Isaiah 40 changes the prophet’s approach a bit as he shifts from bringing a message of judgment and warning to one of comfort and blessing. We’ve been through a lot of prophecy of kingdoms that were and would capture and destroy God’s people. They’ve had a rough time of it. But now, Isaiah begins to console God’s people. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God”. God’s people have been paying “double for all her sins” and it’s been a steep price. They are ready for some love and comfort, and God has pardoned them and their debt has been paid.
The focus now is preparation – getting ready for the coming King. “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….the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”. Christ is proclaimed and every obstacle must be corrected or removed. John the Baptist carried the torch to prepare and cry out in the wilderness just as Isaiah prophesied.
This chapter contains a promise and reality that is vital for us to understand. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever”. History has certainly proven this to be true. God’s Word has endured for centuries. It has stood the test of time, of persecution, of critics, of changing attitudes and philosophies, of neglect from the pulpit and the pew, of doubt and disbelief. Nothing has changed the truth of God’s Word. And nothing ever will. I love this quote: “A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.” (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences)
Sometimes we think the world revolves around us. We lose perspective. We put ourselves in the center of our universe. And we really get focused on the wrong thing. Here’s how God sees things. “The nations are like a drop from a bucket….All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness”. This doesn’t negate His love for us, but it certainly does put us where we belong in the grand scheme of God’s reality – we’re a speck of sand on the beach. God’s soooo much bigger and His creation so much more amazing than anything we can even comprehend.
But God is there and willing to be our strength. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth”. He doesn’t change. He never goes away. Scripture tells us:
- “He does not faint or grow weary
- his understanding is unsearchable
- He gives power to the faint
- to him who has no might he increases strength”
God is our source of power. He is the everlasting strength. His promise is that “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”. Are you clinging to that?