Why will God not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8)?
In Isaiah 42:8, God says, "I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols." God Himself does not praise idols or share His glory with any other god. He doesn't have a god of His own choice or design that He worships, for He Himself is God. So, why will God not give His glory to another? Put simply, no other constructed god or human being is, or could ever be, worthy of such glory—and treating them so would be blasphemous (1 Corinthians 8:4).
In the Bible, we see some examples of those who attempted to make themselves like God and were quickly destroyed in their efforts. Lucifer was cast out of heaven after stating his prideful intention: "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14). He then tempted Eve and Adam with a similar goal. Eventually he will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:7–10). Adam and Eve were tempted into sinning for the deceptive purpose of becoming like God (Genesis 3:1—7). Their sin brought the fall of mankind and the reality of death (Romans 5:12). All who put their faith in Jesus are rescued from the eternal consequences of sin, yet we still endure its destructive nature in our lifetimes (Romans 8:18–30). A New Testament example is King Herod who made a fatal error when he tried to claim the glory that belongs to God: "On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, 'The voice of a god, and not of a man!' Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last" (Acts 12:21–23).
What are some of the reasons that God deserves all glory? To start, He created the entire universe out of nothing but His own breath, speaking things into existence (Genesis 1; Revelation 4:11). He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).
God is all knowing and all powerful. He is I AM, the God who has always existed. He is the "blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion" (1 Timothy 6:15–16). The glorious light radiating within God's presence is too much for even the heavenly seraphim to view fully (Isaiah 6:1–4).
God is perfect and so are His ways: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8–9). No human being has a right to boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:28–29).
What is truly incredible to consider is how the Almighty God, worthy of all glory and praise, has chosen to love and care for us. The powerful God of the universe is actively involved in our lives from forming us before birth to keeping track of each day of our individual lives as we live them here on earth. Not a detail is missed. He is always thinking about us (Psalm 139:1–18). He sent His Son Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and have a path to a personal relationship with Him (John 3:16; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus made a way for God's glory to become a part of our lives (2 Corinthians 4:6).
A God this loving and compassionate, a God who is so tender with us, is truly deserving of all the glory we can give Him. He has given us our lives and offered us forgiveness, salvation, and adoption into His family. Romans 11:36 says it perfectly: "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen!"
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