Who Is Like You, Eternal One?
Do you have trouble or heartache in your life? Does the world situation worry you? Then the book of Isaiah should be a great comfort because it makes clear there’s a God in heaven who is unique, sovereign, and has everything under control.
Every Shabbat, Jewish worshipers extol His uniqueness and sovereignty with the Hebrew prayer “Mi Khamokha.” It means “Who Is Like You?” and begins, “Who is like you, Eternal One, among the gods worshiped? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?”
He alone is sovereign. His very being is superlative. Excellent. Supreme. Autonomous. Paramount. Absolute. He rules over individuals and nations. He is over all the earth.
The theme of God’s sovereignty and grandeur pervades the book of Isaiah, which exalts “the Holy One of Israel” as Creator of all things and Ruler over heaven and earth. He “has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth” and “weighed the mountains in scales” (40:12).
He “sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (v. 22). He is “the everlasting God, the Lᴏʀᴅ, the Creator of the ends of the earth, [who] neither faints nor is weary” (v. 28).
It’s difficult to imagine someone could read Isaiah and not be awestruck by God’s incomparable majesty and power. Isaiah experienced these attributes firsthand, which may be why his prophecies project such a strong, imposing image of God as sovereign King:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim;…And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (6:1–3).
Seeing this manifestation of the Lord made Isaiah so acutely aware of his own sinfulness that he trembled for his life: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (v. 5). Yet God, ever merciful, purged Isaiah’s sin as soon as the prophet confessed his unworthiness (vv. 6–7).
Things to Come
Not only does Isaiah stress God as Creator of all, but it also stresses God as controller of all. His limitless power is unhindered by time and space, and nothing deters Him from obtaining His objectives—which He is fully capable of revealing long before He accomplishes them:
Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? (43:13). For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (46:9–10). So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (55:11).
Consequently, when God makes a promise, He is capable of keeping it. When He decides to empower a man to utter predictive prophecy, the man is empowered. And when He decides to accomplish something in your life. He will do it (Phil. 1:6; 1 Th. 5:24).
More than 100 years before Israel was taken captive to Babylon, “the Lᴏʀᴅ, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by [Himself]” (44:24) told Isaiah His “shepherd” Cyrus, a future king of Persia, would “perform all My pleasure” (v. 28) and allow the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem. In a powerful demonstration of His authority, God used Cyrus, “His anointed,…to subdue nations before him” (45:1). God is sovereign over rulers.
He is also sovereign over nations and world events: “The nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales” to God (40:15). He establishes them and destroys them. He used the cruel, pagan Medes, calling them “My sanctified ones” (13:3), to inflict judgment on Babylon. He devastated Egypt with civil war (19:2), drought, and economic calamity (vv. 5–10); and yet, one day, in God’s sovereignty, Egypt will possess a blessed position in His Kingdom (vv. 21, 25).
God judged Assyria when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers threatening Jerusalem (37:36). He imposed His sovereign rule on the Gentile nations of Philistia (chap. 14), Ethiopia (chap. 18), Moab (chaps. 15—16), Damascus (chap. 17), Edom (chap. 34), and Tyre (chap. 23). All are His subjects.
And He is ever watchful over Israel:
I will not forget you [Zion]. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands (49:15–16). I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children (v. 25). With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you (54:8).
He alone is God. He is the King of Israel; the Redeemer; the Lord of hosts, who says of Himself, “I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God” (44:6).
The same sovereign God desires to bring comfort to His often wayward, disobedient children: “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!…Speak comfort to Jerusalem,…that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lᴏʀᴅ’s hand double for all her sins (40:1 2).
In His sovereignty lies the promise and hope of salvation. More than 700 years before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah prophesied that God would send a unique sin-bearer, born of a virgin (7:14), who would be “exalted and extolled and be very high” (52:13). Yet He would be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (53:5). “The chastisement for our peace [would be] upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (v. 5).
Do you have troubles? Trust your life to the sovereign God. No one can help you like He can.