“Behold your God!” Such is the message of comfort from the Almighty to his people. Isaiah was given the tremendous privilege and responsibility to declare to God’s chosen people the wonderful and comforting message of Isaiah 40. This message is set among the prophesy of God’s judgment of His people for their errant entertaining of idols which will be enacted through the coming Babylonian exile. It offers hope that such judgment is not God’s forsaking of His own, but a tho rough chastisement meant to teach them that there is no god that can compare to Him. The time has come to prepare a highway for the Lord! To bring forth works that befit a repentant spirit! They had traded their relationship to the true God to seek after the vanity of lesser gods. It had cost them greatly. Yet there is hope and comfort in beholding the glorious wonders of the Almighty. His holiness is intimidating, his power foreboding, but his love and grace are tender, and his mercy available to all who will cease from perusing the emptiness of all else and wait patiently for His moving in their life.
“Who is like me?,” God asks. Is man able to compare themselves to the Sovereign Holy One? No! For he is like the grass and flowers that fade in the summer wind, as if God himself blew upon them. The mighty nations of man, impressive in human standards, is less than nothing to God. They are a drop in the bucket or the dust of the scales in the sight of God for He sets one up and tears another down at His will. The word of the Lord endures forever! None will establish themselves in the earth when God decides to bring them to nothing. At the discretion of God, they wither and blow away as stubble in the wind. The sovereign rule of God ensures that He is in complete control over the affairs of men. The comfort this brings to the people of God amid oppression from heathen nations creates a “peace that passes all understanding.”
The pitiful idols of man are no match for the Almighty. These inanimate objects owe their existence, splendor, and stability to their creator who falls before them to worship the works of his own hands. Not so with God who created all things, filled them with the wonder of his glory, and rules over it with a strong hand. The awe that man feels for the heavens, the seas, and the great forests and islands of the earth should guide them to an even greater awe of the One who created and rules over such a magnificent display of beauty and power. Such things point to the omnipotence and omniscience of God in a way that sets Him apart from all else. Truly men are grasshoppers in His sight. None should dare to elevate the creation above the Creator!
“Why sayest thou?” Man in his arrogant stubborn pride is quick to forget his place before the Almighty. When only reaping that which he as sown, he has the audacity to question the knowledge and compassion of God! Isaiah pleads with them to lay their hands upon their mouth and consider the foolishness of such a statement. Certainly, the God described above is aware and knowledgeable of the current affairs of His people. Should he utterly forsake them for their sin it would be but righteous judgement from the Holy One! When he comes, he brings the just spoils of His righteous war against His enemies! Yet despite their failures, the benevolence of God wins the day! As a good shepherd, He seeks to gather His errant people close to His chest to feed them spiritual food and gently lead those with young. Such tenderness from the Almighty has no comparison!
The union of God’s Holiness, Power, and Benevolence forms Isaiah’s message of comfort to His people. What a comfort that the God who knows all and can do all never gets weary and never is at a loss of what to do. Men in their prime cannot achieve this level of greatness, but struggle, wear out, and fail along the way. What a greater comfort still, that God in his benevolence will grant His strength to those who wait on Him in humble faith and submission. Those who trust not in their own power and works, but in the power and might of the Almighty God will have their weakness exchanged for His power. This power enables them to soar in spirit like the eagles, to run faithfully without wearing out, and to journey onward through this life without giving in to the many trials along the way!
“Comfort, comfort my people!” For God is here, he knows what needs to be done, and has the power to do it. Look not to yourselves, trust not in the strength of man, worship not the works of your hands! Turn from your sin in repentant faith and wait submissively for the Lord. Let him show you the greatness of His power, and the compassion of His love, and you too will soar like the eagles!