“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God. Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” Isaiah 43:10-13
When he says, “I am God!” (v. 12b), he declares his deity – his God-ness. When he says, “I act and none can reverse it!” he declares his sovereignty. These are not two different declarations. They are one. To be God is to be sovereign; and to be sovereign is to be God.
You see it again in Isaiah 45:5-7 where God predicts the coming of Cyrus centuries later. He says,
I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me [speaking of the pagan king Cyrus, long before he was born]; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.
God is at pains to declare that he is God and he alone. And to drive that home through the prophet Isaiah, he is willing to go so far as to claim ultimate sovereign responsibility for all the calamities of the world. “I am the one who forms light and creates darkness, who causes prosperity and creates calamity; I am the Lord who does all these things.” Why does God take responsibility for all the disasters of the world? Because God is God, and that means he is sovereign: he acts and none can reverse it.
You see it again in Isaiah 46:9-10,
Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.”
And so here they come together again. “I am God!” And: “I will accomplish all my good pleasure!” Deity and sovereignty.
Why Do We So Deeply Cherish God’s Sovereignty?
As I prepared for this series, I asked again what the deep, central values of my life are. Why, I ask, do I cherish God’s sovereignty so deeply? Why is it the cornerstone of my thought and my preaching and my life? Why do I love to talk about it and meditate on it in the morning and in the evening? The answer I come to again is that without sovereignty there is no true God. Without a sovereign God, there is no God. Don’t miss this great fact: the God of Isaiah is jealous to define himself in terms of sovereignty: “I am God . . . I act and none can reverse it.” “I am God. . . . My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” That is what it means to be God.
Do you see what is at stake here? If we lose the sovereignty of God, we eventually lose God.