pet store to get a present for her grandchildren, and because her will not permit cats or dogs in the house, she will settle on the parakeets. She will write a check, take the cage out, put it in her car in the back seat, and she will drive off. Three blocks later, a car will suddenly pull out from a curb in front of her, and she will brake quickly to avoid hitting it. The cage in the back will tumble to the floor of the car amid a fluttering of wings. And God in his heaven will know that it happened and be attentive to it. That's what the Scripture tells us in Matthew 10.

Matthew 10:29: "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?" small copper coin, an asserion, one sixteenth of a denarious, that is, one sixteenth of a daily wage. Are not two parakeets sold for $5.95? "and yet not one of them falls to the ground, apart from your Father." God will know.

God knows everything. God knows the name of every star. God knows the flutter of every parakeet. And most of all, God knows you. God knows everything about you.

God's knowledge is vast. God's knowledge is specific. But, most of all God's knowledge is personal.

God knows you inside out. God knows why you chose to wear what you are wearing this morning. Maybe it was the only clean thing in the closet. Maybe it's the only thing that fits. Maybe it's your spring colors. Maybe it was a gift and you're wearing it to please the giver. Maybe there's a certain impression you wanted to make, and what you're wearing will help you make it. Whatever the reason, God knows. God knows everything about you. God knows what you are going to have for breakfast tomorrow morning. God knows you better than you know yourself. God knows your personality better than you know your own personality.

God knows how you would act in certain situations even if you don't know how you would act.

God knows how you would act if your kid crashed his bike into a parked car and broke his arm. God knows whether you'd whimper, "Does it hurt, does it hurt?" or whether you'd say, "You dumb kid, how many times have I told you to watch where you're going?" God knows what you'd do.

God knows how you'd act if you parked your car on a hill, and you saw it suddenly start to roll down the hill. God knows how you'd act. He knows whether you'd go, "My car, my car!" or whether you'd be crazy enough to run and try to open a door and jump in a moving car.

He knows how you'd act. God knows how you'd act if he gave you another child right now. God knows how you'd act if you won the Publishers Sweepstakes, and Ed McMahon announced your name on television. God knows how you'd act if he put you in a new position of responsibility at work.

God knows everything. There isn't anything about you that God doesn't know. Isn't that what the Scripture goes on to say in verse 30? If God knows the flutter of a parakeet, surely he knows everything about you. "The very hairs of your head are all numbered.You are of more value than many sparrows." If God knows the names of stars and the tumbling of sparrows, then God knows everything about you.

God is attentive to you. God looks on you so attentively that God can tell you right now how many hairs are on your head. He keeps a running count, and this morning he subtracted a few.

This is our God's knowledge: vast, specific, personal.

God's choices are good for us.

The Scriptures would give us a very comforting thought: out of this , this detailed, this loving comes a promise of God to you. It is this: God, who knows you so well, will not put you in any situation that is more than you can handle. God, who knows everything about you, will never allow you to experience anything that is more than you can handle. God's promise to you is this: he will only bring into your life what he knows you are capable 1 Corinthians 10:13.

God's promise to you is he will not permit you to face anything beyond what he knows you can manage. Verse 13: "No temptation has overtaken you," situation has come your way, no circumstance has happened in your life, no trial has developed"but such as is common to man." Others have gone through it, others have experienced it, and God is faithful. You can count on him; he can be trusted absolutely. This is his promise: "God is faithful; he'll not allow you to be tested, to be tempted beyond what you are able. But with the temptation, with the situation, he will provide the way of escape, the way of coping, so that you will be able to endure and persevere through it."

God is faithful. He will not bring anything into your life that he does not know you can handle. God will not give you a child that is too difficult for you to raise. God will not give you a wife who is discouraged and lonely and wishing she was in some other part of the country, unless he knew that you, through love and insight and gentleness, could minister to her. God will not put you in a situation at work, with its deadlines and its pressures and its tasks and its responsibilities and the boss you have and the people that you have to work withGod will not put you in that situation unless he knew you could successfully manage it. God will not ask you to live singly unless he knew that this was best for the time being. God would not give you a neighbor that he did not know you could get along with.

You say, "Well, God's got a better opinion of me that I've got of myself." God knows you better than you know yourself, and God will not ask you to face anything that he does not know you are capable of.

I remember when this hit me with the greatest force. That God would only allow me to face those things that he knew I could successfully and sinlessly move through.

It was a couple of years after I started pastoring when it hit me. At first, there was a lot of excitement, a lot of support, a lot of "Oh, we're so glad you're here." And for the first year and a half, the church grew. But somewhere between a year and a half and two years, the excitement wore off. By then I had made some mistakes, and some of the people figured out that I was not what they thought or hoped I would be. Some expressed dissatisfaction, attendance started to go down, and I began to hear complaints or criticisms filtering back to me.

About that time I began to sense I was being compared to the former pastor, Jim Border. He is a prince of a fellow, a great guy. He had been their first pastor. He had come when the church had 80 attendees, and he had taken the church to about 500, and then God had called him to a church of several thousand in Southern California, where he is still pastoring.

They loved Jim Border. They cried when he left, and when I came, after a couple years, I began to sense I was being compared to Jim Border. "Oh, when Jim Border was here, for Vacation Bible School, we had a parade and a float through downtown." I was lucky to get a item, buried in the church page. "When Jim Border was here, our church had the highest percentages of adults enrolled in B.M.A. (Bible Memory Association). We were written up in the national magazine when Jim Border was here." The man's ghost was in the woodwork.

One day I was walking down the hall and I went by the room where the church library was, which was also where we housed our tapes, and I saw one of the leading executives of the church. "Hey Bob, what are you doing?"

"I'm checking out some of Jim Border's tapes on Romans."

"Ohokaygood." I wonder if anybody checks out my tapes? About that time I was feeling intimidated and inadequate. At that time we had on our staff an intern, a seminary student who had taken about nine months off from seminary to spend an extended internship with us. His name was Greg, and my church was Greg's home church; he had grown up in it, and so he knew the people before I knew them.

He heard things I didn't hear. One day as we were sitting around in our staff meeting, Greg turned to me, "Hey Don, I hear some of the people are talking about inviting Jim Border to come back and start up another church, and I was wondering how you would respond to that?"

I would be flattered if God thought I were capable of that. It hit me: if he came back and did that, it would only be because God knew something about me I didn't yet know about myself. If God thought Jim Border could come back in and Sunukjian would not be crushed or devastated, I was honored he had such an opinion of me.

Jim Border didn't come back. God knew I couldn't handle it.

My friends, God is faithful. God will not put you in a situation that is more than you can handle. God, who knows you, will not give you a schedule of studies and work and family that is more than you can manage. He won't do it. He is not that kind of God. God will not give you too much to do and too little time to do it. The quizzes, the papers, the readings, the hours at work, the conversations at home, the moments with the childrenthey can all fit with joy and with strength, for God only brings what he knows is possible.

As you look at your life, is there a tension, is there a frustration, is there a difficulty? Do you wonder whether the future will be good? God knows you and he knows your future, and God has promised that you will triumph. God is faithful. In his omniscience, which is without error, he only brings what he knows you can handle. Be joyful in that confidence. Be looking for God's victory. Our God is good.

Donald Sunukjian is professor of preaching at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California. He served for 14 years as senior pastor of churches in Arizona and Texas, and for 10 years taught preaching at Dallas Theological Seminary.


(c) Donald Sunukjian

Preaching Today Tape #202


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Donald R. Sunukjian is professor of homiletics and chair of the Christian Ministry and Leadership Department at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

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God Knows What He's Doing

God is worthy to be praised because he knows what he's doing, even when we don't.
Sermon Outline:

Text: Matthew 10:2931

Topic: Why it's good that God knows everything about us



  • God's knowledge is simultaneously and specific.

 God's knowledge is vast, specific and personal.

  • Vast: He numbers the stars and gives them names.

Psalms 147:4

  • Specific: He knows everything to the least detail.

Illustration: A woman buys two parakeets, brakes suddenly on the way home, the cage falls to the God will be attentive to them.

Matthew 10:29

  • Personal: He knows us better than we know ourselves.

 God's choices are good for us.

  • He won't give us more than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Illustration: Sunukjian tells of his first pastoring job, where he felt constantly compared to his predecessor, Jim Border. When he heard Border might return to start another church nearby, he felt threatened. Border didn't come back, because "God knew I couldn't handle it."



  • God brings only what in his omniscience he knows we can handle, so we can be confident in his goodness.





Sermon Outline:


God's knowledge is simultaneously all-encompassing and specific.

I. God's knowledge is vast, specific and personal.

II. God's all-knowing choices are good for us.


God brings only what in his omniscience he knows we can handle, so we can be confident in his goodness.