“I am God, there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). This is the truth out of which all the other truths arise. God is God, there is no other. He is the Maker of all that is visible and invisible. He is the source of all life, there is nothing on earth, or in all of the vast expanse of the universe, that can bring about its own being, for all being, from the smallest sub-atomic particle, to every human being on the earth, to the totality of the universe itself, comes from the One who calls himself “I AM.” He is the Uncaused Cause, the Alpha and the Omega. Praise be to God!
Isaiah, in his most powerful poetic language makes this argument with force and beauty. It is a recognition fired by humility. This a profound insight, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, is what we call in theological language, monotheism. Though it is a humble recognition it is still a bold statement in a world where most other cultures around the Hebrew people practiced the ancient forms of polytheistic and animistic religions. In Isaiah’s words, “They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save” (verse 20). The salvation of the world could come only through God, the One who created it and everything in it. It is to him alone that we turn to be saved. There is no other.
For Christians, this is the truth that brings us our greatest comfort and joy. This God that Isaiah knows only by a pure act of faith, we have come to know in the flesh. In Jesus we have been touched by the very hand of God. In knowing Jesus, we have come to know God personally. Who, but God, the One who created all things, could love his creation so completely, so unconditionally, that he would empty himself completely, on a cross, in order to save us from sin and death, to reconcile our broken relationship, and to open the doors of heaven to us, once and for all? Who but such a One could give humanity, both intellect and will, and even though we misuse these gifts out of false pride and turn away from him, remains faithful to us, ready to forgive and to heal us in a moment’s flash?
Isaiah speaks the truth so beautifully and so confidently here. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that fear of the Lord is the first sign of wisdom. It is in this awe of God that our faith takes on strength, depth, and meaning. We, in our faith in Jesus Christ, have come to know that we are sons and daughters of God. This is not a statement of arrogance, but one of pure humility, a humility that is fostered, shaped and understood in love. We know that we are loved. Jesus is the proof of that. And even though we are often rebellious, God’s love is not diminished. And yet we are free to reject that love, the infinite mercy of it, as foolish as that may be. He does not manipulate us, or our love. It is there for us, it will always be there for us, but he will not force himself on us. In faith we discover the great irony, that is, that in choosing to submit to the unconditional love of God, we become truly free. It is in this freedom that we then choose to love our neighbors as ourselves. In freely choosing to serve the hungry, the thirsty, the sick and the imprisoned, we are serving him. When we submit to the will of God, who, as Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians, is Love, that God who is Love begins to work in and through us, for the good of the world. Yes, “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together” and worship him who is the great I AM. In him alone do we have our salvation.
Lord God, you who are the Love through which all things came to be, we lift our eyes to you and give you thanks and praise, for these are your due. Deepen in us the grace of faith so that we may always live our daily lives in accord with this knowledge. Give us the strength to be your good and faithful servants in this world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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