Summary: God transcends words. He is beyond language. We cannot reduce Him to our experience. God is unique and different from anything in this world. He is massive, boundless, beyond all imagining. God is His own category.
I’d like to explain to you Who God is…but I can’t. Isaiah speaks of God as so massive, so far above us, that we can barely take in who He is. God surpasses human comprehension. Some people think they can put God “in a box”; that is, have Him fully figured out. How arrogant for anyone to presume they deserve or could even understand an explanation of why God works the way He does.
It’s been said, “A comprehended God is no God” (John Chrysotom). The Babylonians had idols they understood; after all, they made them! (Isaiah’s words are for them as well). “The mind is a perpetual factory of idols” (Calvin). Israel was captured by Babylon’s armies; they need not be intimidated by Babylon’s gods. Babylon, like all nations, is “a drop in the bucket”, verse 15. Statism is where people exalt their nation above their Maker. We saw this in ancient Rome, and we see it today in North Korea. In verse 26, Isaiah tells us to look up toward the heavens. The stars are witnesses to the Creator. We gaze upward in wonder and awe. There is more to God than we can ever imagine. Everything submits to His power.
Polytheism--which was rampant in the ancient world, and still exists in some places today--is the belief in many deities. People cannot imagine one God doing all the work in making and running the universe…yet the One True God works with unaided wisdom and power. He exists without assistance. He needs no help. He is able to deliver because He is the only God. All other manufactured deities are counterfeits, inferior substitutes. People seek to create God in their own image. We may not be worshipping nature or bowing down to idols, yet we’re still susceptible to idolatry, which is trusting in anything other than God. An idol is anything we love, rely on, and obey more than God. “Anything we love to the exclusion of the Maker of us all is a golden calf” (Madeline L’Engle).
In Psalm 121 David says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” David finds no help from the hills. Temples for idols were built on hilltops. But there is no help or protection from any of the false gods. Don’t look to the hills—accept no substitutes. We look to El-Shaddai, the “Most High God.” To us, the universe is immeasurable, but not for God. And God cannot be measured by His creation. We depend on Him; He does not depend on us; He does not even need us, yet chooses to include us in His Kingdom-work. God is self-existent; we exist because of Him. We are finite, limited; God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, and all-powerful.
While Scripture tells us some information about God, human language is limited, for God transcends words. He is beyond language. We cannot reduce Him to our experience. God is unique and different from anything in this world. He is massive, boundless, beyond all imagining. “To whom will You compare Me?” verse 25. God is His own category, and He alone can ask such questions.
Sometimes we arrogantly think we know better than God. We don’t like what we see in life, so we tell God how things ought to be run. God needs no advice. We’ve all heard people say, “I’d like to tell God a thing or two.” -As if they knew best. It’s the height of arrogance. They must think they have immaculate perception! The Apostle Paul cautions us in Romans 11: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” (33). Isaiah affirms that “God’s thoughts are above our thoughts; His ways are above our ways” (55:8).
God fashioned us in His image…but we sometimes attempt to fashion God according to our ideas. We fashion a God who fits our preferences. We may fashion a kind grandfatherly God, or a vengeful God. In the Book of Exodus, God declares simply: “I Am Who I Am” (3:14)…“not necessarily who you think I am or who you’d like Me to be; I am who I am—and so you may as well adjust your thinking and expectations accordingly” (John Jefferson Davis). There is no other. “God can know all of us; we can never know all of God” (Phil Yancey).
What can we know then? Human understanding began with the Originator of all things. We begin to perceive God the Creator through His Creation; nature testifies to Him; His fingerprints are everywhere. The whole Creation of God preaches. Verses 21-22 state that God sits enthroned above the world He created. In the story of Creation, the Bible tells us Who, and why, not how. We need to perceive God as the primary source, the fundamental laws of physics as the secondary. Scientists typically admit the orderliness of nature but refuse to consider the Source of that orderliness. Chesterton wrote: “Nature is not our mother; Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty since we have the same Father.” This means we can look at a sunset and know Who to thank.