Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Lord's Incomparability (Part V)

"It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth." (Isaiah 40:22-26)

Probably staring at the horizon's obviously circular nature, Isaiah pictures the Lord enthroned on the rim of the heavens. Below, the inhabitants are no more intimidating to God than a grasshopper is to a man. The illustration of the insect does not imply that God is unconcerned about mankind but that mankind has no manipulative power over God.

As the curtains of a tent enclose its inhabitants, the heavens enclose the earth. Beneath are found the rulers of society - the princes and the judges and the kings. Each has his false god made from a tree stock. The Lord promises that this false deity will not take root. Just as a tree trunk that has been hewn down will not suddenly grow into the earth when it is placed on the ground, the false gods of men will not suddenly gain redemptive powers, or powers of any kind, simply because they have been fashioned by the creative powers of men. Were it not for God's goodness, men would have no creative abilities at all. It is the Lord which has given humanity the ability to form and to build; and in his ingratitude, mankind has used such gifts for blasphemy. The presence of these things in Israel's society is likely to what Paul was referring when he wrote...

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things (Romans 1:21-23).

The Lord reminds mankind that He knows the stars by name. God told Job that it is He Who "maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south (Job 9:9)." Astronomers are bewildered at the immensity of the universe. Stars are being discovered everyday with no end of them in sight; yet God knows the names and numbers of the stars.

"Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not 
faint." (Isaiah 40:27-31)

God can do the impossible. "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)." Israel could not redeem herself from the Assyrians, nor would she be able to deliver herself from the Babylonians. She could not and cannot pardon her own sins, yet God can do all these things. The Lord encourages His people not to assume that they have been forgotten by God. They are not to discount His promises of redemption as though their future judgment and deliverance have been somehow overlooked. God's Spirit is able to bring conviction and understanding that life is found through belief in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. God can do the impossible. Israel's strength failed her in the past and it will continue to fail her, but God's strength does not fail. The one that comes to true faith in Jesus Christ will find the spiritual strength for which every man longs.

Dependence upon one's own strength and wisdom is foolish because even the most youthful and energetic individual will find his strength exhausted. True strength is not found in physical health and wellbeing but in the spiritual security of making God one's own Savior. In the millennial kingdom, Israel will realize the full potential of this promise. Renewed by faith in the Messiah, the Jews will finally acknowledge the spiritual strength and peace of a faith founded in the righteousness of Jehovah.

The Lord has no comparison. He is the Creator of all things. The Babylonians were coming upon Judah and Jerusalem because of sin; yet, God's promises stand fast. The true believer in the LORD'S righteousness could be encouraged by these prophecies of Isaiah, and the Lord's incomparable power will bring full deliverance and renewal to the Israeli nation at the return of Jesus Christ the Lord.

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