God Does Not Exalt Man
17All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him . . . 21Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It 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 like a tent to dwell in. —Isaiah 40:17-18; 21-22
One of the tasks in understanding God’s agenda is to realize what it is not. There are many false conceptions in this world about God’s agenda. So just track with me for a moment, please.
First of all, God’s agenda is not the exaltation of man. Do you think that God made the world so He could put us up on a pedestal and just display the splendor of what He made in us? That’s not God’s thing at all. Isaiah 40:17 and Isaiah 40:22 give the following reality check to any human illusions of importance. Note the phrases in context above:
- All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness.
- It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
That’s us, grasshoppers. We’re no more than insects in the grand scheme of things. It is God “who brings the princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness” (v.23). We may start believing our own PR, but God says, “Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he just blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble” (v.24).
Eight times in Scripture, as in Job 8:4 (kjv), the writer of Scripture asks, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” And what’s the answer to the question? “Hey, what’s man anyway? What’s humanity, that You even think about us?” And the answer is, nothing. There’s not one thing intrinsically in us that would make God go, “Wow! I want to spend some time thinking about them.” We don’t and can’t generate value in ourselves. That’s all nonsense. It’s humanistic, psychological confusion spilling into the church.
You say, “Well, what a strange missions text. Why would a proper view of human unworthiness lead us to a compelling view of our duty to spread the Gospel?” Stay with me. All of the inhabitants are nothing before God. The sun doesn’t rise on us, it doesn’t set on us. God’s agenda is not the exaltation of man. But God’s agenda does graciously and lovingly have man in mind—which makes the Good News really worth sharing! —James MacDonald
· Why do I think the illusion that I have value in and of myself leads to devaluing God and the possibility of a relationship with Him?
· So, where do I derive the value of my life?
Prayer - Heavenly Father, You created us and know us in ways we can hardly imagine. We live our lives day by day but You see from the moment of our existence to the instant of our shift to eternity and beyond. Thank You for valuing us as redeemable creatures when there was nothing we had to offer except our broken and lost selves. Today, Father, remind me that in Your eyes I am worth far more, as Jesus said, than two sparrows. Help me rest in Your love towards me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.