Scripture reading – Isaiah 40; Isaiah 41

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Once again, our Scripture reading brings us to the prophetic utterances of Isaiah, God’s prophet to Judah. I have noted in previous devotionals that prophecies often bear an imminent and far-reaching implication. That is the case in today’s devotional. This study will focus wholly on Isaiah 40, but I hope to have an opportunity to consider Isaiah 41 in the future.

Isaiah 40 was a prophetic chapter that looked 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 passed before Babylon attacked the city, destroyed the Temple, and took the people captive. Isaiah 40 is both prophetic and insightful into God’s character.

Isaiah’s Calling (Isaiah 40:1-10)

The LORD summoned Isaiah to go to His covenant people and express with a heart of love His yearning for them, saying, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” (Isaiah 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, Isaiah 40:2).

What was the LORD’s message to Jerusalem and Judah? God’s grace and favor were doubly sufficient; therefore, the nation’s sins were forgiven (Isaiah 40:2).

God’s Word is eternal, immutable, and unchangeable!

The Cry of Three Voices (Isaiah 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 Jesus Christ (Isaiah 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 ultimate 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 (Isaiah 40:4-5).

The second voice contrasted man’s temporal nature with God’s eternal nature (Isaiah 40:6-8). Observing the brevity of this earthly life, the LORD declared that man is like the grass that withers and flowers that fade (Isaiah 40:6-8a).  Isaiah, however, proclaimed, “The Word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8). Sinners sometimes boast, “Times have changed!” So, they have, and the opinions of men are ever-changing. Yet, let it be shouted: God’s Word is eternal, immutable, and unchangeable!

The third voice addressed the city of Jerusalem with a message of hope, deliverance, and salvation (Isaiah 40:9-11). The immediate good news was that the LORD would send a deliverer, but the far-reaching implication was that the Deliverer would be the LORD Jesus Christ. Isaiah was to declare to the “cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9).

The prophet foretold that the LORD would come with power and strength to rule and reward His people (Isaiah 40:10). Like a shepherd who tenderly loves and cares for his sheep, Isaiah promised the LORD would “feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with his arm, And carry them in his bosom, And shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).

Five provoking questions are recorded in Isaiah 40:12-20.

Isaiah’s Commission (Isaiah 40:12-21)

Five provoking questions are recorded in Isaiah 40:12-20, and the answer to each was evident, for it was the LORD whose greatness was described.

Who is God? He is the Creator who held the oceans in “the hollow of his hand” (Isaiah 40:12a).  He knows the breadth of the heavens, the stars, moons, and planets (Isaiah 40:12a). He has considered the dust of the earth, and He knows the weight of the mountains and hills (Isaiah 40:12b). 

The LORD is infinite in knowledge and does not need direction or counsel. (Isaiah 40:13-14). Our God is so great that the nations and armies of the earth are as nothing to Him (Isaiah 40:15-17). He is incomparable, and there is nothing and no one greater than He!

Oh, the foolishness of those who attempt to fashion idols and identify them as God (Isaiah 40:18). The wealthy hired craftsmen to fashion idols of silver and gold, and the poor carved and worshipped images of wood (Isaiah 40:19-20).

Four additional questions recorded in Isaiah 40:21 expressed Isaiah’s astonishment that the people would be so deluded to think an idol of their making could capture the image of the Creator!

Who is the LORD? (Isaiah 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! (Isaiah 40:22) Indeed, the beauty of the earth’s sphere reflects the glory of God’s throne, and men are like grasshoppers in his presence (Isaiah 40:22). The greatest of men are as “nothing,” and the “judges of the earth as vanity” (Isaiah 40:23-24).

The LORD is greater than all heaven and earth! He is “the Holy One” (40:25). He alone is Creator (Isaiah 40:26). He is omniscient and has numbered and called the stars in the heaven by name (Isaiah 40:26).  He is Everlasting God. He is the Sustainer of all things (Isaiah 40:28). He never faints nor grows weary (Isaiah 40:28). He gives strength and “power to the faint” who trust in Him (Isaiah 40:29).

Who is the LORD? (Isaiah 40:22-31)

Closing thoughts –

Apart from the LORD, the strength of youth fails, and “the young men shall utterly fall” (Isaiah 40:30). Nevertheless, all who put their faith and trust in the LORD shall be revived, renewed, and changed (Isaiah 40:31).

Isaiah 40:31But 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.”

Questions to ponder –

1) How does human life compare to the Word of God? (Isaiah 40:6-8)

2) How did Isaiah portray the LORD’s care for His people? (Isaiah 40:11)

3) How do the nations of the world compare to the LORD? (Isaiah 40:15-17)

4) Mankind feared the earth was flat when Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492. What had Isaiah revealed about the shape of the earth? (Isaiah 40:22)

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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