Isa 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
God is unequalled. This is the twelfth attribute of God on my list of the attributes of God, a list that so far extends to over 40 characteristics God possesses as they are given to us in the Bible.
In the immediate context of Isaiah 40:18, the Bible tells us that since God is unequalled, there are no lesser gods, and idolatry is mistaken.
The specific term “equal” is applied in direct reference to God by His own statement, when He said “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).
In my last post I discussed some of the theological ramifications of Isaiah 40:18 and the fact that God is stated in the Bible to be unequalled, the twelfth attribute of God on my list of over 40 Divine Attributes attributed to God in the Bible.
This time I want to apply the practical ramifications of the context of Isaiah 40:18, a context which is a strong and logical refutation of idolatry.
I’m sure almost no one today believes in idolatry. At least that is what they likely think in their own mind. But if you were to search the Scriptures on this subject, you might be very surprised at what the Bible has to say on this subject. Consider the following verse from the New Testament:
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (KJV)
Col 3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. (NET Bible)
Col 3:5 Then put to death your bodies which are of the earth; wrong use of the flesh, unclean things, passion, evil desires and envy, which is the worship of strange gods; (Basic English Bible)
Col 3:5 Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.
If we are greedy, if we are covetous, we are guilty of idolatry.
The sin of covetousness as described and as commanded against in the Bible covers a broad range of issues and concerns. The commandment itself is found in Exodus 20:17. Paul discusses this commandment in Romans 7:7, 8.
In Isaiah 40:19 we read of the making of a physical idol. Evidently the very poor people who cannot even afford to make an offering to the true God scrape together enough resources to afford an idol of wood, gold, and silver. The idolater does not consider Who has made the visible creation, and Who is in ultimate control of all that goes on in the sphere of government and politics and the justice system (Isaiah 40:23).
The sin of idolatry involves making wrong choices. Wrong choices about how to use our limited resources, wrong choices about what we choose to be interested in, wrong choices in how we spend our time.
If God really is Who He says He is, then this understanding about God should make an impact in our lives and influence all we say and do.
Are we really committed to God? Do we really believe in His written word in the Bible? As to the Bible, our actual belief is demonstrated by the level of commitment we have made to take the proper amount of time to not only read the Bible, but study the Bible for ourselves.
Do you love the Bible? Does reading and studying the Bible bring deep joy to your life?
The Bible writers themselves confessed to the joy they had from the reading and study, literally inwardly digesting, the Word of God. Take just one example, the prophet Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
If you are not yet to the place in your life where you can confess, like Jeremiah, that the Bible is the joy and rejoicing of your heart, decide today to re-set your life priorities and take the time to read and study God’s written word in the Bible every day. The more you read the Bible, the better you will understand it, and the more interesting and helpful it will become in your life. Don’t let the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” choke the word in your life, as Jesus taught about in Luke 8:14, when he spoke of the seed of the Word of God falling among thorns! Take care that the Word of God in your life has fallen upon the good ground that brings forth much fruit (Luke 8:15).