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The Omnipotence of God – Isaiah 40

Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church April 22, 2007

 

Not many centuries ago, as far as the observable universe was concerned, man firmly believed that the Earth was central and stationary, while a little Sun, moon, and other tiny heavenly bodies were orbiting around us.  That’s how it looked from our natural perspective and from our ignorance.  Of course, now we know that an enormous blazing fiery ball we call the Sun is really at the center of the solar system, and that our relatively tiny planet is just one of many going around this immense Sun.  The more we learned about our galaxy and surrounding neighborhoods of galaxies the more we realized we are just one microscopic speck in a universe bigger than anyone ever imagined or thought.  We may never know how big the universe is. 

What was true in astronomy is also true in philosophy and theology - the human race naturally thinks we’re at the center and focus of everything.  We are so man-centered and self-centered, we think everything is about us.  Even as Christians we may think that Jesus came to earth and did all these things primarily just for us, and that God’s focus and central goal is me, and we may not say it this way, but we see God as man-centered.  But as we’ve seen in past weeks, God is utterly God-centered and scriptures say over and over that He does everything ultimately and primarily for His own glory, to magnify and display the manifold dazzling splendor of His name, attributes and character. The chief end of God is to glorify God. He is more committed to His name and His glory than He is to you.  He commands us in the Ten Commandments to not put anything before God and He practices what He preaches in putting nothing before Himself (Get CD on glory of God or read it online to see those Scriptures). This is not new or an unusual teaching.

The older theologians almost unanimously make the glory of God the ultimate, and the good of the creature the subordinate end of all things … There is a great difference whether the earth or the sun be assumed as the centre of our solar system. If we make the earth the centre, our astronomy will be in confusion. And if we make the creature, and not God, the end of all things, our theology and religion will in like manner be perverted. (Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:436)

Well, what I want to do today is to continue to put God back in the center of our universe.  I don’t want my thinking or theology or religion to be perverted or warped, and I don’t want yours to be, so I make no apologies if this message makes much of God and not us

When Psalm 19 launches into talking about how the heaven’s declare the glory of God, the prime illustration it gives there of God’s glory is the Sun as it rises and sets and shines and warms and glorifies God every day without exception or delay, it is on center stage, like a powerful or mighty runner fulfilling its end.

God and His glory needs to be like the Sun, uppermost in our thinking and focus, around which all other planets and pursuits revolve.  Greater than any mighty runner from Psalm 19, our Almighty God, with omnipotent dominating and directing force, this infinite immeasurably big God needs to be in the middle.  God is already the blazing center and consuming fire that controls everything whether our ignorance recognizes it or not, but I hope we can take our naturally man-focused thinking and put our every thought in orbit around a God who is so much bigger than all of us combined can think or even imagine. 

One pastor has pointed out that about 99% of all the matter in our solar system is found in our Sun.  All of the planets, moons, asteroids, and energy combined is barely a fraction of that Sun, and the gravitational pull and sheer immensity and power of that supreme star guides everything invincibly.  The pastor went on to talk about having a view of God so awesome and so massive that everything in your life revolves around God irresistibly.   I can’t say that I’m there yet, but man, do I want to be – and I invite you to join me in looking at what Isaiah 40 has to say about putting God and His glory at the center of our spiritual solar system, in the middle of our universes, so to speak.  How can we have that view of such an immense and great God, that all our problems put together seem so tiny in comparison?  I hope this message will at least be a start in helping us get a bigger perspective of a God who is so massive and dominating that every thing else in our life (work, family, finances, marriage, health, worry, trials, relationships) should revolve around HIM at just the right distance, balance, and in perfect harmony.  

Isaiah 40 was written to people who had lost focus on this view of God.  They had let other things drift towards the center, so the blazing and glorious Sun (God) burned up those other things with consuming fire.  They trusted in themselves, in human leaders, in even pagan nations and their idols, and God destroys and annihilates all of those false sources of comfort in this section.

READ VERSES 9-26

Verse 26 calls them to take their eyes off all those other things and lift them up and their thoughts to the grand and bigger picture of what awesome God is doing and has done. This section has been introduced as where ‘Isaiah looks some 100 years into the future into a time when the Jews will be conquered by the Babylonians and carried off into captivity for some 70 years. They will be living in a foreign land and they will be subject to foreign kings, they will be surrounded by idolaters and all kinds of false gods on every side. In order to strengthen the soul and the faith of the people of God as they will be living in decadent days, Isaiah brings this message in chapter 40 to pull back the curtain and to unveil for the people of God the matchless and infinite sovereignty of our God who rules and reigns over all.’ (Lawson, GCC tape 15 LAW-1)

I use the word “omnipotent” (omni – all; potent – power) which means that God is all powerful, His strength is unlimited or infinite, or to use a common biblical term, God is ALMIGHTY

This passage displays God’s Almighty power over four areas:

God is Almighty over SALVATION (v. 9-11)

                                    CREATION (v. 12-14)

                                    NATIONS (v. 15-20)

                                    ALL (v. 21-26)

                                   

1.      God is Almighty over salvation, v. 9-11

Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”

 

The good news of the gospel is revealed more clearly in Isaiah than in any other Old Testament book.  Some have called Isaiah “the little Bible” because it has all the great doctrines, and 66 chapters to match the 66 books. The first 39 chapters epitomize the 39 books of the Old Testament, and its message of God’s holiness and judgment for sin.  Everyone agrees chapters 40-66 mark the second half of the book (see 40:1), and it is where comfort and salvation is most clearly revealed. And the number of chapters in the 2nd half matches the number of books in the N.T.  The 3rd verse of this chapter begins with a voice crying in the wilderness, and that’s also how the 3rd chapter of the first book in the N.T. (Matthew) begins, with John the Baptist fulfilling this prophecy as a voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord.

Notice the call in Isaiah 40:9 to Zion and Jerusalem to herald this gospel, this good news. Jerusalem of course did begin to fulfill this call as bearer of the gospel on the day of Pentecost. Jesus had taught his disciples to be like a light on a hilltop which cannot be hidden, and it was from Jerusalem on that day that Peter did lift up his voice without fear to proclaim about the Sovereign Almighty God who gave His Son to die, and about that Supreme Savior who rose again – “Here is your God” – Jesus is both Lord and Christ and demands you repent and be baptized in His name.

Behold your God ‘The interjection arrests the attention, drawing it to the message itself. The cities of Judah are stopped, as it were, that they might see their God before them … In these words is found the heart of the Gospel, “the sum of our happiness,” as Calvin puts it, “which consists solely in the presence of God.” This is the great theme of the remainder of the prophecy; it is the very center of the Gospel. If we have not God, we have nothing; and if we have Him, we have all things.’ (E.J. Young, 3:38)

 

10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him.

Might - Fifty-six times the Bible declares that God is the almighty one (and this word is used of no one but God, cf. Rev 19:6).

What do we mean when we say “Almighty” or “omnipotent”?

“God is all-powerful and able to do whatever he wills. [Within] his nature, God can do everything that is in harmony with his perfections.” [Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 82.] In other words, the question, “Can God create a stone so large that He could not lift it?” is not a legitimate question. God can do all things that are in harmony with His nature and Person.

… Because God is Almighty, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) … [He] can do all things; nothing is too hard for Him. He does as He pleases (Ps. 115:3) and decrees all things in accordance with His will (Eph. 1:11). God cannot do things that are not in harmony with His nature. He cannot go back on His word (2 Tim. 2:13); He cannot lie (Heb. 6:18); He has no relationship to sin (Hab. 1:13; James 1:13). – Moody Handbook of Theology, 195

 

His arm ruling -Isaiah mentions God’s arm far more than any other prophet, and it represents personal strength in action. God’s strong arm is directed by God’s will, it’s not limited by man’s will.

Stephen Charnock: The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve … Without power His mercy would be but feeble pity, His promises an empty sound, His threatenings a mere scarecrow. God’s power is like Himself: infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; it can neither be checked, restrained, nor frustrated by the creature.

A friend of mine was in a church that didn’t believe this truth (Arminian-Wesleyan church that really taught against a high view of God’s sovereignty and power) and his pastor actually said from the pulpit one time: “God doesn’t have the guts to interfere with man’s ‘free will.’”
My friend soon left that church not only because that seemed a little off (if not blasphemous) but through Scripture he understood that his salvation and anything good in his life was not due to his human will, but was due to God’s will intervening in his human sinful will, working in his heart long before he ever came to faith, even choosing him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). God not only knows the end, He decrees or declares the end from the beginning, and God’s will and pleasure won’t be thwarted

Isaiah 46:9-10 (NASB95)
9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

When I called this section “God is Almighty over salvation” in our outline, it’s because one of the greatest illustrations of God’s surpassing power is in salvation and life-giving regeneration

Ephesians 1:19 - [I pray that you may know] what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20
which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion …

And the illustration of this power Paul then gives is that “you were dead in your trespasses and sins … But God … made you alive” (Eph. 2). When we were powerless, God’s power initiated. We were dead, depraved, hopeless and helpless, doing nothing, but God’s  resurrecting power and sovereign grace gave us life and faith.  Our will and faith was involved to be sure, but we did not get spiritually resurrected because we responded (on our own), we responded because we were resurrected (given spiritual life).  His love caused ours.

Isaiah 45:7 & 9 (NASB95)
7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.
… 9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’

We may not always understand all the details about how God’s sovereign power works in relation to human responsibility or even evil, but part of what we need to remember is that we are the clay and God is the potter – our clay mind is infinitely less capable than the Divine Potter’s.

Rather than deny what God’s Word sys or argue that it’s not fair, we need to recognize His right and power and justice and goodness and trust what He says. Even if our small minds have a hard time figuring it all out, our omnipotent God doesn’t, and we must not deny His power or sovereignty.


Isaiah 43:12-13 (NASB95)
12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And I am God.
13 “Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” [Can Satan or man reverse God’s hand?]

A.W. Pink writes that many think God’s ‘omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side … They openly declare that whatever power [God] possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s “free will” and reduce him to a “machine.” They lower the all-efficacious Atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere “remedy,” which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to … The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of [Scripture] than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun … A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt. (Attributes of God, 28-29)

 

Now in verse 11, notice the same strong arm of God in verse 10 is also what keeps them saved and secure and gives assurance.  This is not just power but personal protective loving nuturing strength. 

11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

Notice that with great power comes great security for those in His care.  This is an example of the “comfort” that verse 1 describes. True biblical comfort does not come from sentimental thoughts about God, or just dwelling on His love, it comes in the midst of anything when we exalt our thoughts about God, lifting up God, recognizing His matchless and infinite strength and knowing that the omnipotence that terrifies His enemies, also tenderly cares for His own.

‘This shepherd excercises general care (tends his flock), is watchful for particular needs (gathers the lambs) and identifies with concerns within the flock (those that are young) [“the nursing ewes” in NASB] … Close to his heart is “in his bosom,” symbolizing intimate, loving care.’ (Alec Motyer, 302). Our Almighty Savior is also the Almighty Shepherd who makes sure that all of His sheep will be saved, not even one of ninety-nine can be lost; He seeks and saves His own.

2.      God is Almighty over creation, v. 12-14

 

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales?

The obvious answer is God and God alone.  Every child in this room knows that God is the only one who can do these things. 

Remember that Isaiah is speaking to people who were trusting in things other than God.  And there’s nothing higher than the universe to appeal to in demonstrating the folly of this. 

Mark Dever asks us who or what are you trusting in?

‘We are God’s special people, and we are often tempted, individually and corporately, to put our trust in the wrong things … What will time reveal in your life about what you are trusting in? What about the church? Many churches hope in many things other than God. Is it music? Is it growth? In our culture, growing numbers – written figures – can be idols much more easily than carved figures. Do we assume that as long as the number of people walking through the door on Sunday mornings increases we must be doing the right thing? What is the church tempted to trust in … As Christians, we must trust the gospel of Jesus Christ alone. There’s finally no pastor you can have, no building renovations you can undergo, no certain programs that you can adopt, that will be worthy of your trust. God alone is worthy of your trust. And that’s exactly what Isaiah goes on to say.’ (Promises Made, 574-75).

‘God alone has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, but He Himself is unmeasurable. He who has measured the creation cannot be meased by the creation.’ (Young, 3:44)

  • \\ 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him?*

Sometimes we use the expression “don’t try and play the role of the Holy Spirit” in someone’s life.  This is about trying to play Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit Himself!  Which of you is personal counselor to God’s Spirit?  Does God seek an advisor and your wisdom before He makes a decision?  Does God have strategy sessions in heaven or business meetings to determine what direction to take?  Is God looking for a 4th member of the Trinity?  You need to stay in your place, and keep God in His place.

The Babylonians would soon conquer Israel and there may be a sacrastic allusion to the Babylonian myth that their creator god Marduk could not proceed with creation without first consulting “Ea”

  • \\ 14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?*

Sounds a lot like God’s speech in Job 38


4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,
5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?
6 “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,
… 12 “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place,
… 16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 “Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 “Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.
… 32 “Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?
33 “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you?
35 “Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 “Who has put wisdom in the innermost being Or given understanding to the mind?
37 “Who can count the clouds by wisdom?
… 40:9 “Or do you have an arm like God, And can you thunder with a voice like His?
14 “Then I will also confess to you, That your own right hand can save you.

Man’s right hand cannot save himself or do anything, God’s right arm is source of all power.

3.      God is Almighty over nations, v. 15-17

15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

The “islands” is a word including large land-masses – God can lift up the seven continents as if they were specks of finest dust.

All the great nations together (Egyptians, Assryians, Babylonians, later the Greeks, Romans –British, American, Russian, Chinese, etc.) are like a little drop in a bucket, or like the fine and tiny dust that is so infinitesimal, inconsequential, insignificant.

‘how can a drop splashing from a bucket limit him who measures the seas in his hollow hand (12)? How can the dust wiped from a scales influence him who lifts islands as thouth they were fine dust?’ (Motyer, 304)

  • \\ 16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.*

The world is not enough.  The biggest bonfire of the biggest forest is not sufficient, all the beasts in the forest put together are not a sacrifice worthy of God’s omnipotent demands.  Nothing in this imperfect world can produce something deserving of God’s attention and approval.  There’s only one sacrifice in the Old Testament that would ultimately be enough for God and that would truly please a holy God, and that is the sacrifice of Isaiah 53 – the Messiah.

17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

‘With three powerful negative words (‘ayin, “that which is not”; ‘epes, “that which does not exist”; and tohu, “chaos, emptiness”), Isaiah asserts that the earthly nations do not exist … by comparison with the Lord (the sense of in his presence), Assyria and its gods, Babylonia and its gods, Persia and its gods, fade into nothingness.’ (Oswalt, 61-62)

‘This verse does not say that humankind is counted nothing “by him” but before him, i.e. in relation and comparison to what he is. Nothing is “non-existence” and less than nothing … Wothless (tohu) means empty of meaning and purpose’ (Motyer, 304).

This is what we are in relation to God!  In comparison to others, we might foolishly think we are something when we are not, which the NT warns against, but in comparison with God, we are nothing, less than nothing, meaningless – all meaning and importance is of God and God alone. God is Almighty over the nations including their false gods.

18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?

The word for God here ‘is the most transcendent of God-words, connoting dominion over all (42:5), absolute deity (43:10, 12; 46:9), the unique God of Israel (45:14) and the God of inscrutable purposes (45:15).’ (Motyer, 304)

‘If all the nations before Him are but as a drop of the bucket, how much less can He be comapred with any mere man! It is significant that Isaiah uses the designation ‘el (God), which always points to God in distinction from the creature.’ (Young, 3:51)

19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
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He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.

With sarcastic irony, God mocks the whole idol-making business and concept – trying to find a god to worship that won’t rot, or one that’s not going to keel over and fall on its face like Dagon did.

4.      God is Almighty over all, v. 21-26

 

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Later on (55:8) in this book God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways” declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”

God is so far beyond our thinking.  Us trying to fully grasp and understand God is like taking a communion cup and trying to fill it up with the Pacific Ocean.  Compared to God, we have as much intelligence as a piece of clay.  We’re not just lower than God on the IQ chart – we’re not even on the chart!  A grasshopper might be able to jump a little higher as it gets older, but it’s never going to come close to getting as high as the heavens are above the earth.  Isaiah 40:22 says we’re like grasshoppers.  Verse 6 says we’re just like the grass that withers. 


23
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.

Isaiah 40 just blows me away – it’s one of the most staggering and shocking chapters on the absolute Supremacy of God’s power, and it demolishes all human pride in our importance or worth or meaning apart from God.  In Isaiah 64 he says that even the best and most righteous things we do are “filthy rags in His sight.”  Some of you might be hearing these verses and might not be too encouraged - “we’re grass, we’re just the clay, we’re nothing, you amount to nothing, you’re like a little drip in a bucket, you’re like a speck of dirt, the best things we do are filthy rags, even the rulers of the earth are meaningless, we are not only nothing, but less than nothing.”  You might think, wow, this doesn’t do a whole lot for my self-esteem.  You know what, that’s exactly the point!!  Isaiah isn’t real concerned about making us feel good, he wants us to fear God.  He doesn’t want to give us a more positive view of ourselves, but a more powerful view of all-powerful God.  We don’t need to esteem ourselves more, we need to esteem God more.  The comfort Isaiah 40 promises is not found in having a better or higher view of ourselves, we need a better and higher view of our God. 

24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble.

It’s as if the great rulers of the earth are to God like a dandelion, or one of those plants that shrivels up when barely touched

  • \\ 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.*

The Holy One – the absence of the article showing that this is a personal name, not just a descriptor. This phrase “Holy One” appears 38x in Isaiah, far more than all the other prophets. This unusually high frequency in Isaiah indicates the impact of Isaiah’s call experience in chapter 6 where he got a vision of God’s holiness, and he never lost this, and it continued to permeate his entire thinking.

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory”

Al Mohler comments on this concept of God’s holiness:

I wonder if the vision of the God held by so many who come to worship is anything like what the seraphim are telling us here. Do we worship with the understanding that God is holy and that "the whole earth is full of His glory?" I fear not. I wonder if in our worship we encounter anything like this vision of God. Do those who come to our services of worship come face to face with the reality of God? Or do they go away with a vision of some lesser God, some dehydrated deity? Worship is the people of God gathering together to confess his worthiness, his "worth-ship." How can we do that if we do not make clear who God is? Our very pattern of worship must testify to the character of God.

… [He gives this quote] "If you want to know what a people really believe about God, don't spend time reading their theologians, watch them worship. Listen to what they sing. Listen to what they say. Listen to how they pray. Then you will know what they believe about this God whom they worship."

My haunting thought concerning much evangelical worship is that the God of the Bible would never be known by watching us worship. Instead what we see in so many churches is "McWorship" of a "McDeity." But what kind of God is that superficial, that weightless, and that insignificant? Would an observer of our worship have any idea of the God of the Bible from our worship? I wonder at times if this is an accidental development, or if it is an intentional evasion. (Al Mohler’s blog, 2/8/06)

26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

Lift up your eyes on high

Take your eyes off what is around you and lift up your vision and thoughts about the God who created this vast universe.  Calvin has pointed out that man is formed by God to contemplate the heavens, “for while God formed other animals to look downward for pasture, he made man alone erect, and bade him look at what may be regarded as his own habitation.” Whenever man in seriousness contemplates the heavens he is met with undeniable evidence of God’s magnificent handiwork, with the dazzling heavenly bodies and immense grandeur of Divine design.

the greatness of His might and the strength of his power

The word strength is plural to express intensity – try and fathom how God not only keeps track of all the stars and never misses one billions of light years away, but He knows them all by name, which demonstrates His power over them as well as His omniscience.

How many stars are there?  One of the NASA-related websites had an astrophysicist who estimated in 1997 the number of stars as 10 the 21st power (in other words with 21 zero’s at the end).  More recently, in 2003 an Australian astronomer estimated based on what telescopes can see that there may be 70 sextillion stars (sextillion = thousand million million million).  Those are just guesstimates based on what Hubble and the most powerful tools can see, but man doesn’t have a clue.  What a staggering mind-boggling headache-bringing thought to realize our great God named and controls all of those.  The greatness and immensity of this universe gives us at least a glimpse of the infinite greatness and immensity of our omnipotent God. However big the universe is, this chapter says compared to God it’s like the span of his hand.

It’s not about us, there’s a much bigger universe out there that we’re just a tiny part of that displays God’s glory. But amazingly, with the immeasurable vastness of this universe, God does keep track of this tiny planet near the Milky Way and that all of us who are nothing apart from Him, all who repent of their sins and trust in the Son of God as center of their life, He listens to their every prayer, loves them as His own children, and the Almighty all-powerful God is their personal shepherd who leads them, feeds them, nourishes them, carries them safely close to His heart. And He teaches us to forsake our wants, needs, and desires and trust Him and keep Him in the center of our thinking and affections. The obvious climax is that if the great Creator God knows by name every item in this vast universe, how can He who is the God of Israel be accused of forgetting His precious chosen people who He cherishes as His precious sheep close to His heart.

 

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sums it up this way:

‘We are all interested in what we want and need. We start with ourselves – we are introspective and self-centred. Our thoughts revolve around ourselves. We think we are the center of the universe. But we are not, my friends. So here, in verses 12-17, Isaiah brings us face to face with God …

So as you get on your knees to begin to pray, and as you think of your problems, and the difficulty of understanding the history of today, and as you are on the point of doubting God, and asking, “Why does God all this and why doesn’t he do that?” – in the midst of all that, wait for a moment and realize that you are going to express an opinion about the eternal, almighty, everlasting Being who said, “Let there be light”, and there was light (Gen. 1:3). You are speaking of the one who formed and fashioned everything that is and who meted out the heavens with a span; who took the very waters in the hollow of hi s hand, as it were, and could weigh mountains in the scales and the hills with his balances.

                Do you not begin to agree with what I am saying? Is not this our trouble? How lightly and glibly and loosely we all talk about God and express our opinions about him and ask why he does not answer our prayers. I am convinced that if we had but some dim conception of the greatness of the majesty of God, then like Job of old we would put our hands upon our mouths and we would stop speaking (Job 40:4). The trouble with us is that we do not realize that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). We talk because we do not see that the very nations of the world are as grasshoppers before God … it is because we have not taken the shoes from off our feet and realized that the God who made the world could blow upon us and make us vanish in a second that we speak as we do and stumble as we do at his glorious salvation. We must come back and realize the truth about the greatness and the might of God as it is outlined in this book.’ (The All-Sufficient God, 83-85)

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