Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 113

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 113

Yesterday Isaiah promised the people of Zion that their God is coming. All eyes will see Him in His power and majesty. "Here is your God!", Isaiah cries. Today we take a look at the Lord in His role as Creator. We get a glimpse of His unfathomable wisdom and His complete sovereignty over all things.

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?" (Isaiah 40:12) Creating the universe and everything in it was effortless for someone as powerful as our God. He knows every ounce of water in the oceans, every grain of sand on the seashore, and the weight of every rock and every mountain. 

Next we view the Creator in His wisdom, for as King Solomon said, "By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew." (Proverbs 3:19-20) God needs no teacher. His thoughts are so far above our thoughts that we can't comprehend them. Isaiah asks, "Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as His counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught Him knowledge, or showed Him the path of understanding?" (Isaiah 40:13-14) Isaiah asks a series of rhetorical questions because he already knows the answer and so do his listeners. God, since eternity past, has possessed all wisdom and all power. God, through eternity future, will be the same. He has always known what He will do and He has needed no help or advice from anyone. As the Lord will plainly declare later in our study of Isaiah, "Before Me no God was formed, nor will there be one after Me." (Isaiah 43:10b) God is not saying He had a point of origin or that He will have an ending; He's saying that His existence encompasses all time. No one has instructed Him or understood His mind because He is one of a kind.

"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 nations are as nothing; they are regarded by Him as worthless and less than nothing." (Isaiah 40:15-17) Throughout history, great nations have risen and great nations have fallen. Some have dared to believe themselves mightier than God. Some kings and leaders have boasted against God as if He were nothing more than a false idol. God regards the greatness of a nation and the strength of its military as nothing. What is the power of man compared to the power of God? No matter how great the nation, the best thing its citizens can do is bow to the One who is greater. God is not saying that His creation and the people of earth are nothing, but that the wealth and the pride of nations amounts to nothing when compared to His sovereign power. 

What can we give to the God who has everything? If all the tall cedars of Lebanon were felled, they could not make enough altar fires to thank God for everything He has done on behalf of man. If every animal of the land were given in sacrifice for sins, it would not be enough to atone for man's waywardness. What can we do to thank Him enough? What can we do about our problem of sin? How can we be made righteous in the sight of a holy God?

The Creator, the One who possesses all wisdom, and the One who is sovereign over all creation, has always had a plan for this too. As Abraham said to Isaac, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for the burnt offering." (Genesis 22:8) This lamb was Christ, the perfect and spotless sacrifice that is able to cleanse every one of us for all time from unrighteousness. His suffering on our behalf was a foregone conclusion even before the creation of the world, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." (1 Peter 1:18-20) Jesus was already on His way to the cross before the hill on which He would be crucified was formed. Before God breathed the breath of life into the very first man, the fate of the Lamb of God was sealed. His atoning sacrifice was planned way back in eternity past, so far back that the plan of salvation really had no beginning. It always was, just as Christ always has been. We've heard the expression, "When He was on the cross, I was on His mind." But I want to tell you something even more awesome and mind-boggling. Before the Lord ever spoke the words, "Let there be light," we were on His mind. Before the earth ever formed out of the dust of the universe, we were on His mind. Before the atmosphere became habitable, we were on His mind. Before any mountains or valleys or oceans were created on this planet, we were on His mind. We have been on the Lord's mind as long as He has existed and, since He has no beginning or end, this means we have been on His mind for all eternity past and will be on His mind for all eternity future. There has never been a single second when He was not thinking of us.

And because we have always been on His mind, and because He has always loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), God has always planned to provide us with a means of redemption through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. "How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3a) God has given us His very best! If we scorn the one and only atoning sacrifice provided for our sins, there is no other means to be made righteous in His sight. There is no other solution. We cannot each find God in our own way through "many paths" as the world would have us believe. There is one way and one way only. We do not set the terms of our redemption; God sets them, and He has chosen His Son. This is why Jesus was so careful to make sure we understand that, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

God is the One whom our sins have offended and He alone gets to set the terms by which our wrongs can be made right. He couldn't have made it any simpler when He provided us with one clear way into His presence. How shall we escape if we scorn the Lamb who gave Himself for us? How shall we be made clean? There is no other way. There's nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

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