Summary: A sermon loosely based on Isaiah 46 which dwells on God's immutability (Much material adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, God Most High, chapter 25 "The Immutability of God")
Lars Wilhelmsson says, “We are all in process. We are being made.” Yes, we are but not God.
A. Exegesis on Isaiah 46
Bel and Nebo were names of two false gods the idol-worshipping nations served. It is as if now God gets personal, “naming names” when it comes to idols. These specifically are names of Babylonian gods. The names of the pagan gods Bel and Nebo are familiar to us in the names Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar.
In chapter 45 Isaiah declared that every knee will bow to the Lord, and here he pictures the gods of the great Babylon nation stooping low in humiliation.
The false gods represented by dumb dead idols must be carried; but God carries His people. He carried them from before their birth, and He promises to continue to carry them (even to gray hairs I will carry you!)
When we understand that God made us, and we are valuable to Him, then we can trust Him to carry us. It’s a worthy question: do we have to carry our gods, or does our God carry us?
Vs. 5- This verse sounds like “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?” Isaiah 40:18, NIV. And ““To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25, NIV.
Vs. 6-7 take up the theme as in Isaiah 44 of how dumb it is to make an idol and worship it.
Former things sounds like “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”” Isaiah 42:9, NIV.
I am God and there is no other like many verses in Isaiah 45
This echos many thoughts in Isaiah 40-45
My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. This proves:
That God has a purpose or plan in regard to the human race.
That God's plan will not be frustrated.
Vs. 11- This is another reference to Cyrus. God’s people need to remember that God always has a deliverer for His people, even if He has to find one among pagan kings!
Vs. 13- Isaiah 45:24. Again we go from the downfall of Babylon, the reign of Cyrus who releases the Israelites to go back to the Promised Land, to Jesus Christ who brings righteousness to His people. “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son” Galatians 4:4.
Again, the repetitions of these themes seems to indicate that this important.
Last week we talked about the extremes that the open theists rightly object to when talking about God does not change. We talked about how God acts with the world, especially with mankind, and how He has emotions, feelings both good and bad.
Change gears a little to see that we don’t need to go to far away from the concept that God does not change. The ideas that are contrary to Scripture need to be thrown out but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Malachi 3:6: I the LORD do not change.
Let’s say that we have a friend who is very intellectual. We have been friends for a while and one day he says, “I’d love to have what you have.” Begin to talk about the Christian faith. Learn that the only exposure to Christianity he has had is from public school and from his studies at the state university. Also, for a while he attended a Uniterian Universalist Church and he became interested in Process Theology. After some study of Process Theology we start to have lengthy discussions about the faith of Jesus Christ. Where do we begin?
1. Need to talk about the authority of Scripture. A process theologian does not believe that Scripture is authoritiative. The basic idea is that God is in process, He is developing, and the Bible was written at a specific point and time and now things have changed. Therefore, this idea is that the Bible is old and outdated. Process theology is position that God is changing, as is the universe. Need to emphasize the authority of the Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16.
2. If we get over that hurdle, we need to go to Genesis 1-11, need to establish this as truth. Process theologians believe that creation of entire universe from nothingness ( ex nihilo) is not possible. Science and the Theory of Evolution has proven the account in Genesis wrong say Process theologians.
3. If we get over that hurdle, we need to cover rest of OT. Should not be difficult until we come to Jesus Christ. Process theologians deny that Jesus Christ is God in flesh and mankind has no need for salvation. We just need to keep developing, learning and changing along with God.