Last time, we looked at Isaiah 40:12-17 to get a proper perspective of ourselves in comparison to the Lord. Isaiah 40:18-24 turns its focus almost completely on God, To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. (NASU)
No matter how hard the creature tries, he will not be able to fashion an idol that will adequately represent the Creator. No matter the man’s level of skill, intelligence, and diligence, he will not be able to manufacture an idol that will pay proper tribute to God. No matter how much expense the worshiper goes to he will not be able to honor God. Surely, the ancients were wrong in constructing idols of wood and stone. Just as surely, we moderns are wrong in creating idols of entertainers, material possessions, family members, and self. Just like theirs, our idols rust, rot, and totter.
The passage continues in verse 21, Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to 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 out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. (NASU)
The natural order of creation makes it plain that God is transcendent and without equal. Man cannot fully comprehend God, His thoughts, or His plans. The vastness of the universe is a great indicator of the vastness of God. He sits enthroned above the horizon of the earth; men are tiny by comparison and in every way. Human rulers govern only by His permission. The judgments of human judges only stand if He allows. These human rulers and judges hold zero sway in God’s government. From the very beginning of an earthly reign, every ruler in every place rules at the pleasure of God. With no effort, God can remove any and all rulers, and leave no trace of them on the face of the earth.
If God has this power over the mighty men of the earth, surely, He has the same power over you and me and all the men and women of the earth. Death is the great enemy of every class of society. Death destroys all distinctions among men. Death is coming for great and small, including you and me. It behooves us to put away, rather destroy, all our idols. They are an offense to our incomprehensible, unfathomable, holy, holy, holy God. He is the Living God and desires a real relationship with the humans He created. That relationship can only be through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, not through ancient idols, nor modern versions either. Resist the great post-modern temptation to attempt to enthrone yourself and pass judgment on God. That cannot turn out well for you. The Creator came as Savior, but He will come again as Judge and Avenger. Put away your idols, before it is everlastingly too late.