Constructed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Hoover Dam is 726 feet high, 45 feet thick at the top, and 660 feet at its bottom. At the time of completion, it was the largest dam project in the world—with more than 20,000 men laboring to build it. The structure is taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Sitting behind Hoover Dam’s massive structure is the pent-up energy of Lake Mead. The largest reservoir in the United States, it reaches almost 110 miles upstream toward the Grand Canyon and varies in width from several hundred feet to a maximum of eight miles. It is capable of holding 9.2 trillion gallons of water—or about two years’ worth of flow from the Colorado River, enough water to cover the state of Pennsylvania to a depth of one foot.
Ever pushing at the surface of Hoover Dam, the pressure of so much water (45,000 pounds per square foot at its base) is yearning to break free. If released suddenly, the surging water would wreak havoc and devastate anything caught in its path as it rushed downstream. So much unbridled and uncontrolled water would do untold damage, and change the topography along the Colorado River for years to come.
When harnessed, the voluminous water is put to productive use. The entire flow of the Colorado River begins its descent through the huge water intakes just behind the dam. Reaching speeds of about 85 mph, the water plunges with driving force through ever-narrowing passages toward the dam’s powerhouse and its 17 two-story turbine generators. The force of the rushing water spins the gigantic generators, producing enough electricity—more than four billion kilowatt hours in a year—to serve the needs of 1.3 million people! This electricity supplies thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses, directly affecting people’s lives.
Incredible energy is put to useful work!
Quest for Power
Through the ages, man has sought power. Sometimes believing he can be his fellowman’s benefactor, he has used force to take the reins of leadership. Exerting his control over nations and peoples, at times with the aid of military might, man brings his vision of the way things ought to be.
Endless wars and political struggles have resulted from men wielding power. Far too often, the work produced from such misuse has been anything but good. This kind of authority in the hands of man has resulted in upheaval, death, destruction, shattered lives, destroyed buildings, and devastated landscapes.
Captains of industry also use their executive influence to lead large corporations. They bring needed goods and services to the populace to make their lives more comfortable, happy and carefree.
Yet those to whom these products are marketed remain unhappy. Desiring the next new labor-saving device or technological trinket, they become frustrated and stressed from the pursuit of money and its power to purchase.
In addition, executives guiding worldwide businesses endlessly chase more market share with the hope of gaining increased wealth and position for their companies and themselves.
Man has also harnessed the power of the elements. Water is stored behind dams for the production of electricity. Winds captured in ships’ sails have propelled them across the expanse of mighty oceans, and been used to turn the arms of windmill generators.
Fossil fuels have been used to heat homes, fire the furnaces of steel plants, propel trains, trucks, airplanes and automobiles, and send rockets soaring into space.
We have captured the energy of the sun and the force of ocean waves—and unleashed the incredible force of the atom for peaceful purposes and to wage the deadliest forms of war.
Our quest for new power sources—and ways to use them to produce work—is seemingly endless. Power and the work performed with it have brought dramatic changes, both good and bad, to our environment and the way we live. For many, it is available at our fingertips, and few give it much, if any, thought.
However these various forms of power, whether used for the benefit of man or to bring devastation through the crucible of war, are utterly useless to produce the kind of work necessary to change who and what we are.
The Power of God
God’s Word has much to say about power. In the King James Version, the word power is found 260 times. Psalm 62:11 declares, “God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongs unto God.”
Think about this scripture for a moment. God says He owns power—all of it.
But what does God do with it? Jesus Christ said, “My Father works hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).
It is impossible to truly comprehend how great—how awesome—is the power of God. But we can get a glimpse: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they [those who will not believe in a supreme God] are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
The physical things that God has brought into existence help us understand His incredible strength. By taking time to contemplate Creation, we can begin to realize the magnitude of His power and works: “He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by His discretion” (Jer. 10:12).
The ocean waves we harness for energy were set in motion by God. The wind that spins the blades of generators, the water stored behind all the dams on Earth, the carbon-based fuels we use—all were created by God.
By day, the sun brings warmth to Earth and its inhabitants, and at night it illuminates the moon. The sun is essentially a continuous chain of nuclear explosions—a giant thermonuclear reactor of incomprehensible power! It was created by the hand of God long before man split the atom. The electricity generated from a thousand Lake Meads driving 17,000 generators pales in comparison.
In the hands of God, nuclear energy is used only for good. He has carefully regulated the burning inferno of our sun so that it gives just the right amount of heat for life to exist on Earth. But in the hands of man—who is driven by lust, greed and selfishness—this power has the potential to erase all life from the planet!
And the sun is just one star in our galaxy of 300 billion stars. There are said to be billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars—some 1,000 times the size of our sun!
The power throughout the universe is almost inconceivable to mortal man. The next time you look up on a clear starry night, ponder the magnificence of what is present. Then consider that God made the universe by His own might: “Praise you Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all you stars of light. Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever…” (Psa. 148:3-6).
Mindful of the limitless power and glory of his Maker, King David was inspired to record, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge” (19:1-2).
Power Offered to Us
David lived long before we gained the technical knowledge used today to produce energy in its many forms. He would have been familiar with the size of Egypt’s pyramids, but would undoubtedly marvel at the sight of the Hoover Dam. Imagine trying to explain to him the workings of the turbines churning out electricity. Would he be able to comprehend?
He certainly understood there is a Great Creator God who is to be worshipped, respected and obeyed. He understood that God’s majesty was clearly seen in the universe. Awestruck at such a sight and understanding how insignificant he was in comparison, David uttered these thoughtful words: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You visit him?” (Psa. 8:3-4).
Yet David knew God’s purpose for creating man and His desire to share His great power with him. “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (vs. 5-6).
Our destiny is to share in the great sovereignty of God—but we must first qualify. For this to happen, our nature must be changed. God will not give us such awesome power in His kingdom unless we have first developed His nature—holy, righteous, perfect character. Only this kind of character can be completely trusted with such authority.
Of our own selves, we are utterly helpless to change our carnal human nature—to rid ourselves of vanity, jealousy, lust and greed—to overcome attitudes of competition, strife and self-seeking. On our own, we cannot qualify. But our loving Creator stands ready to help.
At the end of His time on Earth, Jesus Christ promised His disciples they would receive power—the very power used to create the universe. Shortly before He ascended into heaven, He spoke these words: “And behold, I send the promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
That promise was kept. On the day of Pentecost, AD 31, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
That power is also available to us!
Having repented and been baptized, and through the laying on of hands, we received a measure of “the Spirit…of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7).
By putting God’s Spirit to work in our daily lives, we can overcome the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) and replace them with the works of righteousness (Psa. 119:172). We have the ability to bring forth the fruits of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22-23). We have within us the very power of God and Christ working to change who and what we are—to remove our vile human nature and develop the character of God in us.
We have received the love of God and the ability to love Him. And love for God is keeping His commandments (Rom. 13:10; I John 5:3).
Looking into the night sky and beholding what awaited him, David fully understood this: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psa. 19:7-11).
God rules the universe and regulates His power through His immutable law of love. Before we can gain entrance into His kingdom (I Cor. 4:20), we must demonstrate unwavering loyalty and obedience to that Law.
The Creator observes us throughout our lives, and while we have little real strength, He watches to see how we live. He needs to know whether we will keep even the smallest point of His Law, no matter the difficulty or seriousness of a trial. Only then can He be sure we will correctly use the authority He grants us.
Through the Holy Spirit, Christ overcame Satan and the pulls of the flesh. He was obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. Jesus Christ had the authority to say, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).
Christ is currently sitting at the right hand of the power of God (I Pet. 3:22; Luke 22:69). He tells us, “…he that overcomes [as He overcame], and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power…” (Rev. 2:26) and he will “sit with Me in My throne” (3:21).
Stir up God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in you (II Tim. 1:6). Like the waters of Lake Mead flowing through Hoover Dam’s electricity-producing turbines, let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you (John 7:38-39). Flip the switch—push the button—turn the key. Put it to work in your life every day. It is freely available. All you need to do is ask.
Use this power to make positive, life-lasting changes. Use it to do the work of building God’s character within you. Then you will qualify to enter into the kingdom of God and receive even more awesome power.