The Glory of God 27

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

Isaiah 40:15-17 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales. Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

Isaiah 40 is quite an incredible passage of God’s self-disclosure and of how He views things. His view of Himself is not that of the humanists or of liberals, but instead He gives us a picture of His glory and of His own God-centeredness. If for some reason we think that we are serving God as if He needed anything, our worship is in ignorance. If we glance at Acts 17:22-25 for a moment, we can see that the true God is not served by human hands as though He needed anything. That is a basic truth about who the true God is. That is a basic truth that those who worship in ignorance do not know or accept.

The living and true God is the God who fills the universe, or perhaps it should be said that though the universe is filled with God the universe does not set bounds for Him. No one or nothing sets bounds for Him since He made the whole and all things in it. All the nations together are nothing but something like a drop from a bucket. All the nations taken together are regarded as nothing more than a speck of dust on the scales. All the beasts of Lebanon were not enough for a single burnt offering. These verses give us God’s idea of God. It is one where the whole universe is at His disposal and the whole planet earth and all of its inhabitants are nothing to Him. This does not mean that He has not set His love on His people and sent the Son to be a sacrifice in their place, but it shows by comparison who God is and then what the whole world is.

All the nations taken together are less than nothing and meaningless in light of who God is and His sovereign and absolute reign over all. When we think and meditate on this, as far as we can until we know that we only know a very little about God because He is infinite and we are finite, we can see how utterly glorious He is and what we are in light of that. However, when we see that God’s view of our world is that it is nothing and meaningless we can behold the freeness of His grace toward cosmic rebels who sin against Him. What is man that God should even glance at him much less send His only begotten Son to die for the transgressions of sinners? How we should be overwhelmed in great awe and wonder that the God who brought all things into existence would take notice of and then send His Son to die for the worst of those beings.

How we should look upon the wonder of this great God who made the world in great wisdom and understanding and bow our own fallen reason before Him. He is wise, we are not. He has understanding, we do not. Who are we to think that we can counsel Him or inform Him of what is right and wrong? Who are we to think that our vast knowledge of the world that He created should entitle us to cross His will? Who are we to think that we should use anything for our own purposes but instead all we are and all we have are His and should be used to live for His glory by the grace He alone gives freely. We should live in the light of the knowledge that the great and living God exists in and of Himself and that He alone is self-sufficient and as such He alone is sufficient to keep us in being at His mere pleasure. We cannot keep ourselves in being according to our pleasure, but God does. We cannot give ourselves breath, but God alone can do that. The Gospel of Jesus Christ comes to helpless beings but also helpless in their sins. God alone is self-sufficient and He alone saves sinner by the sufficiency of grace alone.

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