Sermon #23 — Habakkuk Series

 

      Title:                     The Solitariness of God

 

      Text:                                  Habakkuk 2:18-20

      Subject:               That which Distinguishes God as God

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — March 15, 2011

      Tape #                 Habakkuk #23

      Readings:           Allen Kibby and Larry Criss

      Introduction:

 

Author Pink’s excellent book, “Gleanings in the Godhead,” begins with a chapter titled The Solitariness of God. I have borrowed that title from Mr. Pink for my message tonight. I want to show you from the Scriptures something of that which separates and distinguishes God from all His creatures, that which separates and distinguishes God from all that men call gods, that which distinguishes God as God: — The Solitariness of God.

 

Š      Moses declares it in his song of redemption in Exodus 15:11“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

 

Micah 7:18-20 is another declaration of God’s solitariness. — “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage. He retaineth not his anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”

 

Habakkuk

 

As Habakkuk contemplated the judgment of God upon Judah, the mixture of idolatry with the worship of Jehovah, and the idolatrous Chaldeans the Lord God raised up as a chastening rod against His covenant people, he threw himself back upon the Lord his God as He who alone is God. And that which Habakkuk specifically asserts, that which specifically sustained his soul in the midst of trouble was the solitariness of God as God. Let’s read Habakkuk 2:18-20 together. As we do, you will see that Habakkuk bowed before the Triune Jehovah and worshipped Him as God alone. May God the Holy Spirit give us grace to do so this hour!

 

(Habakkuk 2:18-20) “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it. 20 But the LORD [is] in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

 

Idolatry

 

All that men call gods, all the idols of men, both those carved out of wood and chiseled from stone and those formed in the minds of men, are impotent and lifeless, useless figments of man’s depraved imagination. He who is God is not at all like that which men call god. The Lord our God, the triune Jehovah, is the fountain of life, the omnipotent Savior of His people. He can do what He will, and always does! — “With God nothing shall be impossible!” Behold Him yonder in His Holy Temple, upon His sovereign throne, and worship Him who alone is God! — “The LORD [is] in His holy temple.” There He sits, high above all the gods of men in His ineffable glory and solitariness as God, — “The High and Lofty One that Inhabiteth Eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). — “Let all the earth keep silence (hush) before Him” (v.20).

 

We all know that God is great in wisdom, wondrous in power, and abundant in mercy. But in these degenerate days of religious perversion, most people know nothing of God’s Being, His nature, and His attributes. There are very few who understand that God is infinite, majestic, great beyond imagination, and glorious. I want to do what I can to inspire your hearts and my own to trust, adore, and reverently worship the Lord our God, by showing you that God is solitary in all His excellence and glory. There is no one and nothing in all the universe like our God. He is infinitely higher and greater than all His creation.

 

Proposition: It is the solitary excellence of God that inspires reverence for Him, faith in Him, and obedience to Him. — Our God is incomprehensibly great!

 

“Can creatures to perfection find

The eternal, uncreated mind?

Or can the largest stretch of thought

Measure and search His nature out?

 

‘Tis high as heaven, ‘tis deep as hell;

And what can mortals know or tell?

His glory spreads beyond the sky,

And all the shining worlds on high.”

    Isaac Watts

 

Divisions: Tonight I want to show you six things about God which show His solitariness, six things which distinguish Him from all that men call gods and set Him apart from all His creatures, infinitely.

1.    There is one God.

2.    God is eternal.

3.    God is Spirit.

4.    God is a Tri-unity.

5.    God is independent and self-sufficient.

6.    God can be known only by revelation.

 

One God

 

1.    There is one God, just one (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Ephesians 4:4-6).

 

(Deuteronomy 6:4) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:”

 

(1 Timothy 2:5) “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

 

(Ephesians 4:4-6) “[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.”

 

That is the first thing I want you to see. There is but one God. I know that those words are acknowledged by all who profess to be Christians; but few understand the reality of this fact. — There is one God. That means that all that are called god, but are in any way unlike God’s revelation of Himself in Holy Scripture are nothing but idols and those who worship them are idolaters.

Š      The god of this age has no resemblance to the God of the Bible!

Š      The holy spirit of the religious insanity of this age is not God the Spirit.

Š      The christ of modern Christianity is antichrist, and no more resembles the Christ of God than a maggot resembles an angel!

Let’s look into the Book of God and see how the one God reveals Himself in His Word.

 

God alone is solitary in His Being. There are many angels, many men, and many of all other creatures. But God is One. — He “only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16). Because there is one God....

Š      Our faith must be in Him alone.

Š      Our allegiance is due to Him alone.

Š      Our affections are to be directed to Him alone.

Š      And all who know, trust, and worship Him are one body.

 

Eternal

 

2.    God alone is eternal.

 

Angels are not eternal. Men are not eternal. And matter is not eternal. But God is eternal. — In Genesis 1:1 we read, In the beginning God.” In the beginning there was nothing and no one but God. There was a “time” before time began, when God dwelt alone in the ineffable glory of His own great Being.

Š      There was no heaven in which He set His throne and manifested His glory.

Š      There was no earth to be His footstool, which engaged His care.

Š      There were no angels to sing His praise.

Š      There was no universe to be upheld by the word of His power.

Š      There were no men created in His image and after His likeness.

Š      There were no hours, days, months, years, or ages.

Š      From everlasting , in old eternity, God was alone in His glory.

 

He is the great “I AM,” “the eternal God,” who says, “I live forever!” The psalmist says of Him, — “Thy throne is established of old; Thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2). He is the first and the last, “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).

 

This great God who is alone Eternal is and must be...

Š      The Creator of All Things.

Š      The Possessor of All Things.

Š      The Ruler of All Things.

Š      The Disposer of All Things.

 

Our puny brains cannot grasp the idea of eternity! But our God is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity!God is not fettered by the constraints of time. He is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity!” His works are revealed to us in time and experienced by us in time; but the Scripture says that all His “works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3). With God there is no such thing as past and no such thing as future. Let me say it again, — He is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity!With us puny creatures of time, we will a thing and then try to do it. With God to will a thing is to do it!

Š      When the eternal God willed our election, we were adopted as His own dear children and our names were written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Š      When the eternal God willed our redemption, Christ was slain, we were redeemed, reconciled to Him, justified, and accepted in Christ our Redeemer before time began.

Š      When the eternal God willed to bless us, we were blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Š      When the eternal God willed that Christ should have a Bride, our souls were wed to our Savior!

Š      When the eternal God willed that we be with Him in Glory, we were seated together with Christ in Heaven!

 

God does not wait on time; and His works do not wait on time. He who is our God is alone God. There is none like Him. Can you grasp this? — God is One; and this One God is eternal! —He is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity!

 

Spirit

 

3.    God is Spirit. — Our Lord Jesus Christ declares, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

 

The Bible often ascribes to God human terms, speaking as though He has a body and parts like we do:

Š      “the hand of the Lord,”

Š      “the mouth of the Lord,”

Š      “the eyes of the Lord,

Š      “the arm of the Lord,”

Š      and “the ears of the Lord.”

But these terms are mere accommodations of language to help our puny brains understand the works of God. They are anthropomorphic terms, human terms used to describe the works of the Lord. But they do not, in any way, represent the nature and being of God.

 

As you read the Bible you cannot fail to notice that never once were men given any kind of physical, visible, tangible representation of God’s Being. Even under the types and shadows of the Old Testament age of ceremonial worship, nothing was given as a representation of God’s Being. All the types and shadows of the law represented His works of redemption and grace in Christ. But nothing represented God himself. Why? Because God is Spirit. He is the infinite, incomprehensible, invisible, omnipresent Spirit.

 

Because God is Spirit, He expressly forbids every form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3-6).

 

(Exodus 20:3-6)Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

 

This commandment forbids....

Š      The acceptance of any other god.

Š      The worship of God through any image.

Š      The representation of God by anything visible.

Š      The use of religious images, symbols or pictures. — Pictures of Christ — Crosses, Crucifixes, Religious Relics — Angelic Forms, etc.

 

All true worship and service rendered to God must be spiritual, heart worship. It is not sufficient to come before God on bended knee, with prostrate body, or with words of praise. We must worship God with our spiritual nature, our souls, our hearts, our minds, and our wills.

Š      All true worship is heart worship!

Š      All true obedience is heart obedience!

Š      All true service is heart service!

God says, “Give me thine heart!” He will not have less!

Š      We must worship God alone.

Š      We must worship God spiritually.

Š      We must worship God sincerely.

Š      We must worship God in truth, in accordance with revealed truth.

 

Triune

 

4.    God is a Tri-unity. — “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

 

We worship One God in the Trinity or Tri-Unity, of His Sacred Persons. We do not have three Gods, or three Gods in One. We have One God who subsists in Three Distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And these three Persons are equal in all things.

 

From the very beginning God revealed that there are three Persons in the Godhead.

Š      God the Father created all things through His Son, the Word (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3).

Š      God the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).

Š      God said, Let us make man in our image and often our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

Š      And God promised to send his Son, the Seed of the woman, to redeem fallen man (Genesis 3:15).

 

In the New Testament the doctrine of the Trinity is expressly declared (1 John 5:7) and frequently represented to us.

Š      In the baptism of blessed Savior (Matthew 3:16-17) the Father spoke from heaven, the Son was baptized in the Jordan River, and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove.

Š      In the baptismal formula given by our Lord in Matthew 28:19 the three persons of the Holy Trinity are named. — “Go ye therefore (into all the world), and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Š      We see the same thing in the Apostolic benediction given in 2 Corinthians 13:14. — “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

Š      And our Lord Jesus Christ Himself plainly declares the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead in John 14:16. — He said, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth.”

 

The Word of God sets forth One God in Three Persons; and each of the sacred persons of the Godhead is specifically called God.

Š      The Father is God (Romans 1:7).

Š      The Son is God (Hebrews 1:8).

Š      And the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). — “And these three are One.”

 

Note: Though the Son is voluntarily subject to the Father, and the Spirit is voluntarily subject to the Son and the Father in the covenant of redemption and grace, for the salvation of God’s elect, there is no subordination of Persons in the Godhead.

 

Independent

 

5.    God is independent and self-sufficient. God is solitary in His Being, in His Eternality, in His Spirituality, and in His Tri-Unity. And God is solitary in His Independence and Self-Sufficiency. God alone needs nothing! God does not need you and me. God needs nothing but Himself!

 

In old eternity (I told you eternity is beyond the grasp of our puny brains! — “In old eternity” what a ridiculous contradiction of words!), when God dwelt alone in the glory of His Triune Persons, He was self-contained and self-sufficient, in need of nothing. He needed nothing to make Him happy, glorious, and complete. And He is still independent, self-sufficient, in need of nothing. The creation of the world added nothing to God. He is immutable. — He changes not (Malachi 3:6). His essential glory could never be increased or diminished.

 

God was under no constraint, obligation, or necessity to create the world. God, who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11), freely chose to create the world simply because it was His sovereign pleasure to do so. He created the world, not to get glory to Himself, but to display and manifest His glory in it.

 

God gains nothing from His creatures. Even the praises of redeemed sinners add nothing to the glory of His Being. Hear the words of Nehemiah 9:5“Stand up and bless the Lord, your God, forever and ever; and blessed be Thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.”

Š      God predestinated His elect to eternal salvation to the praise of the glory of His grace, “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5).

Š      He chose to save us, to show forth His glory in us, but not that He might increase His glory. — “[O my soul], thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou [art] my Lord: my goodness [extendeth] not to thee; 3 [But] to the saints that [are] in the earth, and [to] the excellent, in whom [is] all my delight” (Psalms 16:2-3). We add nothing to him!

 

Again I say, God gains nothing from His creatures (Romans 11:33-36). And if God gains nothing from man, then it is impossible for man to bring God into any obligation to him (Read Job 35:7-8).

 

(Job 35:7-8) “If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thine hand? 8 Thy wickedness [may hurt] a man as thou [art]; and thy righteousness [may profit] the son of man.”

 

And God loses nothing by the wickedness of his creatures (Job 35:6).

 

(Job 35:6) “If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? or [if] thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him?”

 

God is so high above us, so infinitely beyond us that nothing done by puny man ever touches Him! The Creator is utterly unaffected by His creatures! — As man can add nothing to God’s glory, so man can never diminish God’s glory. God made all things to show forth His glory, and all things shall serve their end (Revelation 4:11).

 

(Revelation 4:11) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

 

Š      The glory of His wisdom and power shall be seen in all creation and providence.

Š      The glory of His love and justice is seen in redemption.

Š      The glory of His mercy and grace is seen in the salvation of His elect.

Š      The glory of His truth and righteousness is seen in the eternal ruin of His enemies.

 

I am declaring the solitariness of God! The God of the Bible is so great that He is self-sufficient in the glory of His own holy Being. There was no vacuum in God’s heart that had to be filled by man. Had it pleased Him to do so, He might have dwelt alone in His solitary glory forever, without making His glory known to anyone. — All that we experience of His grace and goodness we experience because of His sovereign good pleasure alone (Psalm 115:3; 135:6).

 

(Psalms 115:3) “But our God [is] in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”

 

(Psalms 135:6) “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, [that] did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”

 

It pleased God...

Š      To make you who believe His people (1 Samuel 12:22).

Š      To put all the fullness of the Godhead’s grace and glory in Christ (Colossians 1:19).

Š      To bruise His Son in the place of His people (Isaiah 53:10).

Š      To reveal Christ in us (Galatians 1:5).

Š      To save sinners by the foolishness of preaching (1 Corinthians 1:21).

 

We thank and praise and adore God for the good pleasure of His grace toward us! We know that we owe everything to the sovereign purpose of His grace. But we also know that God is totally independent of his creatures and self-sufficient without us (Isaiah 40:15-23; 1 Timothy 6:15-16).

 

(Isaiah 40:15-23 ) “Behold, the nations [are] as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 16 And Lebanon [is] not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All nations before Him [are] as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.”

 

“18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? —— 19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. 20 He that [is] so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree [that] will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, [that] shall not be moved. 21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 [It is] He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: 23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.”

 

(1 Timothy 6:15-16) “Which in His times He shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

 

This is the God of the Bible. —— This is God! He is still, in this reprobate religious age, “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). Because He is unknown in this religious world, we seek to make Him known. He is a God to be reverenced, worshipped, and adored.

 

A. W. Pink wrote, — “He is solitary in His majesty, unique in His excellency, peerless in His perfections. He sustains all, but is Himself independent of all. He gives to all, and is enriched by none.”

 

Revealed

 

6.    This great, solitary God can only be known by revelation.

 

God cannot be known by any except He reveal Himself. I have offered no arguments to prove the existence of God, but that is not because arguments cannot be produced. God’s Being is such a self-evident truth of creation and providence that all men and women are without excuse before Him (Romans 1:20). But no man will ever come to know the living God by the light of nature (Job 11:7-8; 26:14).

 

(Job 11:7-8) “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8 [It is] as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?”

 

(Job 26:14) “Lo, these [are] parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?”

 

Illustration: A savage might find a watch in the sand and conclude that there was a watchmaker. But he would never be able to know the watchmaker by the watch. Even so, a man may know that there is a God by the light of nature. But he can never come to know God by the light of nature.

 

God cannot be known by man, except as God is pleased to reveal himself to man (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

 

(1 Corinthians 2:14) “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.”

 

(John 3:3-7) “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

 

Š      God has revealed Himself to men in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-3).

Š      God has revealed Himself to men in the inspired volume of Holy Scripture (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Š      God reveals himself to men through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).

Š      Yet, no sinner will ever see and know the living God until He reveals Himself in the sinner’s heart by the irresistible grace and power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:6).

 

(2 Corinthians 4:3-6) “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

 

Everything depends upon God! God depends on nothing! And even when we have been made to see and know the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, our spiritual knowledge, at best, is a fragmentary knowledge. We need ever to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Application

 

I hope you are utterly overawed by the solitariness of our great God. — There is one God. — He is eternal. — He is spiritual. — He is a Tri-unity. — He is independent and self-sufficient. — And He can only be known by divine revelation.

 

This is my prayer for you and me: — “That (we) might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God(Colossians 1:10). To that end let us begin and end exactly where Habakkuk did, understanding that which distinguishes God as God from all the gods of men, and reverently bowing before Him in hushed adoration.

 

(Habakkuk 2:18-20) “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it. 20 But the LORD [is] in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

 

(Isaiah 25:9) “Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this [is] the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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