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DR. DAVID JEREMIAH: Is the Devil in the Details, or Is God?

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The late co-founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, was well-known (some would say notorious) for his attention to detail when it came to the design of Apple products. For example:  

  • He insisted that the inside of a Mac computer be as beautifully designed as the outside, even though no one would ever see it. 
  • It took more than two thousand beige samples before he found the right color for an early Apple computer. 
  • When he was in the hospital dying of cancer, he asked the hospital staff for five different kinds of oxygen masks so he could choose the one with the best design.

While those who worked under Jobs at Apple didn't invent the phrase, "The devil is in the details," they might as well have since Jobs stretched his employees' patience to the limit at times. On the other hand, Jobs' attention to detail set a standard for technological products that others soon began to duplicate. In that sense, "God" was in the details, and the entire industry was made better.
We hear the phrase, "The devil is in the details," often—usually as a warning. It means, "Accomplishing this project is not going to be easy. Wait until you see what's required." Pursuing details can often make the difference between good and great when it comes to excellence. 

But let's think biblically and theologically for a moment. In truth, the devil is not—indeed, cannot be—in the details. Why? Because the devil is not omniscient (all-knowing). Some people make the mistake of thinking the devil is God's opposite and equal. That is, God is good while the devil is evil. Not true! God has no equal. The devil is a created being with limits on his knowledge and power. He knows some details but not all details.  

God, on the other hand, knows all the details about His creation including you and me. There is nothing He does not know. He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere present), and omnipotent (all-powerful). 

"The devil is in the details" comes across as a warning, but "God is in the details" is the exact opposite to those who love Him. What a comfort to know that God is involved in every detail of this world. From the thoughts of a malevolent leader plotting harm against his people or another nation to a virus that may be wreaking havoc with your immune system—God knows every detail. 

As we read in Psalm 139, the psalmist David discovered that God knew where he was, what he was thinking, and what he would say before he spoke. Even if he had wanted to, David couldn't escape God's detailed concern for his life. Travel to the furthest "corner" of the universe or the deepest crevice in the ocean floor . . . God knows every detail. 

While we don't think of our life as being as complicated as the universe or our planet, in reality, it is—or at least it is to us. When we find ourselves in the middle of a complex moment in life, the details seem overwhelming. Because we can't see a way out, because we can't manage all the details, we think that God can't either.  

But He can. God is in the details of our life. Right now, at this very moment, He knows the exact status of each of your body's more than thirty trillion cells. He sees all the details of our life—our worries, our dreams, our desires, our struggles, our temptations, our victories, and our challenges. 

Again, remember the psalmist David: It was hard for him to imagine God caring about the universe and a single life at the same time. But He can, and He does (Psalm 8:3-4). 

The devil is not in the details, but God is! He is never surprised; no detail escapes His notice. You are known and loved in great detail by Him. 

Dr. David Jeremiah serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point's 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books. 

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