Reformed Baptist Church - Providence Baptist Church

I Am God, And There Is No Other (Isaiah 46:9-10)

By Pastor Eric Johnson

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Focus Text: Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)

9 "...remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose..."

The Lord will take us through tests to teach us Biblical truths that we thought we knew in our heads.

We are better theologians in our thoughts than we are in our lives. We know a lot more than we put in to practice.

The Lord must teach us and there is no better place of learning than out in the world.

It is one thing to learn how to do something in a classroom, but it’s something else to put it into practice in real life.

The Lord places us in circumstances that teach us about Himself. It’s kind of like going to college.

God will sign you up for classes that you wouldn't want to take. Why? Because He is more interested in your spiritual growth than you are. He is more interested in seeing you grow into the likeness of Himself and His Son more than you are. 

He doesn't ask what life lesson you'd like to take and you don't get to pick.

God gives us tests in life and we can either view them as things that get in the way of our spiritual growth or things that God is using to grow us spiritually.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV):

9 "...remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose..."

Sometimes the context of a verse of scripture gets understood differently when read while you're in the heat of a spiritual battle as opposed to when it's read when you're not. 

Many of our brothers and sisters in countries where they are literally depending upon God for their daily survival understand Isaiah 46:9-10 differently than we do.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV):

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We have been studying a God who is incomprehensible. Job reminds us that what we see around us of His creation and the miracles He performs are just the edges of who He is.

God has not revealed to us all that He is. He is everything the scriptures refer to Him to be and more.

In order for us to understand who He is, He must tell us who He is. He must come down to us and He did in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 17:3 (ESV):

3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

There is a dichotomy of God's incomprehensibleness matched against Him wanting us to know Him.

We must humble ourselves to the fact that God is totally independent. He doesn't need any created human and He lacks nothing.

"So why did He create us?" you may ask. To share with us His glory so that we may know this one and only God. He extended His grace to create us.

To paraphrase John Piper: In the midst of all the universe, there sits earth. It is so small that in the overall scheme of the size of the universe, no bigger than an electron. Then God in all his wisdom and glory decides to put life on that planet and that one only. But man tries to look for other planets and life on them because with all that space, there has to be something else out there, right? What's the point in all that lost space? It is lost space if it's about us. It's not lost space if it's NOT about us, but about GOD.

God holds the universe in the span of His hands. Scientists find new galaxies every week which shows that the universe goes on, and on, and on, and on. They say there are more stars in the sky than sand on the beaches and the Bible says God calls them all by name.

Psalm 147:4 (ESV):

4 He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names.

God is unchanging. He doesn’t morph or evolve and what He hated in the Old Testament He hates today. Do not misunderstand God’s extension of grace - we can see in the Old Testament where the earth swallowed people up because of rebellion - that still happens today.

God is still ruling and God is still reigning. He may not be as bold as allowing people to be swallowed up, but He is still on the throne. And know, when He doesn’t do that, that is grace. It’s not that He is uncaring, it is an extension of His grace. Every day that a sinner lives is another day they could repent. That is what we should be praying for.

God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. There is no place where God is not. His eyes are on the evil and the good. God is there in the hurting and God is there in the sin. He is there when the pink slip comes and He is there when someone hurts you. God is present in all of it and He sees all and knows all.

The end of some of these things may be surprise and conviction, but the end of all them should be that He loves you anyway.

In his book “Knowing God”, J.I. Packer reminds us concerning this issue of knowing God that it is possible for one to know a great deal about God without having much knowledge of Him. It is possible for someone to sit in church and agree with all the doctrines of grace, or know all the scriptures or hymns in the hymnal, but know nothing about the saving grace of God.

Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV):

22 On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?”

23 And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

It doesn’t matter which church you attend. It is possible for you to sit on a pew an entire lifetime and know lots of things ABOUT God, but have know knowledge OF God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV):

5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Do your children know the Lord? Do they TRULY know Him? It is possible for you to raise up children, rebellious ones at that, who can quote John 3:16 but know nothing about the saving grace of Jesus Christ! Judas, for example, who was the son of Simon Iscariot, followed the Lord for three and a half years and we all know the legacy he left.

J.I. Packer goes on to say that one can know a great deal about godliness, but know little about God.

Sometimes we measure our spirituality by the things that we DON'T do. Yes, there are certain things we shouldn’t do - we should be holy and separate from the world - but, you can get so deep in this type of thinking that you begin to believe that your righteousness is determined by those things. A good example of this were the Pharisees. They would raise their hands and state, “We’ve kept all the law.” (Which they hadn’t.) But what did Jesus call them? He called them lost.

J.I. Packer asks, “What then is the essence of knowing God?” What is the evidence of someone who has had a life-changing experience? Someone whom God has awakened their heart and redeemed? What will that person look like? This is the hundred-thousand dollar question in most churches today. What does a “Christian” look like?

Daniel 11:32 (NKJV):

32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

J.I. Packer puts it this way…Those who know God have great energy for God. Is there a time when they may lose that energy? Yes. There are times when they grow tired. We can look at the man whom the Bible says was “a man after God’s own heart” - David. Did he sin? Yes. Then if David could sin, what are the chances that those who are energetic for God will sin? Very high.

A person who knows the Lord is a person who has great energy for the Lord. They are a person who has desires for great exploits for the Lord. They long to see God magnified above the nations.

Psalm 96:3 (ESV):

3 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!

Can you have great energy FOR God, but know nothing ABOUT God? It appears that you can because it can be faked.

J.I. Packer says that those who know God have great thoughts of God.

Daniel 4:34 (ESV):

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Daniel 9:4,7,9,14 (NKJV):

4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments…

7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.

14 Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.

In the preceding verses, we see a commitment and a confession, but we also see great thoughts of who God is.

There are times that we feel forsaken by the Lord. There are times when we feel all alone, far from the Lord. Even the psalmist asks, “O Lord, Why have you forsaken me? Why have you reminded silent in these things?” Yes, God indeed does do this. It’s in times like these that our theology is truly tested. What is God’s response?

Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV):

6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

In these times, will you go with feelings, or will you go with facts? Often, in those darkest times of life, feelings will take precedence over facts. However, someone who is seriously seeking the Lord and wrestles with feelings and facts, will have awesome thoughts of who God is.

The only time in scripture where the word "awesome" is used, it's in reference to God. There are many things on this earth that are good, but none of them are "awesome". God is the only one whom that word accurately describes.

J.I. Packer says that those who know God show great boldness for God.

Think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who, when confronted about not praying to the king's idol, refused to do so and chose to be put in the fiery furnace instead.

Daniel 3:17-18 (ESV):

17 "If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Note this theological point in these verses...God doesn't always rescue. There are those who have been "thrown in the fiery furnace" but God did not go in with them as he did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three young men knew this, that's why they said what they said, but they also said that regardless, they would not bow down.

J.I. Packer says that those who know God have great contentment in God.

We all wrestle with Biblical truths in some fashion in our walk with God. But God gives a peace that passes understanding in the midst of life's storms.

Romans 5:1,8 (ESV):

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

8 ...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

According to verse 1, if a person is justified, he has great peace.

Romans 8:1 (ESV):

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

We find in Romans 5:1 that we're justified before the Lord. Then we find in Romans 8:1 that there is no more condemnation towards us.

Romans 8:16-17 (ESV):

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:16 adds to this by letting us know that now we're part of God's family - an heir with Jesus Christ. We've gone from being God's enemies in Romans chapter 1, to being sons and daughters. We should have joy in these truths. We're now joint heirs with Christ and, according to Romans 8:17, we will be glorified with Him.

These truths are the backdrop to Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28 (ESV):

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We should be comforted by the verses we just read. And according to Romans 8:28, we now know that God has a purpose in all these things. What is that purpose? It's found in Romans 8:29.

Romans 8:29 (ESV):

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

The work that God is doing in our lives is in order to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We look nothing like Christ, but we've been justified, freed from condemnation, and made heirs because of what He did. We also know that God has a purpose and that purpose is to mold us into the image of His Son. And this all culminates in Romans 8:30.

Romans 8:30 (ESV):

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

So, God's justified us. Now we don't face condemnation. Now we're heirs with Christ, and He's working so that all things are good and accomplishing His purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. Now, look at Romans 8:31.

Romans 8:31 (ESV):

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

How is that? How is that when the whole world hates you, people on your job hate you, or your family has forsaken you? If GOD is for you, then who can be against you? Look at Romans 8:33.

Romans 8:33 (ESV):

33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

Who generally brings charges against us? Generally it is Satan. He whispers derogatory charges in our ears. We should stop arguing with him and start agreeing with him.

"You're not worthy." - You're right.

"You don't look like a Christian." - You're right, I don't. I'm a work in progress.

"You're not justified." - You're right. I'm not justified by me because it's God who justifies.

Romans 8:35-37 (ESV):

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

No-one can bring a charge against us because it is God who is working all these things in us. And we're conquerers because of Christ who loved us.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV):

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How can Paul make such a statement? Because it is God who set His love upon us. It is God who showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It is His work, thus proving that those who know God have great contentment.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV):

9 "...remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose..."

Isaiah 42:8-9 (ESV):

8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

God in His knowledge knows the future - nothing, absolutely nothing, takes Him by surprise. This statement generally begs the question, "Then why doesn't He stop some things?" One answer, and probably the main answer, is God doesn't tell us.

Deuteronomy 29:29a (ESV):

29a “The secret things belong to the Lord our God..."

Why He's doing what He's doing and why He's going in the direction He's going, He doesn't always explain. But we can be assured that He knows the future and all things will culminate in the end of His purpose.

God also knows our thoughts.

Psalm 139:1-3 (ESV):

1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Young people, God knows what you will be. God sees. God knows. God has a plan and He will even take the wrath of man and use it to bring Himself glory. Be assured, God knows all things about His universe.

Psalm 55:9 (ESV):

9 Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.

God's knowledge is of one simple act. When we learn new knowledge we have to go through a process of learning which then allows us to accomplish what we were learning to do. God, however, doesn't learn this way. In fact, He doesn't need to learn anything because He knows everything and He knows it in one simple act.

Psalm 90:4 (ESV):

4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

2 Peter 3:8 (ESV):

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God has known us since the foundation of the world. He knew when we would sin. He knew who our children would be and where they would end up. He even knows how and when we will die. Nobody arrives in Heaven late or early. It is comforting to know that the Lambs Book of Life was sealed before the foundation of the world and every name that's in that book will be found in Heaven. God will see to it.

God's knowledge is immensely vast. Man can't even begin to know as much as God. But God knows all the facts and the end from the beginning and He knows this in one simple act. Therefore, we can say that God's knowledge is all inclusive.

God knows all our deeds and actions.

Psalm 139:2-3 (ESV):

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Young people, there's nothing you can do that God does not see. Parents, there's nothing you can do that God does not see.

Psalm 139:4 (ESV):

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

There's not a word you say or form to say that God does not know.

Psalm 139:2b (ESV):

2b discern my thoughts from afar.

Not only does God know the things we say, but God knows the things we think about. We can add these to the sin list. Now it's not just the sins we commit, but the sins we think about.

Matthew 5:28 (ESV):

28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

According to Exodus chapter 3, God knows man's sorrows.

Exodus 3:7 (ESV):

7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings..."

God knows our sorrows, he even knows the number of hairs on our heads.

If you are a sinner today, God already knows you're a sinner. God committed His love towards you in that while you were still a sinner, Christ, His Son, died for you. He died to give you life.

You already know how bad a sinner you are. God hates sinners. We've heard many times the old adage, "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner." That's not what the Bible says.

Psalm 5:5 (ESV):

5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

Why? Let's think about what man has done. Man has robbed God of His glory. Man has trampled on God's creation. Man has taken claim to everything that God has created. And man crucified His Son. Yes, according to what man has done God has a reason to hate us, but He committed His love towards us in that while we were still a sinners, Christ died for us.

If you are without Christ today, God knows your condition. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you. However, if you are a saint today, and you think you can sin and get away with it, you need to stop because God sees you and He will bring chastisement.

Hebrews 12:6 (ESV):

6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

And know that God may not chasten you at the moment of sin, but he will chasten you later. You must realize that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you so much that He will chase you to the ends of the world.

If you are a saint today who is in sorrow, rest assured that God knows. He knew about it long before the sorrow ever came. God, in His mercy and grace, has placed people around you and His Word in you to help you so that you will say, "He will never leave me nor forsake me."

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