Summary: This text addresses the uniqueness of God on Palm Sunday.
April 9, 2006 Isaiah 45:22-25
"Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ’In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.’" All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.
God begins verse 22 with an evangelical exhortation - "turn to me." The literal word in the Hebrew says to "face me." When your dad says, "look at me when I’m talking to you!", you know he is serious. It’s a personal and intense command. But here God is telling His Israelites to face HIM. This is a tall task. When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah and his wife to announce to them the birth of Samson, listen to what happened in Judges 13:19-22
Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD. "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"
Manoah recognized that because he faced God he should have been doomed die, because of his sinfulness. We must recognize then that in asking the Israelites to "face Him," God was asking the Israelites to perform the impossible. What is even stranger is that the Holy God promised them that through turning to Him they would be saved, and not put to death. How could this be? How did Manoah survive as well?
We see how this becomes possible - especially on Palm Sunday. Instead of calling on us to go up Mt. Sinai to view God in His glory, God comes riding into town in the form of a MAN. What is even more amazing is that He comes riding on a DONKEY. Who ever heard of a God who can ride on a donkey - or a God who WOULD ride on a donkey? What a strange God this is! This shows us an important truth on this Palm Sunday. Isaiah said, "I am God, and there is no other." This shows us that -
God is Definitely a One of A Kind
I. Because of His mouth
Isaiah says the first thing that sets God apart from all other gods is the way He uses His mouth. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. The thing that sets God’s words above all words is that whatever He says sticks. It can’t be revoked. This immediately brought to mind the story of Esther. In this book, King Xerxes - a rather eccentric king - gave one of his top deputies - a man by the name of Haman - the green light to go ahead and basically eradicate the Jews from within their country. It wasn’t until after Xerxes made the decree that he realized that his beautiful wife - Esther - was a Jew. However, since he had already declared the law - according to the rule of the Medes and Persians - it couldn’t be revoked. It seemed that they felt that by revoking a former command it would make the king look indecisive and less than divine. God’s Word also cannot be revoked.
I remember when I was in high school and I heard a sermon that really hit me because of this very concept. The preacher really brought it home that we were ALL sinners - and because of this - God’s Word declared that we all deserve God’s punishment. I remember thinking to myself, "if God declares that I deserve hell, then there’s nothing I can do to change that. He doesn’t lie. He’s not lying to me. This is what God’s Word says - and there’s nothing I can do to change that!" Oh, that’s a terrifying thought. If God declares that He is going to condemn you, then He will condemn you. There’s no where you can run, nothing you can do to undo God’s declaration.