“‘[R]emember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” (Isaiah 46:9)
In the time of the prophet Isaiah, idolatry was flourishing in Israel. There had been religious reform under the reign of Hezekiah, but the seeds of idolatry were far from eradicated in the land. The people might have been worshiping God, but that didn’t necessarily mean they weren’t worshiping idols alongside Him. In their minds, the God Isaiah proclaimed was just one of many they could choose to worship. He wasn’t anything special to them; they just worshiped Him to keep from being the objects of His anger. In short, they’d forgotten the glory of the great I AM.
Obviously, God wasn’t about to let this continue. He gave Isaiah a message, reminding Israel that He alone is God; aside from Him, there is no other. The idols of Israel were nothing more than blocks of wood or stone, images created by human hands and powerless to do anything. God, however, is almighty. He has been from the beginning. No one created Him; He simply is. He has power over all things, and He knows the past, present, and future. Humans are as grasshoppers in His sight, tiny creatures who live for a moment and then pass away. There were those who elevated themselves to the position of God; Babylon, for instance, claimed, “‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’” (Isaiah 47:8) This nation took the very name of God upon itself, claiming His greatness for itself. All the world had failed to understand God’s preeminence over all things. They tried to replace Him with idols or even worshiped themselves. God’s greatness was an obscure concept for them.
We today are not exempt from this sin. We may not carve idols for ourselves anymore, but there are so many things we give our attention to that distract us from God. Entertainment, friends, security, money, work… the list goes on and on. We give God some of our time, but our main focus is elsewhere. Like Israel, we see God as one of many gods to worship. But that is not what God wants from us. He alone is God, and He expects our worship to reflect that. It’s so easy to become distracted by everything around us; but if we truly understand God’s greatness, we will worship Him alone. He is God, and there is no other.