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  • Writer's pictureRev. Chris Brademeyer

Who is Like God?



Who is Like God?

Jubilate, the Fourth Sunday of Easter – 4/21/2024

Isaiah 40:25-31

Rev. Christopher W. Brademeyer

 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

 

That portion from God’s holy Word for consideration this morning is our Old Testament lesson from the book of the prophet Isaiah in the fortieth chapter with special emphasis on verses twenty-five and twenty-six which read as follows:

 

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see:  who created these? He who brings out their host by number,  calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might  and because he is strong in power,  not one is missing.”[1]

 

Thus far the Scriptures.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

                Where is God? Where does He show up in your life? How do we know that He’s there? I think it’s a safe assumption on my part that many, if not most, of you have asked things like this. And this is not inappropriate. These are important questions because they get at the very heart of human existence. That is to say, to understand ourselves, what it is to be a human being, also requires us to know Who God is and how we relate to Him.

                But here comes the problem with this. God is God and we are not. He is infinite, we are finite. He is all knowing and perfectly wise, we are limited in our understanding and wisdom. He is Almighty, we can only do so much with our powers and abilities before we fall short. In other words, knowing God presents something of a challenge to us given the wide gulf that exists between us. This seems to make us human beings somewhat nervous. We don’t like to be in the dark on things, particularly important things. We also have a somewhat common tendency to fill in the gaps on things we are unsure of or ignorant of. We also tend to be something of a bit lazy in pursuing intellectual things. To make this brief, we tend to speculate and fill in the gaps in our knowledge of God with guesswork based on whatever we happened to come across up to that point.

                Since God is so far beyond us, a common tactic to say something about Him is to do so by making comparisons. So, for example, you will here people say that God is like this or that thing or is unlike something else. And while this tactic is understandable and practical, it unfortunately leads to some problems.

                Firstly, by comparing God to things in this world, we unwittingly lower His status from Almighty Creator to some other thing in this universe. Bear with me because this is a relatively abstract point but is certainly important. God is not a creature, that is, not made. He is God and therefore is without beginning or cause or creation. He just is. And by comparing Him to things of this earth we lower God to be like the false gods and lying demons and idols made of wood and metal. Why do we do this? Most likely because a limited God much like an idol made of wood or stone is something we control and can alter and edit to our heart’s content. This then makes us gods in our own estimation being the master of all things, including God Himself

                Of course, this is not really the case, but human beings constantly try to pull God from His throne and seek to replace Him with something of our own choosing, often our own selves. This is foolish as no matter what our estimation of God is or how we want Him to be, He is in fact God and is Who He is no matter how we might feel about that.

                Secondly, when we look to comparisons in this world for our knowledge of God, we tend to come away with a distressing view of God. Namely, we think that God is largely absent from our lives and that He seems disinterested in us and our problems. Famously, the philosophy of Deism teaches this particular idea. It originated in England during the Enlightenment.[2] Its basic premise is that while there is a Creator, once He set up the world, He left it to its own devices. Some call this the “divine watchmaker theory”, in other words, God made the world, wound it up like an old-fashioned clock, then left it to its devices.

                This view is distressingly common today, particularly among those who consider themselves Christians. Many people, as evidenced by polls, have fallen into some version of this view, with younger people more likely to be this way than older people.[3] In other words, our tendency to compare leads us to not only seeing God as less than God, it also leads us to see God as less than caring of us.

                Thirdly, this move to compare things to God and God to things also has the alarming effect of shutting our ears to the Scriptures. No doubt due to our sinful condition, we have to train ourselves to think according to Scripture. This means not only that we must be familiar with the teachings of the Scriptures, but also that we must know how to apply them when questions of God and His character come around.

                This is not a new problem. While we are certainly dealing with such thinking today, it was not invented by the 17th century deists or the 21st century millennials. Even in ancient times, people would retreat to speculation and doubt God’s care. This is the thing that God addresses through Isaiah here: He is beyond comparison. Instead of us trying to work our way to God or trying to drag Him down to us so that we might understand, we should let Him speak to us.

                So what does God say? His Word, the Scriptures, does not leave us with the impression that He is distant or uninterested. It does not allow us to see Him as silent or uncaring. God is powerful, beyond us in every way, and yet He uses this great strength to see to our salvation, to ensure our forgiveness, and to grant us everlasting blessing both now and in the  age to come. God does not want our speculations and guess work; He wants us to listen. And, by listening, He wills that we will come to believe Him and trust that He not only cares but is seeking to do those good things of which we have need.

                Who is like God? No one. And this is no cause for alarm. God, in His great  power and might, His unique place as master of all creation, has used His greatness to save you through His Son. He is not absent but is present with us. And we know this not by our speculations or feelings, but through Him speaking to us in holy Scripture.

 

In the holy Name of + Jesus. Amen.

 

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.


[1] Isaiah 40:25-26, English Standard Version

[3] American Worldview Inventory 2021 – Release #3: The Seismic Shift in Worldview: Millennials Seek a Nation without God, Bible and Churches. https://www.arizonachristian.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CRC_AWVI2021_Release03_Digital_01_20210512.pdf. Page 4. Retrieved on 4/17/2024.



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