The Glory of God 28

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 40:22-24 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, & its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.

How great is the living God in comparison with the earth and all of its inhabitants? He pictures Himself just sitting above this circle of the earth. He is pictured as glorious and the earth is pictured as small and rather meaningless. All of the inhabitants are something like a group of grasshoppers on the earth which is small compared to Him. The heavens are nothing more than a curtain or perhaps like a tent. The entire heavens are pictured as a tent, which surely points to His greatness and glory. The rulers of the earth are reduced to nothing at His mere pleasure. The judges of the earth are meaningless in comparison to His sovereignty over them. Rulers and judges are planted as He pleases, but at His mere blowing on them they wither and are carried away like stubble in a storm.

If we look behind the scenes, so to speak, what we see is the true God who created all things and He has created them for His pleasure. There is nothing that exists that He has not created and all things have their existence from Him each moment. He is sovereign over the rulers of the world who exist by His self-sufficient power, are put into their positions of power by His self-sufficient power, and then are brought down at His good pleasure. He alone is sufficient to put rulers into power and when He is pleased for them to be brought down they cannot maintain their positions apart from His sufficiency. Each human being should learn that his or her position in life is obtained and then lost at the mere pleasure of God.

Amos 5:21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. 23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

Here we see what worship is when it is not offered from the heart which can only come from the sufficiency of God and instead is offered in dependence upon our own hearts. From the context it is clear that the Israelites were violating the commands of God and yet they would come and perform the external acts of worship. God hated the very festivals that He had commanded because they people thought they could perform external acts and He would be pleased. He had no delight in their so-called solemn assemblies because they were not truly repentant. He would not accept their sacrifices because they were done without hearts that were broken from pride and self-sufficiency. He would not listen to their songs and harps because they were played without true hearts. What is not seen is that when people live in sin and yet offer sacrifices and go through external things of religion, they are in fact relying upon their own self-sufficiency rather than broken hearts that looked to the sufficiency of God and His grace alone. It is a wicked sin for men to use the things that God alone shows His sufficiency and men use those things trusting in their own self-sufficiency in performing the externals trusting in the fact that they are doing them.

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