Isaiah 40:18-20 ESV
“To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.”
The awe, the reverence, the respect and the honor of God is all but lost in modern-day Christianity here in America. For, God is often painted as our best buddy who gives us whatever our hearts desire, as though he is a doting grandfather or a genie in the sky who will grant our every request.
Regarding our salvation from sin, he is often painted as a God who loves us so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins, which he did, and in order to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die, but who requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to him as Lord.
So, those who say they believe in Jesus often times have this entitlement mindset that God is there merely to wipe away our sins so we don’t have to face punishment for our sins, and so we can go to heaven when we die. But, they don’t see that he requires that we honor him, and that we obey him, for us to truly have that salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
And, so they end up worshiping what is created rather than the creator. They end up following after human flesh and the idols of men, because their idols coddle them in their sin, and they make no demands of them for repentance, obedience, or submission to God, or the fear of the Lord.
But, idols are but lies. They will bring no real peace, no real joy, no real deliverance or salvation from sin. But, they do promise you heaven as your eternal home while they leave you still in bondage to your sin. So, their promise is a lie which will send you straight to hell, instead.
So, the point here is that idols which we make for ourselves are no help to us at all. They may bring us some temporary pleasure, but they will bite us in the end. For, they are cheap substitutes for God, who is our ONLY GOD.
Isaiah 40:21-24 ESV
“Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
“Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.”
We need to get back to honoring God as the holy God that he is. We need to see him in all his awesomeness, in all his love and grace – YES – but also in all of his power, his justice, and his righteousness, too. And, we need to walk in the fear of the Lord, not in the ways of our sinful flesh.
And, we need to see ourselves in the light of the awesomeness and the power and might of God, too. Isaiah got that, and so did many of the prophets of old, and so did Paul and the other apostles, including John, when he wrote the book of Revelation, in particular.
I see and hear so many people today who profess faith in Jesus Christ treating God with such disrespect. They think his salvation, his gift to them, relieves them of the punishment of sin and promises them heaven, but makes no requirements of them. So, they feel liberated to now continue living in sin while claiming that God’s grace covers it all. What a slap in the face to Almighty God!
Where is the awe of God in that? Where is the humility, and the contriteness of heart? Where is the bowing before Almighty God, weeping over our sin, calling on God for mercy, repenting of our sinful lifestyles, and turning away from sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands?
Too many people are way too casual about God, and they do not take him or his word to heart, and many of them feel that they don’t have to. And, if they should have a twinge of guilt over their sin, they are told to just claim who they are in Christ to console them in their sin, regardless of whether or not they are truly in Christ, according to what scripture teaches us.
But, know this! God hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! His divine character and will for us has not been altered. He has not gone soft on sin. And, what he said he would do he will do. We can count on it, for he does not lie.
So, please understand this. God’s word teaches that we must walk (in conduct, in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God if we want to have eternal life with God. We must forsake our former lives of living to sin and self, and we must now surrender to Christ as Lord of our lives. He is to be King of our hearts, not us. And, we must walk in obedience to his commands (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
For, if we don’t obey his commands, and we don’t do what he says, and we don’t repent of our sins, but we continue living however we want, walking in the ways of our sinful flesh, heaven is not our eternal destiny. Hell is! (See: Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).
So, don’t take God and his Word and his grace for granted. Don’t be smug thinking that you are good to go and that no harm will come to you just because you prayed some prayer, or just because you acknowledged Jesus and what he did for you on that cross. The saved life is one who walks in obedience to our Lord, in fellowship with God, according to his Spirit.
Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV
“Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
This, I believe, can be taken two different ways. One is that these who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but who feel no obligation to leave their sins behind them to follow the Lord in obedience, often have this smug attitude that says that God doesn’t see what they are doing, and that their way is hidden from the Lord, and that he just disregards the fact that they are living in open rebellion against him. They feel he is a “do nothing” God.
The other way has to do with those who have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, but that their faith is weak due to troubling circumstances in their lives, such as what the world is facing right now. They feel they must be forgotten by God, or why else would these horrible things be happening to them. They think God must not see, or he must not know, and so sometimes they feel obligated to inform God of what he “obviously” must be missing.
Either way, God is letting us know that nothing escapes his notice. He didn’t go on vacation. He is still all powerful, all knowing and present everywhere. Nothing is out of his sight. He has not changed. His will for us has not changed, either. He is still a holy and righteous God, and he still demands that we listen to him, that we do what he says, and that we revere him.
He is still completely sovereign, too, and nothing outside of our control can happen to us unless he allows it to happen, and for his purposes. So, he knew this “coronavirus pandemic” was going to happen upon us. He allowed it. He allowed men to lie to us, too, and to deceive us, if we are deceived. He allowed them to trick us, and to manipulate us for their own hidden agendas. But, this will serve his purposes to bring his people back to him.
So, we don’t have to be afraid of what is happening or what is going to happen, for these things were foretold long, long ago. So, they must take place before Jesus returns. So, we need to find our strength in the Lord through it all, and we need to trust him in all things, no matter how this all turns out.
And, we need to wait on the Lord for him to accomplish his purposes through it all, for in that we will find our endurance and our strength to persevere, even if all looks hopeless from a worldly point of view. In him our strength can be renewed in ways we cannot even possibly imagine. For, He is God! And, he isn’t asleep. He has a plan, and it is for our good. We just need to keep trusting him and resting in him, and we will be alright through it all.
Our God, He is Alive
Music and Lyrics by A.W. Dicus
Our God, whose Son upon a tree,
A life was willing there to give,
That He from sin might set man free,
And evermore with Him could live.
There is a God, He is alive,
In Him we live and we survive;
From dust our God created man,
He is our God, the great I Am…
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