Our Scripture reading brings us again to the prophetic utterances of Isaiah, God’s prophet to Judah. I have noted in prior devotionals that prophecies often bear an imminent, and far-reaching implication. That is the case of today’s devotional. This study focuses exclusively on Isaiah 40, but I hope to have opportunity in the future to consider Isaiah 41.
Isaiah 40 is a prophetic chapter that looks past the Babylonian Captivity.
The destruction of Jerusalem and God’s judgment against Judah for her sin and rebellion appeared imminent in Isaiah 40. Yet, nearly a century would pass before Babylon would attack the city, destroy the Temple and take the people captive. Isaiah 40 is both prophetic, and insightful into the character of our God.
Isaiah’s Calling (40:1-10)
The LORD summoned Isaiah to go to His covenant people, and with a heart of love that yearned for them like a father, saying, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” (40:1). The message of comfort looked beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, and predicted the end of the Babylonian captivity (an exile from the land that lasted seven decades, 40:2). What was the message to the LORD’s people? It was that the sins of the nation had been forgiven (40:2).
The Cry of Three Voices (40:3-11)
If Isaiah 40:3-5 sounds familiar, it is because those prophetic verses were fulfilled in the birth and ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ (40:3-5; Matthew 3:1-4; Mark 1:1-4; Luke 1:76-78; John 1:23). The first voice (a prophet and priest) encouraged God’s people to prepare their hearts for the coming of the LORD. Of course, the fulfillment of that prophecy will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. When He comes again, all flesh will see the LORD in His heavenly glory (40:4).
The second voice contrasted the temporal nature of man, with that of eternal God (40:6-8). Observing the brevity of this earthly life, the LORD declared man is like the grass that withers and flowers that fade (40:6-8a). Isaiah, however, proclaimed, “the Word of our God shall stand forever” (40:6-8). Sinners boast, “Times have changed!” So, they have, and the opinions of men are ever given to change. Yet, let it be shouted, God’s Word is eternal, immutable, unchangeable!
The third voice addressed the city of Jerusalem with a message of hope, deliverance, and salvation (40:9-11). In the immediate, the good news was the LORD would send a deliverer, but in the far-reaching implication that Deliverer would be the LORD Jesus Christ. Declare to the “cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (40:9). The LORD promised to come in power and strength, and to rule, reward, and care for His people like a Shepherd (40:10-11).
Isaiah’s Commission (40:12-21)
We find five provoking questions in our text, and the answer to each is obvious, for it declared the greatness of God. Who is God? He is Creator, and held the oceans in “the hollow of his hand” (40:12a). He knows the breadth of the heavens, the stars, moons, and planets (40:12a). He has considered the dust of the earth, and knows the weight of the mountains and hills (40:12b).
The LORD is infinite in knowledge, and He has no need of direction or counsel. (40:13-14). He is so great that all the nations and armies of the earth are as nothing to Him (40:15-17).
The LORD is incomparable, and there is nothing and no one greater than He! No image made by man can capture His likeness (40:18). The wealthy fashion idols of silver and gold, and the poor carve images out of wood (40:19-20). Oh, foolish men! Do you not know that God made the gold, silver, and wood? (40:21)
Who is the LORD? (40:22-31)
While “wise” men through the ages supposed the earth was flat, the prophet Isaiah revealed 700 years before Christ was born that the “circle of the earth” was the throne of God! (40:22) The beauty of earth’s sphere reflects the glory of God’s throne, and men are like grasshoppers in his presence (40:22-23).
The LORD is greater than all heaven and earth! He is “the Holy One” (40:25), and He alone is Creator (40:26). He is omniscient, and has numbered and called the stars in the heaven by name (40:26). He is Everlasting God, and is the sustainer of all things (40:28). He never faints, or grows weary (40:28). He gives strength and “power to the faint” who trust in Him (40:29).
Closing thoughts – The strength of youth will fail (40:30), but to all who put their faith and trust in God, He is our Savior, and Strength (40:31).
Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith