12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? 14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19 An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20 He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25 To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
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Grace and peace to all of you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Today is not a usual Sunday. We can see it with our own eyes. Right here. We have different things in the Church. What do we have here… I don’t even know the names of all of them.
Why do we bring this produce here? What is the reasoning behind it? I guess this way we express our thanks to the Lord of all Creation for His goodness and generosity to us. We have brought these fruits of the land before Him as signs of our gratitude, acknowledging together with Psalmist, – when ‘You, O Lord, open Your hand; You satisfies the desire of every living thing.’ (Psa. 145:16)
This is a really good occasion to meditate upon the question – what God do we worship? What kind of God He is, and what it means for our Christian faith?
Usually when we meditate about God, we tend to focus of His works of salvation. It’s totally understandable. For which books of the Bible do we read the most often? Right, the books of the New Testament, and especially the Gospels.
They focus on Jesus event. The Gospels are testimonies of eyewitnesses, they saw what Jesus did for us… they are about His birth, His life, His death and resurrection…. about forgiveness, and reconciliation He brought for us. All of this in infinitely important.
But, if we look too closely to Jesus event, we tend to forget, who He really was. Especially today Christians tend to make Jesus a friend. My mate Jesus. My buddy Jesus. We see a human side of Jesus, a carpenter from Galilee, a good teacher, and we tend to forget who this man was. True man, yes, but also and the most importantly, – true God.
Picture this before your eyes, that our Queen would bow down to help you to tie your sandal. How would you perceive her? Just a lady helping you out? Or… you would be amazed and shocked by this incredible gesture of humility and serving kindness? I believe it would shake us and would remain as a living memory till the end of our lives.
Now think about Jesus. What about Him? Just a man who gave up His live for you? Already that would be something incredible. If you were judged, found guilty and sentenced to capital punishment… and someone would step in and offer – ‘I will take your place, and – you go and sin no more.” What effect would it have to you? Life changing…
But Jesus was not just a man, He wasn’t just a king, He was God, the Creator of all, of things visible and invisible, the most powerful Lord and Sovereign of the Universe. He came to us as a man, so that only we can have safe access to Him, without fear.
He came to reveal what the Father’s attitude towards you is. For “no one has ever seen God; the only God, Jesus Christ, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18)
Sometimes focusing too closely to what Jesus did as a man, we lose the grand narrative of the Bible. But think, – how is God identified in the Old Testament? As the Creator. That is His unique identity. Prophet Jeremiah wrote that ‘all gods who haven’t created heaven and earth will perish’. (Jer.10:11)
The Old Testament exclusively identifies God Yahweh as the Creator. This is how the Bible begins. With the creation of the Universe, with the creation of time, space, matter and so on. God of all creation.
What are His concerns? Is He a god who is only interested in particular people? No! From the very beginning He shows that His interests and His plans include entire human race.
All the nations belong to Him (Ex 19). He desires that all people come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved (Deut. 4:6-7, 1.Tim 2:4) He has no small plans. His concern is about all the nations, even more, about entire creation. For He is the Creator of every living thing.
Why did Jews rejected Jesus? They were pious people and passionate about their faith. Why did they reject Jesus? Because they couldn’t accept what Jesus was telling them. They couldn’t accept that He is the same God Creator of the Old Testament. They thought He is blaspheming. How do you dare to call God your father? How do you dare to make yourself God?
Let me ask you, why do so many reject Jesus today? For the same reason. They can accept that He was an influential teacher, a lot of good thoughts and wise tips, but not God, no… that can’t possibly be true.
Today we read verses from prophet Isaiah. This was one of the most elevated speeches we can find in the Bible. Isaiah describes God as the Creator in such as glorious language which you won’t find anywhere else. Listen to these words once more and remember, that Isaiah is speaking about our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales […] All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness […] who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. […] To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see [vast number of galaxies]: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might.”
“Who has measured waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off heaven with a span, and all the dust of the earth within a measure, and weighed mountains with a scale, and hills with balances?” Wow!
This is how one of my professor commented on these words of Isaiah: “In his cupped hand, God Yahweh is able to hold all the water of the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, brooks, and puddles. Three-fourths of the earth’s surface is comprised by water, yet all of it fits into the hollow of our God’s hand!
From the waters to the heavens, we barely have time to catch our breath, as Isaiah states that our God measures the skies by means of a span between his outstretched thumb and little finger. The vastness of the universe cannot be measured, yet it is reducible to the length of God’s outstretched hand!
Then, like a ride on a roller coaster, we are brought down from heaven to earth. Looking around, we ask, “What about the dust, mountains, and hills? Can our God measure them, too?” No problem! All the dirt of the earth is insurmountable, yet God Yahweh is able to reduce it to one-third of a bushel.
Who is this God capable of holding, surveying, and weighing such a massive universe? His name is Yahweh, and he is the true King, like no other!”
What a wonderful proclamation! How excited it can be to marvel at works of our God. Now, listen carefully – the Old Testament identifies God Yahweh as the Almighty Creator of the Universe and ruler of nations! All creation praises Him. But the New Testament identifies Jesus as Yahweh, the Lord and God.
Jesus Christ, true man and also true God is identified as God Yahweh.
This is the answer to the first question – what kind of God our God is. God the Creator. The testimony of the Bible is clear. Creation is the beginning, continuing, and the ultimate goal of God’s work in the cosmos.
We may sometimes think about salvation as God picking us out of this world. No, no! He made everything and He promises one day to restore entire world. (Is 51:3) Everything He does serves this ultimate goal of a new heaven and new earth. Our Christian hope is not redemption from the world but the redemption of the world. Of entire creation. For He is the Creator.
Now we should answer to our second question. What does this fact that Jesus Christ is God Yahweh in flesh means for our Christian faith? Implication are enormous. I’ll highlight two of them.
First. We need to remember that our God loves His creation. He created, He saw that it was good, and He also died to restore us to the Father and renew the entire created order.
We are created to take care of His creation. To be God’s gardeners. This world doesn’t belong to us, we can’t do with it what pleased us. It belongs to our loving Father. The more we learn about Him, and the more we understand His will for us, the more we understand why we are here.
We are not Christians in Sunday mornings. That’s a myth. Yes, we come to the Divine service to be empowered by the Word of God and to receive His Spirit. But our Christian live, our care for creations begins when we leave the Church. When we go out and care of God’s creation.
How do we do it? It is very practical. God works by means of His creation to provide for everyone. Sun shines not for its own benefit, but for ours. Clouds pour out water not for themselves, but for all living things. Trees produces oxygen and bear fruit not for themselves, but for others, and so on.
The same way we are called to be fruitful. How? You all are unique. You all have unique gifts, abilities and the most important, you all are in unique relationships. You are like unique fingerprints of God. There are people whom only you can touch in a unique way, there are things that only you can do.
This is how God works through us. When we look at all our relationships – as children, as parents, as spouses, as siblings, as citizens, as employers and employees, as the Church members… and think – how can I serve these people or society even better? What else the Father would wish me to do for them?
When we live this way, we fulfill our purpose, and we are a blessing for others. Second thing is about restoration of God’s good creation. Jesus came to restore entire creation, and we as His disciples and children of the Father are called to do the same. How to do it?
Again, it is so practical. Through the Bible God reveals for what kind of life He created us. How to live as children, how to live in marriage, family, society, why to work, and so on. When we listen to what God is saying to us, we can see both – how we ought to live, and how broken our lives and lives of others are.
What then? We don’t take our sin or sin of others personally. What I mean is, we don’t react to sin as ultimate reality. We look to people as good creation of God and sin as its corruption. We think how to restore, how to repair this brokenness.
Let’s take as example broken people or broken relationships. In your life or in life of your loved ones. We can look at them as to something that doesn’t work, or work in a wrong way. What can we do with broken things, we can throw them out, or we can try to repair them.
We can’t throw out neither people, nor relationships. Whatever broken they are. We are called to restore them. I know and you know, that it is not easy, it is much easier to turn back, to trow broken things away. Done. Forget about them.
But our God loves His creation. He gave up His life to restore it. Who are we to turn our backs where restoration is needed?! It is desperately needed for each of us, for every person in our lives, for our society. Whatever hard it may be. It’s not optional for us. This is why we are called to be Jesus disciples.
This is where we come to our last point. Where to get the power and motivation to carry out these two tasks, – caring for creation and helping to restore creation. They both are daunting tasks, two difficult for us, for we ourselves are so broken. How can we do such great things?
The truth is we can’t on our own, we don’t know what to do, and we even don’t want to, for we are broken ourselves. We have to be fixed first. Someone has to restore us. To make us work and will properly. This is what Jesus did and does. He came to heal, to fix our brokenness. When He takes upon Himself all the mess we have created in our brokenness, He gives us a fresh start.
He restores us to our goodness. He forgives our sins, take away our gilt, He purifies and heals our wound, cut by other broken creatures. That’s why He invites us here every week. To heal, to restore, to renew us, to create us anew. For without Him we can do nothing.
He gives you the best Helper, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Creator to be with you, to purify your thought, to heal and nourish your souls, to change your hearts, so that you could rejoice doing our Father’s will.
We can’t do it on our own, that’s His work. The work of God Creator. That’s why we bow before Him today showing our gratitude. Not just for the fruits of the field, but much more for ourselves as fruits of the Spirit, healed, renewed and restored for a good life with our Creator.
Let’s praise our Lord, for He is good.