Congratulations! You are over half way through Isaiah 40 and this year’s memorization challenge! If you are anything like me; two things are probably starting to happen.
- You are starting to get a little jumbled with some of the verses – especially the last few describing the incomprehensible wisdom and ability of our God!
- You are starting to get excited about the power and goodness of God even though you can’t really get a full grasp on what is being said.
I started this chapter thinking, “Okay, this is a lot of long verses that aren’t all that great except for the last few about the eagle that everyone already knows.” Here’s what’s crazy though, I’m starting to see why I like the last verses where God gives us an amazing promise, and it’s all because of the truths found in the first 20somthing verses that basically give us God’s resume. The reason why I get so excited about such a promise from God is because of the grandeur of the God who gave the promise! I would never get excited if a 4 year old kid, a homeless bum, or a prison inmate promised me a trip to the Bahamas. But if a billionaire relative of mine flies in with his private jet and promises me a trip to the Bahamas, I would go ballistic! Why the opposite reactions? ….The promise is the same both times, right?
You see, the value of a promise does not come from the promise itself; rather, the value comes from the one who gives the promise. A promise is only as good as the promiser.
And that’s exactly why I’m getting so excited. As I have been memorizing and meditating on Isaiah 40, I am seeing more and more the majesty of our God who gives us His promises!
So here we are at verse 18, and if you read the whole chapter, you will see that it kind of takes a halftime break here to ask us a few questions. But before we get into these questions, let’s take a quick look at the highlights from the first half.
Verses 1 and 2 basically lay the foundation of Salvation saying that God has already taken care of all our sins, “her iniquity is pardoned.” Then verses 3 and 4 give us a picture of the path (aka our lives) that is to be built. I love what Sarah pointed out in her post on day 3,”So many times we find ourselves trying to prepare the way for, well, ourselves. Exalting our ideas and desires, we promote what is important to us, and we remove all obstacles that stand in the way.” God especially challenged me with this point and showed me the ways I have been preparing a highway for me rather than for God – who is worthy. Convicting…..Ouch!
“Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed….” We will never see the glory of the Lord while our lives are all about us. So how do we get our focus off of ourselves and our “highway?” Simply by a change of perspective. See it from God’s point of view. And that’s exactly what the rest of the chapter does. It give us a new perspective of ourselves and of God. This is why our view of God is so important. It directs the entire course of our life. If I view God as less than He is and myself as more than I am, I will always live a self-focused life.
So what does it say about who we are?
- We are withering grass – verse 7
- We are wilting flowers – verse 7
- We are a drop in the bucket – verse 15
- We are a piece of dust – verse 15 (Even Abraham, the father of Christianity and the greatest hero of faith in the Bible, acknowledged, “I am but dust and ashes” – Gen 18:27)
- We are not even enough for the burn pile – verse 16
- We are less than nothing – verse 17 (I’m not sure how this works but just because I can’t understand it doesn’t make it any less true.)
- We are vanity (meaningless) – verse 17
Not much to boast about huh?
Now what does it say about who God is?
- He is Omnipotent (All Powerful) – Verse 10
- He is our Gentle Shepherd – Verse 11
- He is the Creator who uses His hand as a measuring stick to measure the universe!! – Verse 12
- He is All Wise – Needs no direction or Counsel – Verse 13
- He is Omniscient (All knowing – Has never been taught anything by anybody) – Verse 14
- He lifts up Islands like a speck of dust – Verse 15
Isaiah hasn’t even finished describing the glory and majesty of God, but he takes a quick break to ask us, “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” – Isaiah 40:18
Now, he isn’t actually asking us if we can think of something or someone that is comparable to God. The answer to that question goes without saying. What he is asking is, “Have you lowered your view of God to the level of something you can comprehend with your own mind?”
Read that last sentence again…..
Okay, one more time…..
“Have you figured God out?”…. Does God make sense to you? …. We would all say, “Of course not.” But what do our thoughts and actions prove? How often do our prayers sound more like counseling sessions where we inform God of what’s going on and try to help Him understand and give him tips on how to correct things. How often do we think our perspective is correct because we have a complete understanding of the situation? Do we think God sees life through our eyes and forget that our perspective is warped, bias, partial, and obstructed?
Any of these thoughts or actions mean that our view of ourselves is too high and our view of God is too low!
So why is this a problem???
I’m glad you asked!
We’ll find out tomorrow 😉