Twenty Questions

Opening Prayer

Lord, I sit in wonder of Your works as I prepare my heart to meet You in Your Word today.

Read Isaiah 40:12–31

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Reflect

What one question would you like to put to God today? What do you think he would ask you?

Some days it can be reassuring to reflect upon the truth that God’s Word is for all time and therefore for me. Other days, it’s rather a scary thought—and maybe this is one of those! It can hardly be comfortable to realize that these questions, from the pen of Isaiah but delivered by the Spirit of God, are directed at us, too. How on earth should we answer? I would suggest not
with words. Better to simply fall upon our knees in silent acknowledgment of his majesty and his righteousness. We might also need to repent if we have lately been among those who have doubted God’s presence (27), his authority (22) or his wisdom (14).

I shall presume to ask one more question. Why on earth should the almighty Being of whom we read here be bothered with us? We are rightly compared with grasshoppers or (in the case of our government ministers) chaff to be blown away. The answer and the greatest wonder of this passage is in its climax. From steering the planets and the stars, God brings his focus to bear not
upon still deeper eternal mysteries but on those of his people who need him.

Apply

Meditate upon verse 31. Picture yourself running faster and faster and then taking off in the renewed strength of the Lord.

Closing prayer

Everlasting God, I need Your strength and power today. Teach me to hope in You as I renew my strength in Your presence.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider