For the week of July 24, 1999 / 11 Av 5759
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26

He Is God and We Are Not

Comfort, comfort my people says your God (Isaiah 40:1).

This week’s portion reads like an overture. While it is a unit, it flows beautifully from grand theme to grand theme. Through Isaiah’s words we hear of God’s comfort, the coming of the Messiah, the enduring nature of God’s word, the foolishness of idolatry, and so on. But if there is an overriding theme throughout, it is summarized in this verse.

"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One (25).

There is no one like God. He, as the creator and sustainer of the universe, is greater than all things. There is nothing that we can do or offer to him that can come close to his greatness.

This is why idolatry is ridiculous. How can we think for a second that anything we conceive of could adequately represent God. And our misrepresentations are not limited to physical images of statues and pictures. We can so easily create impressions of God through our words and actions that speak of something very different from whom he really is.

God is actually unknowable. The only reason why we can know him is because he has made himself known to us. We talk about finding God as if he is missing. The reality is we are spiritually blind and cannot perceive God unless he himself gives us the sight to see him.

His word is eternal. He is the only one is the universe that truly says what he means and means what he says. Not only is his word true, he alone can ensure that what he says will be done. In contrast, not only do we not have the power to fully guarantee anything in life; we can’t even guarantee our own survival. You and I are still here because God has permitted it

And yet God comforts us. This comfort is possible, because even though God is so much greater than we are, he loves us. The great and awesome God doesn’t want us to be separated from him. He longs for us to know him. As long as we are caught up in ourselves we cannot know him as he really is.

He is God and we are not.

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