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What does it mean when God asks, “Who is like Me?” (Jeremiah 49:19)?


who is like Me
Question: "What does it mean when God asks, ‘Who is like Me?’ (Jeremiah 49:19)?"

Answer:
When God asks the rhetorical question, “Who is like Me?” in Jeremiah 49:19, He means that He is incomparable—there is no one like Him. The entire segment (Jeremiah 49:19–21) is nearly identical to Jeremiah 50:44–46, with the same rhetorical questions repeated: “Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?” (Jeremiah 50:44).

In Jeremiah 49, the prophet pronounces God’s judgment on the nation of Edom for its pride and prejudice. When the Lord’s gavel falls on Edom, no one will be able to stop the destruction because there is none like Yahweh in all the earth. No one has the strength or power to challenge Him. God is matchless, and it is impossible to compare anything or anyone to Him.

Earlier, Jeremiah had recognized, “No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you” (Jeremiah 10:6–7).

Through the prophet Isaiah, God confronts the people of Babylon for worshiping worthless idols. He asks, “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?” (Isaiah 46:5). The idolatrous people hire artisans to make gods of gold and silver so they can bow down and worship the artwork. These lifeless objects are dead weights, utterly useless: “They carry it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no answer. It can’t rescue anyone from trouble” (Isaiah 46:7, NLT).

Unlike Babylon’s false gods, the One true God of Israel can answer His people’s prayers and save them from trouble. He declares, “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9). Babylon’s rebellious people are to remember that Yahweh is the only God, and He is unique.

The Lord instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh that the reason He’s inflicting Egypt with plagues is so that the king and all his subjects will know “there is no one like the LORD our God” (Exodus 8:10). Pharaoh arrogantly thinks He is the most powerful being in the land, but God lets him know “there is no one like me in all the earth” (Exodus 9:14). Later, after God rescues the Israelites from slavery, Moses sings, “Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11). Moses celebrates the absolute matchlessness and incomparability of God among all other beings.

The Lord answers Hannah’s prayer for a child, and she rejoices, “No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2, NLT). When God makes His covenant with David, the king declares, “How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you!” (2 Samuel 7:22, NLT). As David’s son Solomon dedicates the temple in Jerusalem, he affirms in prayer, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion” (1 Kings 8:23, NLT). For the psalmist, there is no one equal: “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours” (Psalm 86:8). On Mount Carmel, God gives fiery proof that He alone is God, and that Baal cannot compare (2 Kings 18).

Sometimes we’re tempted to see our problems as bigger than God. The obstacles loom larger as we focus on our circumstances instead of the greatness of God. The next time this happens, we can remind ourselves, as others have done in Scripture, that nothing in heaven (Isaiah 40:12–26) or on earth (Isaiah 40:21–26) compares with the Lord Almighty. We can face anything in His strength (Philippians 4:13).

Scripture says God “rides across the heavens” to help us, “across the skies in majestic splendor” (Deuteronomy 33:26, NLT). Don’t let anything or anyone shake your trust in the Lord. Listen to the Holy One’s voice asking, “Who is like Me? To whom will you compare me? And who is my equal?” (Isaiah 40:25). And know that His answer is, “No one is like me!”

Recommended Resource: NIV Application Commentary Jeremiah / Lamentations by J. Andrew Dearman

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