written by Chris Gee
If you had thirty seconds to open up the Bible and show someone what it says about the greatness of God, where would you take them?
There are certainly many places in Scripture you could go, but one really good choice would be Isaiah 40. This monumental chapter speaks of how God holds all the water of the Earth in the palm of His hand (v. 12), how entire nations are like a drop in a bucket compared to Him (v. 15), and how He created the stars and calls them by name (v. 26). There’s also this lesser known verse: “Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering” (v. 16).
Some background would be helpful for understanding what an awesome claim the prophet is making. First of all, Israelites offered certain sacrifices, such as the freewill offering, not because they sinned, but simply to praise God and to recognize His greatness and worthiness to be worshiped. Secondly, it was well-known in the Ancient Near East that the nation of Lebanon was home to some of the largest and lushest forests in the world. Isaiah is imagining a hypothetical situation of chopping down every single tree in every single forest of Lebanon and stacking all of the wood from those trees together to make a gigantic heap of wood. Then he imagines killing every single animal that inhabits those forests, placing their carcasses on top of that gigantic heap of wood, and burning the whole thing in one massive sacrifice to God. Isaiah says even this ridiculously large sacrifice would not be enough to praise the worthiness and greatness of God.
Isaac Watts, in his hymn “The Wonderful Cross,” puts it this way:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
This is a fitting banner to raise as we begin this new school year. Why does Grace on Campus exist? To praise a God whose glory is so great that it deserves, even demands nothing less than our entire souls, our entire lives, our all. This year, we’re going to worship passionately, sing loudly, serve faithfully, fellowship joyfully, study the Bible intently, and evangelize frequently because we have a God who first loved us and who is worthy of any and all worship we could possibly give.