The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 40 Part 3

Isaiah

We end this week looking at Isaiah 40:12-20

Our G-d is the One and Only true G-d. G-d is beyond comprehension, but He reveals Himself to us as One who can do all things. He is all powerful, forever wise. As humans we are wise if we submit, obey and seek His influence in our lives (taking hold of His Word and applying it to our lives). When we do this, G-d will supply to us what we need (His supernatural guidance, power and wisdom) for victory. We are completely dependent on Him for victory. If we do not recognise G-d in the proper way, He absents Himself from moving in our lives. He will not empower us, nor will He give us wisdom and knowledge. 

Note: In this next portion G-d begins to speak about His uniqueness.

v12: Who has measured the waters in the hollow (palm) of his hand: The implication is that this is what G-d has done. He has measured all the waters on the face of the earth, and He has done so in the palm of His hand. It is difficult to hold onto water, as it just slips through our fingers – however, this is not a problem that G-d has to deal with. Even the water obeys Him and stays in its place (Matt 8:27, Job 38:8-11). From this phrase we learn of G-d’s greatness and the fact that He is beyond measure. He is the Only One who can hold all the water on this earth in the palm of His hand. 

  • Measured: Sometimes this concept of ‘measuring’ relates to understanding G-d. We can ‘measure’ or ‘size up’ others (form an opinion of them). 
  • Measured heavens with a span (the width from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger)G-d can measure things, that seem very large to us, with just His fingers. This speaks to us about the vastness of G-d. 
  • Weighed…in a balance: He makes sure that it is in correct proportions. 

Note: G-d understands creation with a perfect knowledge. He is able to measure it, direct it and balance it. 

v13: Who has directed (regulated) the Spirit of the L-rd: No one has. He does not need any man to counsel Him or give Him knowledge. 

v14: The answer to all of these questions…No one. No one can supply anything to G-d. He has all He needs and lacks nothing. He does not need resources, extra knowledge, or counsel. Instead, He is the source of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

v15: Note: G-d is adequately and fully acquainted with all things – all nations, all peoples and His creation.

  • Dust on the balance (scales)When people measured something it was usually because they wanted to ascertain its value. Payment was then made based on the weight. The weight of dust is so negligible and insignificant that no one was concerned about its weight on a scale when they were measuring their item. When compared to G-d, the nations (humanity) do not have any significance. 
  • He lifts up the isles as a very little thing (literally: The Islands are like a thin measurement that can be tossed). Islands (we could also think in terms of continents here, as continents are also surrounded by water on all sides) are so small and thin in comparison to G-d that He could easily pick them up and throw them. G-d is very great and is way above and beyond His creation. 

v16: Lebanon is not sufficient to burn: Lebanon was famous for its great forests. What Isaiah is revealing to us is that G-d is so great that even if we had to burn, in a sacrificial way, all the trees of Lebanon (all the wood in Lebanon) they would not be able to generate enough heat for an acceptable sacrifice. 

  • Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering: G-d is so great that even if we had to sacrifice every single beast, they would still not be enough for a burnt offering that is appropriate to G-d. All the trees in Lebanon and all the animals would not be sufficient to make a proper offering or sacrifice unto G-d.

Note: Over and over again Isaiah is showing us that G-d is beyond, He transcends, His creation. G-d is NOT a part of creation. He transcends it. 

v17: If we had to add up all the nations, they are nothing, zero, of absolutely no significance, when compared to G-d. 

v18: When it comes to measuring the likeness of G-d, trying to find something similar to put up against Him, there is no measurement. Nothing is of the same value or worth of G-d. He cannot be compared to anything else. 

v19: This verse speaks of the futile attempts of man to worship (idolatrous worship).

v20: Impoverished: One who is very poor. This one has experienced harsh things in his life that have left him empty. This one cannot afford the statues of gold and silver, however, he too desires to bring an offering. 

  • A tree that will not rot: He chooses a tree that has good wood. 
  • A carved image:  A statue.

Note: In the last two verses we have been shown an example of humanity in darkness. Nevertheless, even those in darkness understand the need to worship. They understand that it is right to worship. Within their limitations or means, and with their poor understanding, they try in their own way to ascribe some kind of worship to G-d. This worship is inadequate. All human attempts to worship G-d fail and fall far short of what is appropriate or right. It is ONLY when we respond to G-d’s instruction (which He has given us in His Word), not thinking according to the imaginations of our own minds, that we will be able to worship G-d in a way that is pleasing to Him – in Spirit and in truth (John 4:22-24). If we do not worship G-d in the way that He desires to be worshipped, then we are not true worshippers but are idolators. True worship involves making ourselves dependent upon G-d’s instruction and revelation and, through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, approaching G-d in a way that He finds acceptable. We are dependent on G-d’s revelation to know what His acceptable is. 

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