Comfort for God’s People
40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
The Word of God Stands Forever
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
The Greatness of God
Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.
Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power,
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40 Commentary
by Hank Workman
This life is a fleeting experience compared to the life of eternity that awaits. Sometimes we get so caught up in the mundane we forget it. Sometimes we face things that simply in the scheme of eternal value have little meaning. It’s funny how that happens. The Word of the Lord is what stands and the Word of God is eternal. In addition, it’s what holds the promises beyond these things that trip us up. This is where our hope must rest.
The book of Isaiah takes a dramatic turn from here forward with the remaining chapters. The first 39 chapters certainly had some hope spoken but for the most part was about the judgment of God coming to rebellious Israel. Hence, warning after warning resounded. Now God speaks tenderly to His people bringing truth and comfort. Consequently, these remaining 27 chapters will speak the hope of Jesus!
Many times when we become so caught up in issues of this life, broken down relationships we feel as though we’re in a wilderness. We’re wandering aimlessly for hope and looking for water to quench our thirst. We’re longing for shade to take rest in. This life will never bring these. Only Jesus can do just that.
As a result, this is what makes some of the opening statements found here so powerful. Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight a highway in the wilderness itself. Mountains raised and made low. Rough ground made level. Rugged places become a plain. All these things will reveal the very Glory of the Lord.
It’s simply beautiful.
But these are actions. When preparing a way for God it involves the removing of obstacles. It means we continue to pursue Him in our own wilderness. Most of all, we do not sit back and wait for this but must partner with the Holy Spirit in removing the blockades.
These are the things that will refocus us toward the things that truly matter in this life; This life that is brief and passing.
Take stock. Consider what is currently on your heart and where your energy is going. Have you become caught up in things that truly in the eye of eternity don’t matter? Have you become so focused on the wilderness, the promise of hope and Jesus have lost its power for healing and trust? The Word of God stands. His promises are true. Pursue Him and His ways. Remove the hindrances that have skewed your vision.
There is more… so much more that Jesus has for you today and beyond.
Isaiah 40 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The theme of chapters 7-39 focuses directly on the punishment of God. It’s easy to read this chapter and become discouraged. We must remember that God’s heart was not to needlessly punish his people but to instruct them on His character. God reached out to Judah and created a case for why He is trustworthy. There is no other nation or idol worthy of our trust. Because of this, the people could choose to repent and believe or learn the hard way through captivity and struggle.
So, even with the somber and bitter punishment predicted throughout these initial chapters, God did not leave His people in suffering. Think about this, and let it sink in. This is especially relevant for our promise under the New Covenant. Although we are enemies of God, our disobedience did not alter His trustworthiness!
Chapters 7-39 are critical to set the stage for the rest of Isaiah. We cannot understand our need for a Savior until we face the truth of our spiritual condition. We must be honest about our constant wandering away from trusting Him. God delivers those who disobey but repent and turn to Him in faith. He promised this even when He knew His people would turn against Him and crucify His only Son. Again, let this sink in for a moment.
So, the question becomes personal; is God worthy of your trust? In every situation you will deal with today, will you jump to trust idols or rest in His power? Please don’t misunderstand my thoughts. His truth does not prescribe a laissez-faire attitude. In fact, it is quite the opposite! In Him, there is power and strength available! Keeping our eyes fixed on Him, we persist knowing He is in control. When we believe this, and act upon it, we are exercising our faith in His promises.
Finally, we know that none of this is possible without the Spirit of God working in our life. So, we plead for more of the Spirit! We come to the throne room of God and ask Him to rid us of our destructive behavior. Though we have trampled your Name, give us supernatural trust and faith and remember your promises, oh God.