How big is God? We often hear this question from our children. As we get older, we tend to hide this question in a dark corner of our minds and do not contemplate it. Yet, it is the question on Isaiah’s heart as he began to unveil, Yahweh, Israel’s God in Isaiah 40. The prophet focuses on how great God is because many times the people of God do not remember how great He really is.
Isaiah verbally sketched two aspects of God’s greatness in Isaiah 40:12-14. First, Isaiah told his readers God is far greater than they can imagine. Second, Isaiah wrote, the LORD’s wisdom is infinite.
We must not forget the beginning of this vision as we explore the rest of it. This God we are going to behold through the telescope of Isaiah’s words is the One who is immensely great and powerful in verse 10. He is the God who at the same time cares about us individually as a shepherd loves and cares for His sheep in verse 11. If we don’t keep these simultaneous qualities in mind, we will get lost in the expanse of God’s majesty.
How big is your God, Judah? “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:12). Isaiah described two things to grab our attention.
First, he wanted us to recognize how small the instruments for measuring appear to be: the hollow of His hand, a span, a measure, a balance scale. For us, these measures are far too small to be used to put together the things that make up the universe.
Second, Isaiah wanted us to comprehend the immensity of what God is measuring: the waters of the earth, heaven, the dust of the earth, the mountains. How big is our God? The covenant keeping, ever-faithful God of Israel is so big He can measure these immense things in precise proportions to make the world in which we live. How big is God? He is a lot bigger than we can imagine. Ephesians 3:20 is the New Testament equivalent to this idea. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
The LORD, who is big enough and powerful enough to measure and put the universe together, is also the One who is infinitely wise. How can someone describe wisdom in a word picture? Isaiah uses rhetorical questions to make his point. “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14).
Let’s explore these questions. First, who has directed the Spirit of God in creating or running the universe? Who has counseled Him or taught Him anything? The answer is no one. God never learns anything and He never forgets anything. When God designed the world and put it together, when He created history, He did not have to ask anyone. He made it all.
Second, Isaiah creates another picture with his question. Who taught the thrice-holy God about righteous, holiness and justice? This has been the question of the ages. How can a man be right with God? God is holy and we are sinful. How then can we be righteous?
Some seek to establish their own rules about righteousness. The Pharisees did that with their many rules and regulations. Churches have fallen into this trap also. God Himself and God alone established the way to righteousness. This way is through faith in Christ alone. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.” (Romans 5:1).
Finally, Isaiah asks, “And [who] showed Him the way of understanding.” God alone is the source of all wisdom. He created the world so it follows He alone understands His plan for His creation and how we are to function in it.
Now that we understand a little of this picture of the wonder of who God is, what do we do with it? How do we apply it? The Apostle Paul suggest two ways.
First, he wrote in Romans 11:33-36 about how everything that God has planned will take place concerning the Jewish people and the Gentiles. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out. ‘For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Do not be afraid, God is in control of everything in history and He will bring it to pass. This does not mean we should be like turtles and pull our heads into our shells and escape the world. We should leave the running of the world to God and just seek to be obedient in our part of the vineyard.
Second, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is rightly discerned by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” The point is while the world cannot understand the plan that God has put in place regarding our salvation, we who have the spirit of God in us can understand because He, the Spirit of God, helps us think like Christ thought.
Do we recognize how great God is?