Friday, July 15, 2011

The first-and-last God

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 44:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts
'I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God." - Isaiah 44:6

I find it interesting that in this verse that precedes a denouncement of idols, God identifies Himself in detail. It's as if He's saying - I am that God — the King of Israel God, the Redeemer God, the Lord of hosts God, the first-and-last God. Don't confuse Me with any other God.

Notice the "I am"s. Don't they hearken us back to Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15)? And they place us fully in the conundrum of a God who is without beginning and end which flows through scripture

  • Abraham called on the "Everlasting God" in Genesis 21:33.
  • "The Lord shall reign forever and over," Moses sings in the song that celebrates God's destruction of the Egyptian army and making a way for the Israelites to cross the Red Sea - Exodus 15:18.
  • The psalmist praises God for His everlasting kingdom in a dominion that endures throughout generations - Psalm 145:13.
  • Paul lauds Him as "The King eternal, immortal, invisible to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Timothy 1:17.
  • John sees Him as "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End ... who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" - Revelation 1:18, and Revelation 11;17.

He is a God whose forever-life does not change. J. I. Packer describes Him:

"Created things have a beginning and an ending, but not so their Creator. The answer to the child's question, 'who made God?' is simply that God did not need to be made, for He was always there. He exists forever; and He is always the same. He does not grow older. His life does not wax or wane. He does not gain new powers, nor lose those that He once had. He does not mature or develop. He does not get stronger, or weaker, or wiser as time goes by. 'He cannot change for the better,' wrote A. W. Pink, 'for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse.' The first and fundamental difference between the Creator and His creatures is that they are mutable and their nature admits of change, whereas God is immutable and can never cease to be what He is." − Knowing God, 1972 edition, p. 81

PRAYER: Dear God, Thank You for words like eternal, Alpha and Omega, everlasting, forever and ever that help me understand You, albeit in a still limited way. Help me to grasp the implications of Your eternity for my life. Amen.

MORE: Immortal Invisible, God Only Wise

This song written by W. Chalmers Smith expands on 1 Timothy 1:17. What grand lyrics, focusing our minds on the amazing attributes and qualities of God.

More on Immutability

- See the Immutability entry in Rebecca Writes "Theological Term of the Week."
- See her blog post "God's Immutability."

Bible Drive-Thru

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1 comment:

  1. Love this song. And thanks for getting us to ponder God's character. The better we know Him, the more we can trust Him.


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