Isaiah 40


The previous chapter ended the devastating news that Babylon would take everything, but the bad news is immediately followed by the good news as Isaiah speaks of joy, restoration, and the redemption of his people. The Lord still calls the people who have abandoned him his people, and he wants to give them comfort. The very individuals who were unfaithful he now will speak to with great tenderness. The warfare is ended because sin has been pardoned. Isaiah speaks of someone crying out to prepare the way of the Lord. The highway would be the way of holiness as described in Isaiah 35. This road would be fit for God to lead his people to freedom. God's glory would be revealed to all people in a way that was visible. God's glory would be revealed, and it would be visible to human eyes. This is God's decree and would not fail. Isaiah hears a voice that says to cry out and seeks clarification about what message he is to proclaim. The answer comes back that the things os the world are temporal, but God's word endures forever. Isaiah was called to herald good news with strength to the people of God. The message was to point the people to God that they might see his beauty and his power and that their heart's affections might be elevated. God was coming in power, but he will love and care for his flock because he is a good shepherd that will lead and carry his people. 

All Comparisons Fail

God's power and his sovereignty over all of his creation is demonstrated through a series of rhetorical questions. There is nothing in all of creation that is greater than God. How can the creature possibly comprehend the creator? God is self-sufficient and independent. God does not need any instruction from his creatures. God is not confused and does not require anyone to show him the right course or instruct him. God is greater than the nations. The great strength of the mightiest nations is like a speck of dust or a drop in the bucket to God. No sacrifice will be great enough for a burnt offering. Nations rise and fall, but God remains forever and rules over all the earth. God cannot be compared to anything in creation. How can anything he made serve as a comparison point for the source of all things? No matter how beautiful the craftsmanship, no matter how precious the materials, idols cannot capture the essence of God. God is great and sits enthroned above all things. The heavens are his curtains, and every ruler is under God's authority whether they recognize it or not. He can deprive them of power in an instant. If God breathes on them, they will wither like a plant, and be blown from history like worthless stubble. Worship belongs only to the one who created the stars. Isaiah compared God to a mighty general who leads his troops across the heavens. Every star is placed exactly where God would have it. How could the people say that God was not aware of their circumstances? God's people must remember who he is. God is eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, constantly vigilant, and compassionate. He will strengthen those who wait for him in faith. God has the power to save his people and restore them from their current position of weakness. God had delivered his people before, and he will do it again. This is the comfort that the everlasting God offers to his people.

Things To Consider:

  • Why does comfort follow judgment?
  • How are sins pardoned?
  • What pictures do you see from the exodus?
  • What is to be message proclaimed today? Why?
  • Why is God portrayed as both powerful and gentle?
  • Why is the imagery of a shepherd important?
  • Why are the examples from nature offered?
  • What thoughts are you left with as you read the questions and descriptions in this chapter?
  • Have you ever felt as if God was unaware of your circumstances? What should someone do when they feel this way?
  • Why must one rely on God's power and not their own?