The Holiness of God: Recognizing His Uniqueness.
Read Isaiah 44:1-8
“I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”
The people of Israel in the time of Isaiah were no different than our own society today. Instead of exclusively worshiping God they had fallen into spiritual and religious syncretism. Rather than worshiping God exclusively they had adopted and accepted the beliefs of the various religions surrounding them. There is little difference to what we see today in our modern view of religion. It is popular today for people to accept all religious as equally viable ways to find God and to adopt different religious perspectives. It is not uncommon, for people to share quotes on Facebook from Hinduism, Buddhism and the Bible as if all were sources of divine knowledge and wisdom.
In contrast, Isaiah calls the people of Israel to the awareness that God is unique; that there is no other God but him. Central to the biblical understanding of holiness, is the uniqueness of God-that he is separate from all other gods. The Hebrew word for holy (qadosh) means to be marked off, or separate. To affirm that God is holy is to affirm that there is no one like him and that he does not share his glory with anyone. Therefore, it is not surprising that 6 times in chapters 40-46, we find statements affirming God uniqueness. Not just that God is greater than the other gods, but there is no other god but him. To worship any other god, or to even acknowledge the existence of any other god is to ultimately deny the holiness and majesty of God. In 44:7, we are challenged to identify any being or religion that can match God’s sovereign and unique claims. There is none, for all other gods are merely idols created by man and are useless (9-20). For the writers of scripture, the idea that God could be compared to any other (god or man) is utterly unthinkable and blasphemous for it undermines his holiness.
But this is not just theological jargon, but the foundation of our hope in the midst of the struggles we face in life and our battle with sin. Because he is the unique and unparalleled, he is the only one who brings salvation from our troubles (43:11). If we place our complete trust and faith in him, then we can have confidence, for our God is the only one who can truly save us. To seek salvation and help from any other god will ultimately bring disappointment for there is no one besides God and no other place of security than God. But because God is holy, then we do not need to be fearful or dismayed. He alone is our rock. The imagery of God as a rock provides the picture of God as a place of security, a place of protection from attack, a place of protection in the storms of life. Since there is no other Rock but God, he alone is the only one who deserves our trust and he alone is the only one who will bring us true deliverance.
If you are feeling the pressure of the day and the discourage and helplessness that comes when adversity threatens our wellbeing, turn to the only one who is truly holy, unique and transcendent over all else. He alone is God and he alone is one who is willing and able to bring hope and salvation. He alone is holy.