As I was thinking about what I could share on the blog, I began to think of some of my favorite chapters in scripture. I love to read the last few chapters of Job along with the first six chapters of Isaiah because they record so much of God’s personal testimony. Yes, all of the scripture is a record of God speaking to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through chosen human servants. There are, however, a few times in scripture when God speaks in the first person—for example, when He speaks to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3), when He speaks to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3), and when He speaks from heaven after Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3).
Since I have already done a blog series on God’s dialogue with Job, I will use Isaiah as my base in sharing God’s testimony. I am going to include the scripture in which Isaiah shares what He knows about God that fits right in with God’s testimony, but it will be obvious when the LORD interrupts to add to the narrative.
At the time Isaiah was writing, he had been called to warn the people of Judah of coming judgment. God had him balance that message with words of comfort and encouragement regarding the time when they will once again be restored in fellowship with Him to enjoy the blessings of living in His kingdom in light of His covenant with Abraham. He reminds the people that God’s word is true and will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
I love the word picture that Isaiah paints in an attempt to help us realize the greatness of God.
Isaiah 40:12 “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?”
God has measured the waters of the earth in hollow of His hand (singular). Think about the quantity of water on earth; look at your own hand—staggering, unfathomable! The span is a reference to the distance between the thumb and the pinkie finger when stretched to its greatest extent. Look at the sky; spread out the fingers on your hand and consider—awesome, unbelievable! The next phrase is a little more difficult. The word measure in this phrase references a three-fold measure (length, width, breadth). Just try to imagine a container big enough to hold all the dust of the earth—impossible! Scales in biblical days operated on a system of weights and balances. Try to imagine scales large enough to weigh the hills and mountains!
This verse definitely gives a description of Someone far beyond our comprehension or understanding.
In light of God’s greatness, Isaiah goes on to explain that there is no sacrifice one could make that would be fitting to show honor to such a Being. Again, with his beautiful linguistic skill, he paints another word picture of God’s greatness.
Isaiah 40:22 “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….”
This is a declaration that the earth is round; at this time (circa 750 BC), many people thought the earth was flat. By describing God as “sitting” on the circle of the earth, Isaiah is making the point that God is our judge (from the Hebrew); He is in control. From God’s perspective the people on earth are like grasshoppers, truly insignificant except for the significance that He assigns to them. God has spread out the heavens as a tent to provide a dwelling place for man on earth. All that we know about the heavens today reveal this “tent” to be quite amazing and lavish. He has positioned every star and planet specifically so as to support the existence of planet earth and the people on it.
Consider the following observations by Chuck Missler from khouse.org.
“…the more we understand the universe, the more it appears to be specifically designed for Man. There are literally hundreds of dimensions or ratios which, if varied even slightly, would make life impossible. If the earth was a little closer—or a little more distant—from the sun, it would be too hot or too cold to support life. If it rotated a little faster—or a little slower—life would be impossible. This applies to cosmological factors in our solar system, as well as key ratios in subatomic physics. For instance, if the gravity of the earth at its surface were weaker, we would not have an adequate atmosphere; if it were stronger, our atmosphere would contain too much ammonia. If the electromagnetic coupling constant were either weaker or stronger, molecules for life would cease to exist. As physicists examine the strong nuclear force coupling constant, it turns out that if it were only slightly weaker, multi-proton nuclei would not hold together and hydrogen would be the only element in the universe. The supply of various life-essential elements heavier than iron would be insufficient. If they were only slightly stronger, nuclear particles would tend to bond together more frequently and more firmly, and hydro-gen would be rare in the universe. Either way, with less than a 1% change, life would be impossible.”
At this point, the LORD Himself speaks out to add to the narrative.
Isaiah 40:25-26 “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.”
It’s also at this point that I can’t help but connect with God’s dialogue with Job. All He has to do is pose the questions to make Job understand who He is. Neither Job nor we are capable of understanding God or of a character to question God’s righteousness. It’s interesting to note that, as He did with Job, the LORD uses questions to make His point.
The LORD’s first question: Who is My equal? He then bids us look to the heavens and all that He has created. He knows the exact number of planets and stars in space and calls each one of them by name. Not one heavenly body deviates from its designed path or purpose.
Consider this information from livescience.com. “Deep-field images from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest there are 10 times more galaxies in the universe than scientists previously thought, with about 2 trillion galaxies in total, according to a study published in October 2016 in the journal Science by Christopher Conselice, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham in the U.K., and his colleagues.….’About 100 million (or 10 to the eighth power) stars inhabit the average galaxy, according to one of the best estimates….’Multiplying the number of galaxies — which is about 2 trillion — by the 100 million stars in the galaxy suggests there could be about 10 raised to the 20th power stars in the universe,’ Conselice said.”
I have a hard enough time trying to remember the names of the people I meet at church!
The last part of verse 26 above tells us that the heavens remain constant through the strength and force generated by the Creator. He is the Source of the laws of science and the power that sustains the universe. Paul affirms this truth in his letter to the Colossians
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Consider the following observations of Lambert Dolphin excerpted from an article called “What Holds the Universe Together?” at khouse.org.
“The nucleus of the atom contains positively charged and neutral particles—to use a simplistic model. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart if it were not for the ‘strong force’ which binds the nucleus together….Similarly, accelerated electrons circling the nucleus should quickly radiate all their energy away and fall into the nucleus unless there exists an invisible energy source to counteract this….If God 'sustains the universe by His mighty word of power,’ moment by moment, were He to merely relax His grasp on the universe, every atom would come apart "by fire" (that is, by nuclear fire). It is inescapable that the Bible claims that God dynamically sustains the universe, including the very atoms themselves. Atoms, it would seem, are ‘stable' only because force and energy are being supplied into their physical nuclear binding fields from ‘outside' the system.”
God goes on to remind us that He is everlasting—from vanishing point to vanishing point, without beginning or ending.
Isaiah 40:28 “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.”
As He told Moses, He is I AM—always has been and always will be.
Exodus 3:13–14 “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
The LORD again states that He is the Creator that never tires out or runs out of energy. He possesses all power and authority. In other words, if we would but trust Him, we need never wonder if He has the ability to empower us and provide what we need. Just a few verses later he emphasizes this truth.
Isaiah 40:31 “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.”
The final truth He shares is that He is beyond our ability to understand. He states this ever more clearly in a later chapter.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.
It is this truth that men most desire to ignore. We want to think that we should be able to understand the hows, whys and wherefores of everything God does or doesn’t do that does not fit in with our way of thinking and reasoning. We want to hold God accountable according to our way of thinking instead of just resting in the fact that He is our Sovereign Creator who embodies love and righteousness.
1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Daniel 9:14 “…for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth….”
If we would but rest in that truth, we would experience true peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
to be continued…