One of my favorite passages in Scripture is the doxology of praise Paul wrote at the end of Ephesians 3. Verses 20-21 say, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Warren Wiersbe wrote that Paul seemed to be trying to use every word at his disposal to describe God’s ability to grant all that we ask or think—He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all. He is truly the God who is able to do all these things. But I think it is interesting if we shorten that last sentence. God is able to do. We serve a living God, one who is able to do. This is in sharp contrast to the dumb idols and statues made by human hands that the Jews of old would frequently serve.
In the same city of Ephesus where Paul sent this letter, the silversmiths who made statues of the goddess Diana became furious that people were turning from Diana to Jesus because of Paul. Their business took a major hit. Their accusation against Paul was that he told people that gods made by human hands were not gods at all (Acts 19:26). On Mount Carmel the prophets of Baal realized their god could not send fire, even though Yahweh did as soon as Elijah prayed (I Kings 18).
In Isaiah 44 the prophet issued a challenge to the gods made of wood: Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear... But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless (v.19,24).” “Do something! Anything!” But obviously the false gods could not do one single thing. Our God is able to do.
He is also able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think. The Bible shows us that God has always been working through his people:
He caused the widow’s oil to never run out,
And Elijah was fed by ravens in the midst of a drought.
He gave Hannah the child for which she prayed,
And Philip to the eunuch that he might be saved.
He opened Blind Bartimaeus’ eyes,
And called Lazarus out and brought him back to life.
He made Esther the queen for such a time as this,
And rescued three boys from a fiery furnace.
He provided Ruth with a kinsman Redeemer,
And let Simeon live long enough to see the Savior.
He granted weak Samson’s dying wish,
And Jonah was spared from the mouth of a fish.
Noah was saved from a world-wide flood,
And we are saved by Jesus’ shed blood.
He made salvation possible across all races,
And seated us now in heavenly places.
So lets be people of prayer, no matter the task,
For He can do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask.