Alexander the Great
For reading & meditation: Isaiah 40:12-17
“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket ‘” (v.15)
Now we come to look at a section of the psalm which suggests that the reason why the ungodly continue to prosper as they do is because God is asleep. Listen to the psalmist’s exact words: “As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies” (Psa. 73:20). The truth is, of course, that God does not sleep, but the psalmist has used a figure of speech which pictures our limited human perception of God’s actions. God does not sleep, but at times He appears to do so. But what happens when God stirs from His apparent sleep? The ungodly man, who has seemed so eminent and prosperous, vanishes as a dream. It is as if he had been a phantom or an illusion. The passage before us today puts this whole matter in context when it tells us that the nations are but “a drop in a bucket” to the Creator. Now they may look powerful and mighty, with their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, but when God arises they are as “grasshoppers”. Do you remember being told in your history class at school about Alexander the Great? He was one of the greatest generals of all time and conquered almost the entire known world. Did you know that he is referred to in the Bible? You will not see his name written in the Scriptures, but reference to him can be found in Daniel. Look at what the Bible calls him – a “goat” (Dan. 8:5-8). Walter Luthi puts it like this: “He who to the world is Alexander the Great, is to God nothing more than a he-goat.” When God arises, the great become nothing.