12 Who has measured water in the hollow of his hand and marked off sky with a ruler, comprehended the dust of the land in a third of a measure and weighed out mountains with the scale, and hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured up the spirit of Yahveh or informed him like the man of his counsel? 14 With whom has he consulted, who has enlightened him or taught him a path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and made a way of understanding known to him? 15 Watch! nations, like a drop from a bucket, and they are ignored like dust on balances! Watch! He weighs islands like a thin covering. 16 And Lebanon is not enough to light a fire, and its animals not enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before him; they are ignored by him as if they were nothing and emptiness.
In some carefully controlled scientific measurements, the room must be kept dust free, because even the slightest deviation matters. But most of the time a little dust makes absolutely no difference in what the scales show. That is the picture Isaiah gives us. In the scale of actual significance, even the mighty nations that everyone worries about are just dust on balances. They are like a drop of water in a whole bucket. Even Lebanon, with all its forests, does not have enough wood to create a fire to bother God, or enough animals to sacrifice to appease him. The inhabitants of the great nations think of themselves as competitors of Yahveh and Israel. But Isaiah’s words remind us that all the nations of the world are nothing compared to the power and significance of our God, its creator.
LORD, teach us to pray as if prayer is the only thing that matters, because all other powers are useless compared to yours.