Sustaining Power of God

A sailor in a shipwreck was thrown upon a rock where he clung in great danger until the tide went down. Later a friend asked him, “Jim, didn’t you shake with fear when you were hanging on that rock?” “Yes, but the rock didn’t,” was the significant reply. … More

Omnipotence

Isaiah speaks by inspiration to a people who have lost hope. In this passage, He describes God’s power to create, His provision to sustain, and His presence to help. Human idolatry is pictured as being utterly ridiculous by the prophet. Through a series of questions he brings his readers into the very presence of the one true God. He shows that no graven image shall compare to the likeness of God (v. 18). An idol is a god created in the image of man. It is nothing more than a man-made statue covered with gold and chained down with silver chains (v. 19) (which were necessary to keep someone from stealing it).

God is greater than anything in heaven (vv 20-26). He founded the earth and sits on the throne in heaven and nothing is equal to Him, let alone greater than He is. Anyone who looks at the greatness of nature and the complexity of the universe and fails to see the hand of God is without excuse. The phrase “He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (v. 22) refers to the Lord God and clearly indicates that the earth is round and not flat.

In the light of God’s omniscience, as well as His omnipresence, the prophet asks Israel why it is that she thinks her way is hid from the Lord (v. 27). Rather than being able to give to Him, He is the one who must give to us in order for our needs to be met. God, who unlike pagan idols, is eternal and the creator, never grows weary (v. 28). Instead, He gives strength to those who are weary and weak (vv 29-31).

Application

I can never obey God in my own strength, but I can always trust him to provide the strength I need (Phil. 4:13). If I trust myself, I will fail; but if I wait on the Lord, by faith, I will receive strength for the circumstances of each day.

Isaiah 40:18-31 (English Standard Version)

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. 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. 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. 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.

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