The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 23
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is. 40:8).
From the very beginning of Genesis, God speaks. That which is nothing becomes something at the sound of His voice. God promises Adam and Eve that disobedience will result in death—and it does. God promises the couple that a Seed will come to crush the head of the serpent. He will come!
God promises Abraham and his barren wife a child.They have a child in spite of physical impossibilities. God promises Abraham that his descendants will be as innumerable as the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:5) and as immeasurable as the sand by the seashore (13:16), when Abraham and Sarah are still without child. Further, He promises that Abraham’s descendants will be held captive for four hundred years, but that God Himself will deliver them and bring them back to the land of promise (15:12-16).
God also promises Israel that continued disobedience will result in captivity (Deut. 28:36). Israel lives to see that day as they are carried into captivity by the Assyrians. And now Isaiah ministers to Judah just prior to her captivity by the Babylonians. When God’s warnings are not heeded, He fulfills His promises.
No other document of antiquity comes close to the predictive accuracy of Scripture. Critics may assail it, but they cannot deny the Bible’s faithful and clear record of accurate predictions.
Isaiah transitions from judgement messages to messages about hope with the words, “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God. ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins” (Is. 40:1-2).
Isaiah’s message of comfort demonstrates at least six truths about God that comforts a people who’ve gone into captivity, “Behold your God!” (40:9).
- He is the Shepherd who tends his flock, gathers the new generation in His arms, carries them close to his heart and gently leads those that have young (40:11).
- He precedes time and is greater than His creation, “He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure . . . weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance” (40:12).
- He is infinite wisdom, “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?” (40:13-14).
- Man cannot capture the essence of God’s being with a carved image, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?” (40:18-20).
- God’s perspective is eternal, “He . . . sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (40:22). Therefore, the princes and rulers of this world don’t impress Him. He is the everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth.
- This great God isn’t oblivious to the weary, weak, or those who hope in Him. He strengthens the weary and increases the power of the weak. He renews the strength of those who hope in Him (40:29-31).
No man ever finds comfort in his trials by looking around—horizontally. That only leads to self-pity. Comfort comes by looking up, by focusing our mind’s attention on our Heavenly Shepherd, the Eternal One, the everlasting God, Infinite Wisdom.
Worship frees the heart from despair.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Is. 40-43; 44:1-5):
How does Isaiah contrast the Living God of Israel with the idols of the nations around them?
List the questions that Isaiah asks Israel about God in Isaiah 40 and the answers that He gives to those questions.
What message does Isaiah seek to establish about God in Isaiah 41 and 42?