October 2, 2017 • Life for Leaders
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell what will come.
In Isaiah 44, God speaks through the prophet to highlight his divine uniqueness. Though there are many other “gods,” the Lord reveals, they are mere idols, formed by human hands from material elements. For example, the woodcarver who shapes an idol then takes the leftover wood and burns it to warm himself (44:14-17). Not a very impressive god!
The Lord, on the contrary, is unique. He alone is “the first” and “the last,” the one who is before all things and who will be there at the end of time (44:6). Only the Lord is both King and Redeemer, the true sovereign who reaches out in mercy to set his people free from the bondage of their sin (44:6). He alone is able to predict what will happen in the future (44:8). He is unique in choosing a people to fulfill his special purposes. No other “god” can do what the Lord alone has done.
In today’s interconnected and multicultural world, proclaiming the uniqueness of the Lord can be unpopular. It fails the political correctness test. It seems insensitive, even arrogant, to say God is the only true God. Sometimes we who believe in the Lord can be tempted to downplay his uniqueness, to allow other “gods” their place. But the core of biblical revelation, both in Scripture and in Jesus Christ, calls us to affirm that the Lord alone is God. Who is like God? Nobody. Nothing. The Lord alone is God.
Now, we must be wise and thoughtful about when and how we talk about God’s uniqueness. Too often, we Christians become puffed up when talking about the Lord. We fail to speak with humility and kindness. We take pride in our specialness rather than seeking common ground with others. Most of all, we forget God’s grace. If we know the one true God, we know him by grace, not by some special insight or status we have received. Thus, as we profess our faith in God, may we do so as people who owe everything to the Lord and who desire others to experience his transforming grace in their lives.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you understand the uniqueness of God?
Do you ever struggle to believe that the Lord alone is God?
How can we communicate the uniqueness of God in a way that is humble yet truthful?
Gracious God, indeed, who is like you? There is no one like you—no human being, no “god,” no other power in heaven or earth. To be sure, you created us in your image, so in that sense we are like you. But you exceed us in countless ways: in wisdom, power, majesty, beauty, grace, knowledge, and love. Truly, you alone are God.
Lord, you know how difficult it can be to state this truth in today’s world. People want to be so accommodating about matters of faith. They don’t want anyone to profess that there is one God. So help us to be clear about who you are. Give us courage to speak of you. But, at the same time, give us humility. May we not offend with our manner, even if we must offend with our message. Help us to live in this world in such a way that people are drawn to you, the only God, through us, through our words and our deeds. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Creation Is of God, but Is Not Identical with God (Genesis 1:11)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.