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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Isaiah 40:18, "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?"

This morning, there are things beyond our ability to understand or comprehend, but with many of these mysterious subjects we have some basis for comparison. For example, I do not understand the intricacies or fine points in certain fields of study such as mechanical engineering or aerospace studies, but there are general concepts of these things that I can grasp as they draw from principles that overlap into my field of study: electrical engineering. Both fields of study employ the laws of physics, and from those general concepts, I can form a basis of likeness or comparison. Other examples could be brought forth such as the comparison of the church to a bride. If someone has never been a bride (in natural life) but blessed to be a part of the church, there is a worthy comparison from which one could understand the adulation that is experienced at such a time. So, the use of unperfect (incomplete) or imperfect (flawed) comparison does serve the
purpose of enlightening the mind about things difficult to comprehend. But, how does one compare God? What likeness is there to be found?

One of the reasons that Isaiah 40 is one of my favourite chapters in all the Scriptures (if not THE favourite) is the elegant, simple, but powerful language to describe God and His place in relation to His creation. All the physical descriptions: measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, meted heaven with a span (verse 12), the nations as a drop of a bucket before Him (verse 13), sitteth upon the circle of the earth (verse 22), inhabitants like grasshoppers before Him (verse 22), and so on show forth His most excellent and august place before all other things. When looking at the language of how small and little the creation is before Him, what thinking mind could possibly then declare that chaos rules the universe? While He has not actively dictated every event of time, no one should wonder whether or not He still rules and is in control. If He can hold the universe in His hand (based on the language), what is too hard for Him or outside of
His jurisdiction? Who could extend outside of His control? One may say, "Then why are things so bad?" The simple answer is, "Man is a sinner, willfully made that way by his own choice." But the fact remains that the One in control will mete out and measure justice for the things outside of His pleasure committed by the hands of men.

Considering the language and tenor of the entire chapter, beginning with grace and ending with providence and comfort with God's power and might all the way in between, the prophet almost pauses in the middle of the great scene to ask, "How would you compare God?" Many today look for objects or concepts to compare Him with. Most do so with the understanding that, while their comparison is imperfect and/or unperfect, it is still a worthy comparison. Notice the language "liken" from our verse. The use of "like" or "as" denotes a simile (similar) comparison with the understanding that the two things are not fully comparable. The prophet asks, "How would we even do that: liken God?" How could we? Nothing in the created universe serves as even a worthy likeness. Surely all would attest that nothing serves as a complete comparison, but this verse declares nothing could even be a "like" comparison. Search all the universe over, nothing will suffice,
for it is as the dust in His measure. What image could we make, for it is all from the very things spoken into existence by His pleasure. What precious thing here could suffice? Not one!

While many things in the created universe testify to the Maker, none of them are comparable to the Maker. In the universe, we see the markers of "three." There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. There are three dimensions: length, breadth, and height. Many other examples could be employed to show that the creation testifies to a Triune Creator, but could states of matter or dimensions even liken an Infinite One? The heavens show forth His handiwork (Psalm 19), but can the heavens even liken God in and of themselves? The prophet further declares (a little earlier), "Who hath been his counsellor?" (verse 13) Who is worthy to give Him advice, legal counsel, or direct Him? The only suitable and worthy comparison to God is God Himself. While this seems a simple thing to state, consider that as we have no basis in the created universe to compare Him, we should have no premonitions of fully being able to describe Him - like putting
Him in a neat little box. His ways and thoughts are vast, immeasurable, and beyond our reach.

As God can only be compared by and to Himself, it behooves us to consider the man Christ Jesus, as He is God manifested in the flesh. Since God is a Spirit (John 4:24), we cannot describe Him in that sense. How would you describe a spirit? Our best poets and scribes fail to summon the language and pen worthy of that description. Our imaginations of apparitions and vapours do not do justice to the Spirit that is our God, but a body of flesh we understand as it is comparable to us. While Jesus is not fully comparable to us, we can understand and know some things about Him, for we are blessed to have His life before us to draw nigh unto Him.

Consider that the prophets of old desired to look into the things that we now see and understand. (I Peter 1:10) The Old Testament saints had in a figure what we have now in reality, for we see the fruition of their prophecies in the Person of Jesus Christ. We have some basis to understand Him, for He was pleased to become a man, suffer for us, and be tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Jeremiah wrote that we are blessed who know and understand God. (Jeremiah 9) While we can say that we know Him (by His work of grace in our hearts and inward parts), what about understanding Him? How does one as finite as I understand one as infinite as He? Yet, Jeremiah claims a blessing for those that do. So, how do we?

By looking at our faithful and merciful High Priest, we begin to glean understanding of God, for it was manifested before us in ways that we see and understand. We see the mercy by His show of compassion on those that were healed. He did not send a prophet or angel to do it, for His own hands healed and comforted those that were sick. We see His power by the raising of the dead. Again, no third party did these things, but His very voice raised them. In the Old Testament (and even after His advent back to glory), we see His power at the hands of His ministers and prophets, but the source was not seen at that location on that occasion. When Christ did these things, we see God Himself doing these things. We see His longsuffering with the disciples who continually forgot the things He taught them. We see His glory as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth by His fulness of justness and mercy in every dealing and course.

How do these things relate to us today? Many say, "Well I was not there, and I did not see." Faith is the only thing that can give us glimpses of understanding to say that we know AND understand God. What we know we cannot liken, for again, who can liken anything to God? But, faith assures us, though we die, that God is real, He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek after Him, He sits upon His throne, and there is none like unto Him. Today, we see Jesus (by faith) crowned with glory and honour, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high. While we still do not understand exactly what the Spirit is, we do understand that right now, a glorified Man, the GodMan, sits in heaven, knowing our petitions and intercessions, and ever liveth for us. We understand that He it is that the pages of Scripture testify to, all the prophets pointed unto, the New Testament reveals, and the church worships.

In Hope,

Bro Philip