Over the past 10 weeks, I have been meeting with two of my roommates to study the book of Genesis. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that God is the One who acts, when He acts, no one can reverse it, and there is no other (okay, so if there are three things I have learned). In the first seven verses of the bible, you see repeated phrases like, “God created”, “God said”, “God called”, and “God made”, and in the first 34 verses of the bible, “God” or the personal pronoun “He” occupies the subject of the sentence 35 times. Moses is very intentional in the way he writes the creation story. He wants to be very clear that God did it all; no one/nothing else, but God. We can see from the book of Genesis to Revelation that the bible is all about God and the glory that He deserves. I was reading Isaiah (one of my favorite books of the bible) the other night and couldn’t deny just how much God wants us to understand that He is the only one to be praised, there is no other and all glory is due His name.
Cyrus, God’s Instrument
1Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
2“I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
5I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
8“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
9“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?'”
11Thus says the LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.
13I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
says the LORD of hosts.
The LORD, the Only Savior
14Thus says the LORD: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of
and the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours;
they shall follow you;
they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will plead with you, saying:
‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
no god besides him.'”
15Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
O God of Israel, the Savior.
16All of them are put to shame and confounded;
the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17But Israel is saved by the LORD
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity.
18For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, and there is no other. 19 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I the LORD speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
20“Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
22“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
24“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”
Has He made Himself clear? Keeping this truth in mind, now combine it with passages like:
“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”
“Fear not for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.“
“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”
After reading and meditating on these truths, it’s hard to imagine that one could choose to respond to God with anything other than reverent fear, joy, worship, praise and thanksgiving.
I challenge you to continue to read through the bible to see what it is that God wants to reveal to you about His character. As you reflect on His character – imperially powerful, immortally graceful, impartially merciful – and who you are in light of Him – a sinner in need of Savior – how will you choose to respond?
I’ll leave you with a video that attempts to expand on God’s character.