Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." (Isaiah 45:21-23)
I preached about God’s questions and declarations in these verses several months ago. One notable fact: LORD is in all caps and that indicates the supreme, ultimate god above all other gods. The gods who were worshipped in Isaiah’s time and long after that were vindictive and demanding gods. They required sacrifices, ritualistic offerings, and they were very fickle. One never knew if the god was pleased or angry, or if the sacrifice was sufficient to either placate or compel to action whichever god was the subject of worship.
More than that, icons of the gods were crafted, and many of them were huge, made of wood, or gold or stone. If a family relocated, they had to take their icons with them; villages had to transport them to whatever location was designated for worship vs. the usual “holding place” for the statuary. These gods were constantly demanding, cold, uncommunicative and impersonal.
For all these reasons, it was difficult for the prophets to convince their contemporaries that there was another god – one who deeply desired to be in relationship with them; a god who loved them and had offered, even after Adam’s fall, a way to paradise. Remember, Christ had not come on to the scene at this point.
God made his promise, and then swore by himself-since there was no one greater to swear by – sort of like we would say “I swear on my life.” It was serious and important. Even though we say we are “Easter People,” living out our resurrection promise, we continue to worship false gods, don’t we? There were and never will be any gods that offer what the LORD offers. Think about all the things and people we worship with our money, our time, our minds, our bodies. We haven’t really changed much as a race in all the thousands of years since Adam and Eve.
We still think we can treat the LORD as we do all the other gods in our lives. We worship, honor, obey Him when it’s convenient. We seek His presence in times of need. We thank Him only when we receive what makes us happy. All the other gods in our lives – every single one – wear out and disappoint us. None of them can fulfill and sustain us for a lifetime the way the LORD can.
Have any of those other gods ever offered us anything close to the priceless gift of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection? Do any of them even come close? People disappoint us, possessions burn up or are destroyed by flood or wind, stolen, coveted, hoarded. They zap us of our energy, our time and our resources. They do not replenish us. Nor do they offer us eternity in paradise.
They are short-term gods, suitable and satisfactory only for the here-and-now.Actually, they aren’t even satisfactory! If they were, we wouldn’t feel so bad pursuing them! God doesn’t require us to pursue Him. He is ready and waiting for us!
He woos us and dotes on us and longs for us to realize He is already present in our lives. This is so counter to everything else in our lives, it may be difficult to grasp and believe. But it is true. The LORD wants you to be with Him in heaven, and He has already prepared a place for you. That truth makes it a bit easier to give up all the other gods and offer all our honor, praise, prayers and thanksgiving to HIM. By Him, every tongue shall swear.
My prayer today is that you cast aside all the false gods in your life. And that you take comfort and rejoice in the truth that the LORD loves you and longs for you.