God's People are comforted
- by Isaiah Class
God's People are comforted
Isaiah 40:1 ESV
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Comfort, comfort my people
This is a double imperative. Meaning it is an emphasis (repeated) put upon the urgency of the need to comfort the people of God.
This is the expression of heart full of love . 1. God speaks of Israel as if it were a marriage covenant shared: as a husband toward a wife. (See Isaiah 54:5-8) 2. This heart is directed by tender mercy 3. This is an exclusive benevolence for the beloved.
Tenderness and compassion
Isaiah 40:2 ESV
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
Her warfare has ended
This is the beginning of God's announcement of the impending salvation of Israel. 1. The era of oppression and tribulation is coming to an end. 2. Let's not forget the reason given for Israel's condition of poverty and oppression. a. this is bound up in it's rebellious and hardened heart b. their eyes were blind and their ears dull to the LORD. c. thus v. 2b makes great sense in that God has chosen to pardon (Israel) His great love, from her many sins. d. she has paid a large enough price for her wayward lifestyle.
A voice crying in the wilderness
Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV
A voice cries: "In the wilderness 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. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
In his encounter with these pharisaical disciples John quotes directly from the prophet Isaiah in his response to their question, "who are you." There is no doubt that John the Baptist believed this to be a prophecy about himself. Jesus would later confirm this.
Isa. vs. 4-5
These two verses give a good understanding of the respect a king would receive in his travels through common towns. 1. Preparations would be made to receive the king. 2. The people would go out to the streets and begin fixing the broken roads in order to make a smooth pass for the king and his entourage. 3. In essence what is being said here is that there comes a king. A king who's glory will be revealed amongst the people.
Ten Rhetorical Questions
Isaiah 40:12-14 ESV
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
Reviewing the ten questions of Isa. 40:12-14
Isaiah then asks ten questions to which the answer to the first four are "God" and the answer to the last six are "No one" Remember his purpose is to speak to Israel and give them hope in the Lord their God. The husbandman to His bride.
The nations are nothing before God
Isaiah 40:15-17 ESV
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
There is no one like God
v. 15a The nations are like a drop from a bucket (They are small) v. 15b Like dust on the scales (they're insignificant) v. 15c God reaches His hand to pick up dirt and He picks up an entire coast. (He enormous in comparison to the things of this earth). v. 17 all the nations are less than nothing (what can be less than nothing). You don't get any smaller than nonexistent/ nothingness. Isaiah's point is to let the people be encouraged by God's great power. As He told Ahaz and Hezekiah, so he tells the people, "Trust in the LORD" there is no one greater. (see the compare and contrast in v. 18-25)
God is everlasting and His strength is everlasting
Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 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.
Have you not known?
Isaiah presents it as a child would present big news to his companions. "Didn't you know?" "Didn't you hear?" The LORD is the everlasting God and those who wait on Him receive from Him everlasting strength.
Three things to remember
1. Jacob has forgotten God's strength. 2. God is wise and never tires. 3. Israel's only hope is in the LORD.
According to your text book, what are the two major themes of Isaiah chpt. 40?
Think on this!
How does Isaiah 40 prepare the reader for the rest of Isaiah's message.
Isaiah 41:4 ESV
Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
God is in control
God called the generations forth and God establishes the kingdoms. v. 4 "He, the LORD, the first, and with the last, He is."
God is your helper
v. 8-16 God says He has chosen Israel to be His. Israel is His servant. "I am your God' I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
God is your Helper
v. 11 Those who come against Israel will be shammed and overthrown. v. 14 "I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel."
Idols are futile
Isaiah 41:24 ESV
Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.
The foolishness of idols is a similar theme to chapter 46
In chpt. 46 God has turned His attention to the idols of Babylon. Important to know that in ancient times the strength of a nation was considered to be accomplished by the power of the god or gods they served. (Hence Isaiah's message on the foolishness of idols; they are dead and God is the living God).
Idols can do nothing
Isaiah 46:5-7 ESV
"To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble.
God cannot be stopped. Idols cannot begin
Unlike the idols of gold crafted by the goldsmith, God is alive and His will, it will be done. 46:10 "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,..."