In this text, there is a question posed by the prophet: "To whom then will you liken God?" All of mankind must answer the question posed in verse 12 and your answer to the first question determines the answer to the second in verses 13 and 14. The Lord declares that He created all things and this means that the Lord determines right/wrong, good/evil, light/darkness (verse 14) It also means that the Lord is not dependent upon, nor answerable to, His creation (verses 15 â€“ 17). So in a very practical sense, the civil order is as nothing to the creator. They must answer to Him, not He to them. It is a grave error and a provocation to the Creator to presume to drag Him before the court of human "justice". "To whom then will you liken God?" we are asked again in verse 18 â€“ 20. Having declared His rights as the Creator/God, the Lord challenges the whole world: "to whom will you compare me?" It is in the nature of fallen man to make his own false gods â€“ and so they do to this day. Notions of so-called social justice and the voice of the people determining right and wrong are the god's of the day. BUT THEY ARE NOT LIKE, NOR A REPLACEMENT FOR, THE LORD!
The prophet further asks, "Have you not known? Have you not heard?" in verses 21 â€“ 24. In particular, have you not known? Have you not heard that He sits above the circle of the earth? (verses 21, 22) That is, He is in His place (notice He is sitting secure in His place) as King over the earth, though at times it appears that the wrong is oh so strong, He is the ruler yet. As the text says, He inhabits the realm of heaven. That is, He is imminent in His creation. He has not abandoned us to our own devices and certainly has not left us to determine right and wrong for ourselves. Christian, you know this and you have heard this. Now, believe this! Have you not known? Have you not heard that He brings the princes to nothing? (verse 23) Every prince, potentate and president will die and return to the dust. So will all of the schemes of the ungodly ones. Each magistrate, judge and law-maker will die and stand before the great King and Judge. Each will give an account of the honor and power they have been given. How greatly should they quake even now if they despise the law and honor of God! If they do not, then they are fools! Read Psalm 36! Have you not known? Have you not heard He will cause them to wither and blow away? (verse 24) The wicked powerful of the earth have the appearance of permanence, but it is an illusion. Indeed, they have deceived themselves and love to be deceived. And their quick end will be one of woe. Hear the Word of the Lord as spoken through the Prophet Isaiah: Isaiah 3:9 The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. Isaiah 3:11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him. Isaiah 5:18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 10:1 "Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed Isaiah 29:15 Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?" Isaiah 30:1 "Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD! Did you read that last woe carefully? That was a woe pronounced upon you and me if we look to "Egypt" for aid. That is, if we look to mere material and human aids. No! Verses 25 to the end of the chapter tell us where we are ato look.
Again, the prophet asks, "To whom then will you liken me? (verses 25, 26) The prophet tells us, "Lift up your eyes and seeâ€¦" The Lord is manifested in the order of the creation. Who set the planets in their courses, and the galaxies spinning in their habitations? Who keeps all the stars in their places and plots their tracks across the sky? The ungodly and unbeliever will snicker and howl at the answer. Let them snicker and howl, it does not change the answer. So lift up your eyes. Do you see the might and power of God? Of course you do and so does the reprobate. For him it is a truth to be suppressed, for you who love the Lord, it is an indication of the power of the Lord who will vindicate His truth and defend His people. Lift up your eyes and see. The Lord is manifested in the control of the creation. The ungodly seeks to control the creation for His own glory and aggrandizement, or he worships the creation seeks to be dominated by it. Both deny the place of God and man. And this is most clearly shown when mankind would seek to overthrow the created order and the distinctions of man and woman. But lift up your eyes. The Lord who controls the creation and sets the limits of nature will not allow the man in rebellion to overrule His order. It has been triumphantly proclaimed, "Love wins!" That, dear ones, is a wicked deception. Beloved, God wins! The Lord is triumphant and will be triumphant! (I Cor. 15:25 and Rev. 6:2) The Lord Jesus Christ is the one who conquered hell and death. How much more so will He conquer those who have openly declared their rebellion against His rule. Lift up your eyes and see. The Lord is manifested in the preservation of the creation. The Scriptures say in Colossians 1:16, 17, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." That is, lift up your eyes and see that the very fact the universe has not collapsed tells you that the Lord is still preserving His creation until the last day. Lift up your eyes and see that the same one who preserves the creation will even more so preserve you and me even in these dark days. Let the nations rage, let the courts rule; it is the Lord who reigns and it is to Him alone we swear loyalty and allegiance. Let the Gentiles rage, the Lord reigns indeed!
Have You Not Known? Have You Not Heard? (verses 27 â€“ 29) The Lord has revealed that He is attentive to our distresses. Though the faithful ones in Isaiah's day may have said, "my way is hid from the Lord and my judgment is passed over from my God" the Lord does hear the prayers of His people and He does know what is happening in the world. As verse 28 tells us, the Lord still in control. The Lord is not weary. The Lord is not blind and deaf. But as the verse says, "His understanding is unsearchable". That is, we often will not understand the wisdom of the Lord, but we can know that we are to trust Him. The truth is, the Lord still gives what is needful to His people. (verse 29) He gives power to the weak. Do you feel weak? Do you feel defeated? Trust in the Lord and He will give you strength. The means of grace, the Word of God, the Sacraments, and prayer are there for you. Do not neglect them. He increases strength to those who have no might. Times when endurance and power are needed may be coming very soon. You do not have to trust in yourself. In fact, I am telling you to not trust in yourself. If you do , you will utterly fail. But trust in the promise that the Lord will give you the endurance and power you need. You may not see it until it is needed, but the promise is as true as the Lord is true.
So what are we to conclude? We find the conclusion in verses 30 and 31. Humanly speaking, there is no reason to trust or hope, "but those who wait upon the Lordâ€¦" have a precious promise. to those who eagerly hope and expect the Lord's vindication of His own truth and justice, "shall renew their strength." Weariness will not touch them and they will soar like eagles on renewed feathers. Of course, the implication being that there will be times when you ought to be weakened, you ought to be worn out, you ought to be weary, you ought to be faint. And that weakness and weariness will come upon you if you do not wait upon the Lord. But whatever may come, whatever the godless seek to do, whatever we are called upon to endure, do not lose heart, do not lose faith, do not despair. The Lord still sits enthroned and the Lord Jesus Christ is still King of kings and Lord of lords. Have you not seen? Have you not heard? Lift up your eyes and see. Wait on the Lord. He is still on the throne. The Lord Jesus Christ has already won the victory!
We now turn our attention to Psalm 86 and some selected verses in particular. As always, we need to keep in mind the foundational verse of Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Brothers and Sisters, Regarding the biblical doctrine and practice of forgiveness, we will look at the example of Hezekiah who sought forgiveness from God. In this chapter, Hezekiah experienced the effect of the broken relationship and the Lord's...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
The relationship between the Lord's act of forgiving is directly tied to your obligation to forgive. When considering the biblical doctrine and practice of forgiveness, there is a temporal and causal relationship which bears directly upon what...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
There is much sloppy thought and practice in regards to the biblical doctrine of forgiveness. One of the most common errors in the church and outside of it is not the withholding of forgiveness, but the idea that all of us are required to forgive...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
What is love? There have been many answers offered over the years, but in our current day the answers have become more and more irreconcilable and distant from any biblical foundation. Should we accept the notion that love is merely a...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
In the beginning of I Peter, chapter 5, the apostle provides the church with a "how-to" manual for the execution of the office of elder. The Christ-honoring performance of the calling of elder is not left up to the person called, nor to the...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
These verses represent the conclusion of the Apostle Peter's inspired instruction for us in the context of living the pilgrim life. In a sense, he summarizes what he has said before. Repetition is good. He also gives you some final application...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
At the beginning of this short passage, the prophet enlists the creation to sing the praises of God. His exhortation is based squarely upon what has come before in this chapter and is intended to encourage the Lord's people during some tumultuous...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
In today's world, straight talk is increasingly rare - even in the church. But the Scriptures present to us an unflinchingly honest view of life and the world. In this text, the apostle seeks to further prepare God's people for what may happen...[ abbreviated | read entire ]