“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25
As we come to today’s verse, I have to sit back and think through all that has been said in the previous twenty-four verses and everything we’ve thought about in the posts up to now.
On Day 18, Kevin reviewed some of the incredible truths we have seen in this chapter so far. As we think about them, verse 25 takes on a whole new level of significance.
If you’re anything like me (which, in this case, I really hope you’re not), you immediately think of the well-known verses 30-31 when someone mentions Isaiah 40. Whenever you’re reading the chapter, doesn’t your mind jump straight to these verses at the end? We see these verses at every occasion and on every item: bookmarks, mugs, jewelry, cards, Bible covers, T-shirts, posters, mouse pads, hats, wall hangings, pillow cases, stickers, journals… They’re everywhere!
However, if you’re anything like me (which in this case, I really hope you are), after spending time reading, thinking about, and considering this passage, aren’t you starting to see a whole new dimension to Isaiah 40?
This chapter describes the incredible breadth and scope of God in a powerful way. As I have considered this, it has shown me how little of God’s greatness I have actually experienced.
After twenty-four verses of hearing about His incomprehensible greatness and unlimited power, His gracious pardon and gentle care, His perfect wisdom and brilliant glory, we come to verse 25:
“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? Saith the Holy One.”
God has spent all the previous verses expressing to a doubting Israel that He is not only beyond able, but He is also beyond willing to show His goodness towards them. Then, after His awe-inspiring list, He asks them, “Is there anyone you would like to compare to Me? Is there anyone who can top that list of accomplishments?”
When I read that question, my first thought was, “Seriously, that is the most ridiculously rhetorical question ever! It’s obvious that no one and nothing can match up to that kind of power, goodness, and knowledge!”
Then I realized that there was a reason that God wrote Isaiah 40:25 and all the verses before, and sadly, that reason applies to me and maybe it does to you too.
What is the reason? Israel was constantly comparing God to other things.
We almost never do it in words, and I don’t think Israel did either. That’s probably why God said,
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8).
Our lips might not say it, but our lives do. We liken God to all kinds of things. Is He going to be as good to me as this person? Is He able to take care of my needs as well as a good job can? Is He as fulfilling as this pleasure is? Is His plan for my life really good? Is it as good as my plan for my life? While we would all respond “Yes! God is better. Oh yes, God knows what’s best for me”, the way we live our lives doesn’t say that.
God had to spend most of the chapter reminding Israel in unbelievably strong terms how great He is and how completely inconsequential everything else in the universe is compared to Him.
I need to be reminded of that, because there are days where all that Isaiah 40 stuff doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my life. Yet, it does, because when I leave God out or choose my own knowledge or make my own plans, I’m likening God to something. Way too often that something is myself. That should shake us up a little…well, actually a lot!
On a daily basis, we set ourselves up in a comparison match with our Creator and Maker, the One who made up knowledge and our ability to know. Often we walk out of the match, announcing ourselves as the winner – again, not with our words, but with our lives.
What is the truth? Our God is huge humans and entire nations are nothing compared to Him. He is good, even better than any relationship we have or any pleasure we know. There is no one and no thing that can be likened to Him; and His mercy extends even to our proud, unfaithful hearts.
My prayer is that we will spend more time remembering and dwelling on our incomparable and incomprehensible God to the point that we literally laugh at even the thought of comparing ourselves or anything else to Him!
~Laura O, and Amelia B.