It’s not like they didn’t know it already . . . but they didn’t know it really.
They had grown up being taught it–for many, they could recite great portions of it from memory. For generations they had interacted with the temple and seen more livestock than could be counted offered on the altar. And yet, what they should have known, they didn’t.
What had been stored up in their heads, was no longer making its way to their hearts. What had become tradition no longer had the impact of truth. Their religion no longer affected their reality. What they said they knew by what they did on the Sabbath, was making very little difference in what they projected they believed as evidenced by how they went about their week. And so, in the portion of Isaiah I’m reading this morning, the Spirit goes into repeat mode to remind them of it.
“There is no other!”
I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides Me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know Me . . .
(Isaiah 45:5 ESV)
That’s the indictment declared through Isaiah, that though there is no other God, you do not know Me. That though I have done everything to make Myself known as the only God, you choose not to follow Me alone.
It is evident through creation, declares the Creator. The calamities I have ordained and allowed, they point to Me as well, says the Sovereign. The way in which I have come down to You, revealed Myself, and enveloped you should clearly demonstrate that I am unlike any other. And yet, your idols of wood are many. Your shrines of silver increase. By what you worship you evidence your lack of wonder that I am the LORD, and besides me there is no other.
Over and over again in Isaiah 45, ten times in various forms, the Spirit echoes, “No god besides Me.” If repetition is intended for emphasis, then the Spirit is shouting, “There is no other!”
It gets my attention. The rhythm of repetition says there’s something worth chewing on here. After all, like I said, it’s not like He’s talking to those who didn’t know it already. He’s talking to God’s covenant people, version 1.0. What’s He saying then to us, God’s covenant people 2.0?
Are we just as prone to know He is God and God alone and yet live like He’s but one of many gods we worship? While we might not participate in the folly of those in Isaiah’s time who took a piece of wood, used part of it to kindle a fire to warm themselves and bake bread, but then used the rest to make a god and fall down in worship before it, what other inanimate objects, or passing pursuits, are competing for the adoration and allegiance of our hearts? What other altars are we bowing before? How are we diluting the offering of our time, talents, and treasure, that should for be Him first and foremost?
Search me O God . . .
And there is no other god besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
(Isaiah 45:21b-22 ESV)
I do believe He is God, and God alone. That there is none beside Him worthy of our worship. That there is no other like Him deserving of our faithful service. No god which should be competing for our affection. That there is none like our God who is able to save . . . and save to the uttermost!
Might what I know already, be reflected in how I live my life really.
By His grace. For His glory.