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Isaiah: Prince of Prophets—a Solitary God

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A few years ago, I head a Pastor at an Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting say, “God created us so that He could love us and that we might return love to Him. Reverently speaking, God was lonely. He wanted someone to love and someone who would love Him.” He received applause and a goodly number of ‘Amens’. I thought, “Oh my.” Oh my that he would say such a thing and Oh my that so many Baptists would enthusiastically respond the way they did.

It sounded so, so ... well, so biblical. After all, God is love and He loves His creation. It’s a sentiment that preaches well. However, the man was just flat-out wrong! Sermons like this may preach well, but they do not represent a biblical understanding of the character of the One true and Triune-God. God is not lonely. God has never been lonely. God will never be lonely. The Triune Godhead—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—three Persons, co-equal; co-eternal; co-existing—are never found wanting, inadequate, or in need, in any manner whatsoever. We were not created to satisfy God's "lonely" feelings. To suggest so, is to suggest that God is less than God; it is to suggest that God was, without His creation, somehow incomplete, or lacking, or deficient in some way until He made us.

This sentimentalism unwittingly redefines God in a way that God has not defined Himself through the Scriptures. When any of us try to redefine God according to our emotional perceptions, we end up distorting a right view of who He is. It is tantamount to taking His name in vain. Of this we must be very careful. How can anyone really think that the omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign God who is sitting above the vault of the earth, with the universe full of His glory, existing from all eternity past, is pining away for our fellowship. Surely not.

God is lacking nothing in His person; He is complete and did not make us because He needed us. We are made for His pleasure, according to His purpose, for His glory, which He determines after the council of His own will--not ours (Eph. 1:4-14). As we will see from our text, we were made for His glory; not to satisfy His unmet need of loneliness.

The passage teaches us about a solitary God, who calls a solitary people, with a solitary message, for a solitary purpose.


    • “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” (Isaiah 43:10, NIV84)
    • “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2, NIV84)
            1. throughout this passage we see the solitariness of God on display
                1. solitariness is an attribute of God that teaches us that God is self-existing and self-sufficient
                    1. He needs no one and He needs nothing
                    2. He is complete in Himself
                2. in v. 10 God says of Himself “I am He,” and “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me”
                    1. this declaration harkens back to God’s introduction of Himself to Moses as “I Am who I Am”
                    2. the triune Godhead asserts that there were no gods before Him and there will be no gods after Him
                    3. every time God says I Am He’s asserting that they ain’t referring to other gods

*ILLUS. Most of you here tonight know the story of Naaman. He was the commander of the army of the king of Syria in the time of Elisha. Having learned of the miracle-performing reputation of the prophet from a captured Israelite girl who waited on his wife, Naaman resolved to go to Israel to seek a cure for his leprosy. He obtained permission from his king, who gave him a letter for the king of Israel asking that Naaman be healed. When Elisha heard of Naaman’s plight, he summoned Naaman to his house. When he arrived, Elisha didn’t even come to the door himself, but sent instructions through a servant that Naaman should go and dip himself in the Jordan seven times. At first Naaman, who had expected the prophet to heal him in person, was angry and disappointed, retorting that Damascus had its own rivers that were better than any in Israel. Finally, however, his servants persuaded him to follow Elisha’s instructions. He washed in the Jordan and was healed, whereupon he returned to Elisha and vowed to sacrifice to no god but Yahweh. The experience brings Naaman to the realization that there really are no other gods then the God who had revealed Himself to Hebrews.

                      • “Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.” (2 Kings 5:15, NIV84)
            1. the God of the Bible is not just one god among many gods vying for the attention of mortal men
                1. the great truth of the Scriptures is that the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who spoke through Israel’s prophets is the true God of the universe, because He is the only God of the universe
            2. God has repeatedly expressed Himself through the mouth of Isaiah and of other faithful prophets, that He who speaks to them is the I AM, the one who is, the existing, true, actual God
                1. v. 8 begins God’s challenge to His people to acclaim Yahweh alone as their true God
                  • “Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.” (Isaiah 43:8, NIV84)
                2. in their recent history, Israel has been blind to the blessings of God and deaf to the voice of God as He has spoken through the Prophets
                    1. their hearts had turned to idols and false gods which always leads to spiritual blindness and spiritual deafness
                3. now God challenges them to come forward and testify that only He, the Lord, could have accomplished the things in Israel’s history that have taken place
                    1. in particular their great deliverance from the hands of the Egyptians so many generations before
                    2. their miraculous preservation during their wandering years
                    3. their conquest of the Promised Land
                4. idols and false gods could not have done such great works on behalf of Israel
                5. Yahweh is the solitary God who chose to reveal himself to a special people


    • "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11, NIV84)
            1. the Book of Genesis begins succinctly /“In the beginning, God ... “
                1. there was a time—for lack of a better way to express it—when the Triune Godhead dwelt all alone
                    1. in the beginning there were no heavens to declare His wonders
                    2. in the beginning there was no earth to engage His attention
                    3. in the beginning there were no angels to herald His glory
                    4. in the beginning there was no universe to be upheld by the word of His power
                2. there was nothing, no one, but God who is from everlasting to everlasting
                    1. in eternity past, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing
                    2. He was not lonely in His solitariness
                3. this is, I admit, a hard concept for us to grapple with
                    1. everything that we see, smell, hear, taste or touch has origins
                    2. we can hardly think in any other way
                    3. everything we observe must have a cause adequate to explain it
                    4. for many, this is even the basis for their belief in God—Everything comes from something; consequently, there must be a ‘great something’ that stands behind everything
                    5. cause and effect point men to God—this is Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18-25—however cause and effect is not enough since God cannot be known and evaluated like other things can
                      • ILLUS. This is one reason why science and philosophy have not always been friendly toward the idea of God. These disciplines are dedicated to the task of accounting for things as we know them and are therefore impatient with anything that refuses to give an account of itself. If it cannot be scrutinized by rational thought or investigated through experimentation it must not be real.
                    6. this is nothing new
                      • “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV84)
                4. who is like you the Psalmist muses—you who is majestic in His holiness, who is awesome in His glory, and who works wonders of unimaginable power
                    1. it’s a rhetorical question with an obvious answer—no one is like the Lord
                    2. had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, He would not and could not be God
            2. God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create
                1. that He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure
                2. the Apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians that God “... works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Ephesians 1:11, NIV84)
            3. that He did create was simply for the manifestation of His own glory “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:7, NIV84)
                1. God is solitary in His excellency ...


    • “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:23–25, ESV)
            1. must believers worship God in Spirit and in Truth and serve Him in obedience?
                1. absolutely
                2. we were created to glorify God in our worship of Him and fellowship with Him
            2. does our worship of and service to add anything to God?
                1. absolutely not
                2. had God so pleased He could have continued alone for all eternity, without making known His glory to His creatures and been completely blessed in Himself
                  • “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?” (Isaiah 40:15–18, NIV84)
                  • “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.” (Isaiah 40:22–23, NIV84)
            3. God does what He pleases and what He does pleases Him
                1. long before the first creature was called into existence, God was perfectly blessed in Himself—He finds pleasure in Himself
                2. God is solitary in His majesty, unique in His excellency, and peerless in his perfections
                3. God sustains all, but is Himself independent of all
                4. He gives to all, but is enriched by none
            4. God is solitary in His character which means that God is self-existing and self-sufficient


    • “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:7, NIV84)
    • "You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” (Isaiah 43:10, ESV)
            1. Isaiah reminds Israel that they are a solitary people—the people of God
                1. in v. 7 God, referring specifically to Israel, says whom I created for my glory
                2. in v. 10 God gets even more specific referring to Israel as my servant whom I have chosen
            2. in a deliberate act of grace, God chose one man and gave him a promise that from him would come a nation as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand of the seashore
                1. that people would become His chosen people—the Church of the Old Testament


    • “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6–8, NIV84)
    • “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” (Isaiah 41:8–9, NIV84)
            1. election is an act of choice whereby God picks an individual or group out of a larger company for a purpose or destiny of his own appointment
                1. Israelite faith was founded on the belief that Israel was God’s chosen people
                2. His choice of Israel is witnessed in two connected events
                    1. He chose Abraham and his seed, by taking Abraham out of Ur and bringing him to the promised land of Canaan, making there an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants, and promising him that his seed should be a blessing to all the earth
                    2. He chose Abraham’s seed by redeeming them from slavery in Egypt, bringing them out of bondage under Moses, and renewing the Abrahamic covenant with them at Sinai
            2. the reason for Israel’s election is found in Deut. 7:6-8
                1. God’s love to Israel was spontaneous and free, having no cause save his own good pleasure
                2. He made Israel his delight and satisfaction to do Israel good
            3. the goal of Israel’s election was three-fold
                1. 1st, the blessing and salvation of the people through God’s separating them for himself (Ps. 33:12)
                2. 2nd, the demonstration of God’s own glory through Israel’s showing forth his praise to the world
                3. 3rd, Israel was to be a witness of the great things God has done—particularly of his promise to send the Anointed One
            4. God is still has an Elect people—Spiritual Israel—which we call it His Church
              • “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:28–29, NIV84)
                1. the Apostle Paul reminds us that non-Jews who have faith in Christ, are like a branch from a wild olive tree grafted into a domestic olive tree
                  • Rom. 11:17-24
                2. that Church is made up of people from every nation and ethnic group
                  • “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:8–9, NIV84)
            5. God has one solitary people and they are the Elect from every age


    • “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11, NIV84)
    • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV84)
            1. God’s pronouncement here is very clear—no one saves men who are lost in sin but Him
                1. men need a Savior and He is it
            2. in the Gospel of John, Jesus the Son of God reiterated the exclusivity of the Gospel
              • “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV84)
              • ILLUS. Just last month Kirby Godsey, Chancellor of Mercer University released his newest book entitled: Is God a Christian? In it he laments the wide-spread belief among Evangelical Christians that Christianity is the one and only religion that is God-inspired and that carries the imprimatur of God’s blessing. Godsey opposes that assumption and argues that “the stakes for mankind have grown too high for any of us to engage our faith as if our understanding of God represents the only way God’s presence may be known in the world.” He insists that all the world’s religions must be seen as equals before God.
                1. the church has historically taught the exclusivity of the Gospel, because God demands the exclusivity of the Gospel
                2. unfortunately, it’s doctrine that more and more denominations and more and more Christians seem more than willing to sacrifice on the alar of political correctness
            3. the Gospel is unique ... It is distinct ... It is exclusive
                1. the reality of the Gospel is that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3), that He and He alone is, “The way, and the truth, and the life”
                2. clearly, “no one comes to the Father,” unless they come through an informed, deliberate and calculated decision to believe exclusively in Christ and Christ alone as the only way to salvation
                3. this is the Word of the Lord—not some plan the church has concocted to keep people out
            4. the Gospel of Christ is a solitary salvation


            1. v. 7 gives us the solitary purpose for our Election unto Salvation
                1. everyone who is called by His name was created for His glory
            2. we are to be witnesses of this great truth
                1. twice in this passage—v. 10 & v. 12—God say, you are my witnesses
                2. what are we witnesses of?
                    1. that a solitary God, has called a solitary people, with a solitary message, for a solitary purpose
                3. through the Prophet Isaiah, God is telling us, “ye who witness for me must witness to the truthfulness of what I have said and done, and thus, it is evident that I am God, the One who is absolutely Powerful”

The central truth of this passage come down to this: God is complete in and off Himself. He needs no one and he needs nothing. We, on the other hand, are incomplete until we have God in our lives because we need Him and all that He can provide His children.

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