We often think of the Bible as a kind of “how to” to live our life. After all, Scripture is full of statements like “obey thy father and mother,” “pray without ceasing,” and so many other directions. Our devotions can become centered on this aspect of God’s word as well – often consisting of reading a passage and meditating on how we are called to live based on that passage. None of those things are wrong. We do find valuable instruction on how to live our lives in the Scripture, and we should read the Bible from that perspective and think about it often. However, something we can tend to miss with that focus is what Scripture reveals about the greatness of God.
Isaiah 40 lays out the greatness of God using many beautiful metaphors. Isaiah begins in this chapter comforting the people of Israel, telling of the deliverance God will give them from captivity. He then describes the greatness of the God who will deliver them. Reading this chapter puts awe in the heart of the child of God – our God is so great, so all-knowing, that He knows exactly how many specks of dust there are in the earth, and knows the exact measure of the heavens. Nothing man has calculated, no scientific or mathematical theorem can come close to determining those numbers. As far as our finite minds can see, the universe never ends – but God knows its exact bounds.
Verse 15 describes the magnitude of every powerful and great nation in the world to God – a drop in a bucket, or “less than nothing” in verse 17. The governments on this earth seem so sovereign and have so much authority in our eyes – laws are passed that have great effect on our daily lives, wars are declared, and taxes are required – but all their might is puny compared to the might of our God. Even the most powerful of men is as only as strong as a grasshopper in comparison to Him.
His glory is seen even more clearly when we look at creation in the proper perspective. When we realize that God is the one who “stretched out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell there in”, we can examine every aspect of creation and see His amazing design – from the inner workings of our own body, to the fish in the deepest parts of the sea, and the weather patterns that stretch across the entire globe. Wherever men stand in awe at nature, make sure you “lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things.”
And now remember how Isaiah started this chapter – this is the God who will deliver His church Israel. This strong and powerful God who Isaiah has described is not some abstract higher being who really has nothing to do with us. He is our God. He is our strength when we are weary, or when we are struggling with sin. God chose His people out of all the insignificant nations of the earth, loved them with His powerful love, and used that power to deliver us from our sins through His Son. How great is our God!