Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Greatness of God, The Minisculeness of Man - Isaiah 40 part 4

"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?
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
or as His counselor has informed Him?
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?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales....
All the nations are as nothing before Him,
they are regarded as less than nothing and meaningless."
(vs 12-17)

As I read this section this morning my thoughts immediately fly to Job chapters 38-41. In both Job and Isaiah the greatness of God is placed on one side of the scale and the miniscule nature of man is placed on the other. There is no comparison!

In Job, God answers His wounded servant out of the whirlwind and says, "Who is this that darkens My counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!" Clearly, God speaks with anthropomorphic tongue in cheek. Over the next few chapters He proceeds to ask Job to delve into the infinite details of geology, botony, biology, oceanography, astronomy, meteorology, etc. By the time its over Job is only able to respond by putting his hand over his mouth. Who can outsmart omniscience?

Here in Isaiah 40 the same theme is uttered and the same reaction should occur. Verses 12-17 speak of the greatness of our God. Matthew Henry's outline of this chapter was incredibly helpful to me this morning. The quotation marks are his words.

I. "His Power is Unlimited."
  • "He has a vast reach." Verse 12 speaks of Him measuring all the waters of the oceans in the hollow of His hand and marking off the heavens between his thumb and pointer finger. Of course this is figurative language, but the figure speaks clearly!
  • "He has vast strength." Our omnipotent God is as easily able to move mountains and hold them in His hands as a pharmacist is able pick up some small pills and place them on a scale to measure for a prescription.

II. "His Wisdom is Unsearchable."

  • "As none can do what God has done, so none can suggest anything to Him which he has not thought of." Here is the clear echo of Job to me. Who directs Him? Who counsels Him? Who informs Him? With whom does he consult? Who teaches Him? Go on ahead, put your hand over your mouth with me!

God's power and wisdom are beyond our ability to grasp and comprehend. Clearly, "the secret things belong to the LORD our God....(Dt 29:29). He is great and we are not! The greatest nations and the greatest men are as nothing compared to God. "Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket, they are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales (vs 15).

Now, for those of us who know this God and who have some dim picture of what His word tells us about Him I've written nothing new. I recognize, as do you, that He is the Almighty God and that there is NONE that can compare to Him in any regard. But, what has particularly moved me this morning is what this vast antithesis between God and man, what this great distinction between Creator and creature have to say about the reality of our redemption.

Christians, we are NOTHING. We are a drop in the bucket. We are as a speck of dust on the scales. We are "less than nothing and meaningless" (vs 17). We are sinners who's most righteous deeds are but filthy rags to a holy God (Is 64:6). Nonetheless - He has taken notice of us and has loved us enough to send His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16)! Who is man that You are mindful of him? And yet He is mindful! Mindful enough to die for me! Mindful enough to rise for me! Mindful enough to prepare an eternal place for me! I cannot even begin to process this amazing love!

Alas! and did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die!
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I!

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the
tree! Amazing pity! Garce unknown! And love beyond degree!

Isaac Watts, 1707

With my hand over my mouth,


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