Isaiah 40-41: Take Comfort; Be Strong in God
September 15, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Isaiah 40-41, Proverbs 25:15-28, Luke 23:13-25, Hebrews 9:1-10
At last! Isaiah 40 arrives like a glass of chilled, cool water after a long, hot journey in a desert! “Comfort, Comfort, my people” (40:1). Words made famous by Handel’s Messiah, filled with hope, joy and meaning. Isaiah proclaims forgiveness: “her iniquity is pardoned” (40:2). He proclaims that there will be a “voice” (fulfilled in John the Baptist, John 1:23) who will prepare the way for the LORD (40:3). And the glory of the LORD will be revealed (40:5).
We almost feel like we are in the New Testament—and indeed, in a sense, we almost are! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (40:8). This blessed comfort, pre-announced, will not fail, for God’s Word will not fail. It is “good news” (40:9). And the cities will say, “Behold your God!” (40:9). What will this sight of God be like? “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms” (40:11). The good shepherd, the Christ, God incarnate, tender. This incarnation is nothing like the “idol” (40:19). No, he speaks of God, who “does not faint or grow weary” (40:28). So then let us wait on and trust in God:
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but 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. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
By contrast, how ridiculous are those idols (41:7)! Isaiah depicts the craftsman making the idols, the idols that are foolishly worshipped. But God himself has chosen his people (41:9). He will strengthen them, he will help them, he will uphold them (41:10). Take comfort. Be strong in God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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