Summary: The LORD does not like to share his position as God with other wannabes. So he declares his uniqueness as the only God to his people and warns them not to imagine him in any other way.
HAVE WE MADE GOD IN OUR IMAGE?
Few things in life make a father prouder than when his son resembles him. There is a feeling of connection and ownership when others see your expressions and physical features in your son’s face. Sometimes the son isn’t so excited to resemble “Dad” but I think ol’ Dad is reassured that, yes, this is my son.
Sometimes the resemblance is unmistakable. Take for instance the famous face of someone like Kirk Douglas. That prominent chin and those twinkling eyes that made him a star are easily visible in the face of his son, Michael Douglas. There is no doubt that they are father and son.
Another famous face is that of Martin Sheen. His serious countenance and square face are easily recognizable in his son Charlie. Martin definitely passed on his genes to his son, and not only to Charlie but to Emilio as well.
What about this face? (Mine) Can you see in this face the features of this face (my son’s)? Do you recognize these two faces as being related? Some people say that there is a striking resemblance while others say that they see the Peters family in my son.
As many fathers like to say, all the good looks, expressions and characteristics come from me. The other stuff is from his mother.
We like it if our sons resemble us. What about God? Do we imagine God in a way that expresses our interests or needs? If we are judgmental we may see God as the great judge of all. If we are hyped up on peace we see God as a God of peace overall. If we love everybody then God is of course above all a loving God. How do we see God? Does that help us create a sense of ownership of our God?
Like it or not we all tend to put God in a box. That box is our parameter for understanding God. Yet God is so great that he doesn’t fit into our box. If we can’t adjust to that concept we end up creating an idol that we call God but is not God at all, at least not fully God. We run the risk of missing the character of God altogether. So let us ask the question: Have we made God in our image?
1. There is only One God
God is a jealous God. He doesn’t like sharing the position of God with other wannabes. What Judah was doing in creating and worshiping idols insulted the LORD. He can’t remain silent; he must speak out and tell his people about Himself. This is what he does in Isaiah 44:6:
“This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God” (44:6).
The LORD says a number of things about himself to reveal his true nature to Judah. What we end up seeing is a multi-faceted God who is many things to his people. We can only touch briefly on these names.
First, God gives his name, Yahweh. That is the most holy name of God, the personal name of the covenant God.
Then he gives one of his titles, the King of Israel. This stresses his understanding that even when the great David was on the throne, the real King of Israel was still God.
Thirdly, the LORD calls himself the Redeemer. He delivered his people from bondage and sin. When Jews thought of redemption they immediately thought of their slavery in Egypt and how God purchased their freedom.
These names Isaiah had employed before in speaking of God. This next one is new. The LORD Almighty can be translated the ‘Yahweh of Armies’ or the ‘LORD of hosts.’ What it means is that Yahweh has at his disposal all armies, earthly and heavenly. It reveals that God has the resources to carry out anything he desires or decrees.
If we could meditate on those names alone we would wrestle for a lifetime with all that they mean. But the LORD goes on and gives us more. He says he is the first and the last. The first and the last…mysterious, inspiring and captivating descriptions.
The LORD is first in that he does not derive his life from anywhere else. He is self-existing and self-sufficient. He is eternally present and the eternal “I AM.”
He is the last in that he remains at the end of all things supreme and totally fulfilled. He is so complete that no one can add or take away anything from him. He is the beginning and the end; the Creator and the Judge; the full revelation and the final authority. The LORD says, “…apart from me there is no God.”