Nothing can be spoken more comforting to those who realize themselves undone,
than the coming of the Redeemer as the Lamb of God and as the Good Shepherd.
Those who are ready to acknowledge they have no might, may wait upon Him,
for He will be their help if they will humbly depend on Him.
1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
3 ¶ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
18 ¶ To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 ¶ Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 40:1-8 – The Cry of Jehovah’s Herald
Voices are ever speaking to us from the infinite; let us heed them.
(1.) There is the voice of forgiveness, Isaiah 40:2. Are you truly penitent? Have you put away your sin? Have you meekly accepted the chastening rod? Then be of good cheer, this promise is for you. The time of hard service as a conscript is accomplished, your iniquity is pardoned, you have received double for all your sins. God speaks comfortably to your heart, that you may be able to comfort others as He does you, II Corinthians 1:4.
(2.) The voice of deliverance, Isaiah 40:3-4. Between Babylon and Canaan lay a great desert of thirty days’ journey with mountain ranges, yawning gulfs. But when God arises to deliver His children, “which cry day and night unto him,” crooked places straighten out, rough ones become smooth, and mountains disappear (Luke 18:7).
(3.) The voices of decay, Isaiah 40:6-8. The one herald, speaking from his observation of human mortality, describes man and his glory as the “flower of the field.” But in contrast to this, another voice seems to break in with the eternal word of God, which stands forever. The precepts, promises, and invitations of the gospel are as sure as God’s throne, I Peter 1:25. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 40:1—Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God.
There is a considerable interval between the preceding chapter and this. The Jews are now nearing the term of their long and bitter sufferings; their fiery trials have done their work.
Comfort, because sin is forgiven.—“Look to the wounds of Jesus, brother,” said Staupitz to Luther. At the foot of the cross alone can sinners be comforted. We need not only the assurance of forgiveness, but some knowledge of the way in which it has been obtained, and the grounds on which it is based. Our hearts are never truly comforted till we learn that God is faithful and just when He forgives.
Comfort, because God is on his way to deliver.—The imagery is borrowed from the progress of an Oriental prince or conqueror. Great gangs of men are sent to level the ways before him. Be of good cheer, the prophet says; your God shall come with a strong hand. See the mountains become a way; the crooked is made straight and the rough places smooth. The glorious Lord comes to deliver the afflicted from his strong oppressor, and all flesh shall see it together.
Comfort, because the Strong Deliverer has a tender heart.—He comes as a mighty one, but He feeds his flock like a shepherd. Strong and sweet, mighty and merciful. The Everlasting Father, but the Prince of Peace. Those arms sustain the universe, but they gather lambs.
Comfort, because He faints not, neither is weary.—Others may tire after awhile. Physical strength droops and declines. Time seems long. The current may sweep lovers and friends out of our reach, but Thou remainest! “The Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary” (Isaiah 40:28). —Our Daily Homily
THE ROCK OF AGES.
Some great man of old once declared that words were the only things that live forever. If this is true of the words of men, how much more so is it of the Word of God, the affirmation, the promise, the pledge, of the great I am. Its foundations of adamant are anchored in eternal truth, against its base the angry assaults of bigotry and unbelief will be driven in vain. Its walls will stand four square when the ancient landmarks of dogma, formalism and ecclesiasticism lapse into ruin and decay. Though the earth and starry worlds wax old like a garment, the Word of God which represents his faithfulness and the Cross of Christ which represents his Love, will stand impregnable amid the wreck of worlds.
Isaiah 40:9-17 – Creator and Ruler of All the Earth
Zion is bidden to climb the highest mountain within reach, and announce the advent of the Savior-God. When all eyes are turned to behold Him, expecting a mighty hero, lo, a shepherd conducts His flock across the waste lands, gathering the weakly lambs to His bosom and gently leading the ewes with their young. Do not be afraid of God; He has a shepherd’s heart. Words can never tell out all His tenderness; His pitying, understanding love.
We are next conducted to the Great Sea, Isaiah 40:12. Remember, says the prophet, that God’s hands are so strong that the ocean lies in them as a drop of water in man’s. He can place mountains in the scales He holds. So great is He that if all Lebanon’s forests were laid as wood on His altar, and all its beasts were consumed as burnt sacrifices, it would not be sufficient to set forth His praise. And this God is our God forever and ever. The Creator of the ends of the earth is our Father. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 40:18-31 – The Everlasting God the Giver of Strength
Day changes to night, and as the twilight deepens, the stars come out in their myriads, Isaiah 40:26. To the poetic eye of the watcher, they appear as a vast flock following the shepherd, who calls each by its name. Not one falls out of its place, or is lacking. Will Jehovah do so much for stars and nought for men? Will He not have a name for each? Will He not guard and guide each? If He has sustained the orbs of light in their mighty rounds, will He fail the poor soul that clings to His feet?
They that wait on God change their strength. In their earliest days they rely on the energy and vigor of youth, on their blameless, unstained character, in the consciousness of their glorious manhood; but as years pass, they come to count all these as refuse in comparison with Jesus Christ the Lord, Philippians 3:8. Notice the order in Isaiah 40:31! At first sight we should have expected that it would advance from walking to running, and so to flying. But that order is reversed. It is more difficult to walk than to mount! Every cyclist will tell you that the hardest task is to keep your cycle at walking pace. —Through the Bible Day by Day