is there anything too hard for God?
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27
This verse teaches the reader to a few key concepts. First and foremost, God is the supreme ruler of all humans. That means we can’t put any other god or idol in front of him or worship him. Second, he inquires as to whether anything is too difficult for him. This suggests that there isn’t anything.
However, this may remind readers of a professor who asked, “Can God construct a rock enormous enough that he cannot move?” in Philosophy 101. Is it possible for God to do everything? In this verse, what does God imply?
We’ll look at the context and meaning of this verse to see if we can find an answer to the age-old question: Can God do anything?
What Does This Verse Mean?
In this verse, the Lord speaks to the prophet Jeremiah. In a moment, we’ll go over the big picture of what transpired in Jeremiah 32, including the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem.
According to John Gill’s Commentary, God says this line as a consolation and confidence during a tumultuous time.
Other translations of the passage, such as the Syriac, imply that nothing can stop God from fulfilling his prophesies and plans. To put it another way, nothing can derail God’s plan. Something will happen if he wishes for it too.
We must also remember Jeremiah’s life and tribulations, as he was frequently a prophet who stood alone in his faith and belief. In these words, God informs Jeremiah that he can have complete trust in Him and that his faith was not in vain.
But what happened in Jeremiah 32 that compelled him to make a frantic plea and prayer to God?
What’s Going on in Jeremiah 32?
Israel has made a significant blunder, and it is finally time it will do so. They would soon be conquered by the Babylonians and held captive for seventy years due to their disobedience, lust for other gods, and confidence in other nations such as Egypt rather than God.
Even though the Israelites will face God’s anger, God’s judgment will not remain indefinitely. God tells Jeremiah to build a field to represent the people’s return to their homeland and restoration. God mentions his power to reassure the Israelites that he wants to carry out his purpose in these passages.
Is the Meaning Affected by Translation?
As previously stated, the Syriac translation slightly modifies the meaning of the passages so that they can be used to prophecies. But how about today’s translations? Do they all have different interpretations of the verse? We’ll compare and contrast five prominent versions of the verse below.
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (KJV)
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (NIV)
“See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?” (NRSV)
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (ESV)
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (NASB)
It appears that all the modern translations of this verse are nearly identical. “Flesh” tends to mean humanity. Apart from that word, they almost copy each other word-for-word. Let’s analyze the Jewish Tanakh of this verse and the Septuagint to see if we spot any differences.
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything concealed from Me?” (Tanakh, Nevi’im, Yirmiyah)
“I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: shall anything be hidden from me!” (Septuagint)
Nothing can be hidden from God, according to these versions. The term “pala” means “very difficult” or “hidden” in Hebrew. This might indicate “fantastic,” “marvelous,” or “incomprehensible.” All Bible translations appear to accord with this verse when using this translation of the term.
- Ephesians 3:20 meaning
- With God, Nothing Is Impossible Explanation
- by his stripes we are healed meaning and full explanation
Can God Do Anything?
Let’s return to that Philosophy 101 lesson for a moment. Is there a limit to what God can do? What does omnipotence entail, exactly?
Psalm 115:3, Genesis 18:4 seem to affirm God’s all-powerful nature, but does this mean he can create a rock he can’t move? Could God, as some philosophy professors speculate, commit suicide?
People tend to miss out on the genuine definition of omnipotence when they ask questions like this.
First and foremost, we must consider God’s character. God is just and holy. According to John M. Frame of the Gospel Coalition, this means he can’t lie or commit “any immoral conduct.” Some would claim that this results in an omnipotence contradiction.
However, as Roger Patterson of Answers in Genesis explains, he would no longer be God if God lied.
Second, we must realize that God created physical rules that govern the cosmos to answer nonsensical questions like “can God construct a square circle?” When we ask God to make a rock, he can’t lift a square circle. We’re asking him to deviate from the laws he established in our universe.
Furthermore, it appears to be a bit of an unreasonable request for God to act in ways that are inconsistent with his character, such as generating contradictions.
Check out this Gospel Coalition post to counter Hume’s beliefs on miracles if you think he did inconsistencies when he performed miracles.
In light of this, we consider God’s omnipotence to be power over the universe and the power that keeps it going. We have life in him and through him. God maintains his character and does not act in a way that contradicts it because he wouldn’t be God if he did.
How Can We Trust God with Even Our Big Problems?
We can put our heavier difficulties in God’s hands since we know he is bigger than them. Whatever temptations or challenges we experience, we can put them in God’s hands and trust that he has a plan for us even when we are in sorrow, grief, or frustration.
God creates a secure haven for us, a fortress, by his might.
As we see in the Jeremiah passage, nothing is too complex or hidden from God. Satan will not be able to devise a strategy to circumvent God’s plan. Before they can accomplish anything, even demons must first get permission (Luke 22:31).
Indeed, if God possesses ultimate power, we can put our faith in him to solve even the most difficult of issues.
We Serve an Omnipotent God
As we can see in Jeremiah 32:27, the Israelites badly needed something to hope for and look forward to while the Babylonians demolished their city and took them captive. God promises the prophet and his people that he will return them to their homeland and that not even the Babylonians would be able to stop him.
As we learned, omnipotence means God has absolute power and can sustain everything in the universe, but he still acts following his character. He would not be God if he went against his nature or contradicted himself.
Similarly, we know we have an omnipotent God who is bigger than our troubles when life overwhelms us.