The Degradation of the Divine
Isaiah 40:18-26
To whom then will you liken God? or what likeness will you compare to him?…

The holy indignation of the prophet is aroused as he sees the Godhead so pitifully presented to the mind, so shamefully represented to the eyes of men. He has in view the power and majesty of the Supreme One, and places in contrast the creatures of human imagination, the fabrications of the human hand. We have the degradation of the Divine -


1. The power and the majesty of God, shown in

(1) his immeasurable exaltation above all his creatures (ver. 22);

(2) the perfect ease with which he formed the most wonderful objects in creation (ver. 22);

(3) the absolute control he exercises over the mightiest of the children of men (vers. 23, 24);

(4) the knowledge and wisdom he displays in ordering the physical universe (ver. 26).

2. The utter folly of the heathen in their way of presenting Deity to their minds; attempting to fashion an image which should bear no resemblance to the Lord (vers. 18-20), as if anything that the hand of man can fashion could bear the smallest resemblance to, or be in any way fitted to suggest the idea of, the Majesty of heaven; the practical and the common issue of such idolatry being the actual acceptance of the graven image as constituting the very object of worship. We may regard the degradation of the Divine -


1. We have the true thought of God, as revealed to us by Jesus Christ - that of a Divine Father conferring on us our being and our powers, visiting us with constant loving-kindnesses, divinely interested in our highest well-being, interposing to restore us to his love and his likeness, giving his own Son to redeem us and his own Spirit to renew us, disciplining us with fatherly care, and rejoicing in our filial affection and obedience with parental joy.

2. We have the degraded thought of God which men still entertain.

(1) The fetish of the heathen world: a being, ordinarily represented by an idol, whose malignant hostility is deprecated and averted by gifts and self-inflicted penalties.

(2) The fiction of the philosopher: an impersonal power, an abstraction or generalization, an ideal humanity, etc. - something in which a few trained intellects may rest, but which no human heart can trust or love, and no human soul strive to resemble.

(3) The god of the ungodly: no being accepted by the mind but banished by the heart, unrecognized by the conscience, neglected in the life. This last is the guiltiest degradation of the Divine; for "this is the condemnation, that light is come," etc., and "He that knoweth his Lord's will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

WEB: To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him?

The Hopelessness and the Simplicity of Divine Service
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