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the poet Isaiah

September 24, 2007

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.  (Isaiah 40:22) 

“The fortieth chapter of Isaiah was written by a prophet who revealed the truth; but the prophet was also a poet. And this poet — unlike some poets whose worth lies altogether in the music of the form and not at all in the matter — this poet had a great theme. The theme is the living God. The prophet celebrates especially the awful transcendence of God, the awful separateness between God and the world. The God of Isaiah is not the rather pathetic finite god of Mr. H. G. Wells — not a god who works merely in and with striving humanity — but the sovereign King. ‘It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers.’ ‘Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?’ And this sovereign Person is Lord not only of mankind but also of all nature.” (J. Gresham Machen, God Transcendent, p. 17)

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