Monday, June 14, 2010

Isaiah 40 – Comfort My People!

“Comfort, comfort my people,

says your God.”

~Isaiah 40:1 (NIV).

One magnificent journey begins at the expense of a painful one, which now concludes. So it is with Isaiah 40—the entrance channel to the ‘Book of Comfort.’

In biblical tradition much pain had been foisted upon the people of God—much endurance had been required. Time was now at hand for all that investment-of-faith in stridently going-with-God, come what may, to be rewarded with such assurance only the really genuine believer could ever begin to imagine the trilling essence and depths of this majestic flow of Sovereign grace—the eternal Word of the Lord.

Nothing Compares to the Majesty of God

There are passages like it, for instance in Job 39–41 and Proverbs 8 and elsewhere, but Isaiah 40 is a resplendent compendium of brimming hope for the most downcast faith-filled observer.

The glorious arrival of the Blessed Hope in Jesus is propounded forth in verse 2-5. This commends the opening of gorgeous possibilities which cannot help but follow. For instance, the Lord is the great equaliser in verses 6-8 and no one gets a superior run.

The people can confidently and brazenly shout, “He is our God!” in verse 9.

Various images of the fullness of God’s greatness are strewn every which way for the weary to marvel at, as they travel through the picture-book experience of God’s abundant works of creation, their tears wiped as they go (Revelation 21:4); their gently tilling smiles returning.

Wonder is the common emotion as they do this, the repeated imperative enquiry:

“Do you not know?

Have you not heard?”

~Isaiah 40:21, 28 (NIV).

Wonder cavorts with the reader as question upon rhetorical question exists to parade the glory of God for all to see!

How This Majesty Morphs into Power for the People

No matter the context of depths of personal poverty or misery, these thirty-one verses ebb their way through a beautifully meandering river, pungent with God’s power to resolve the cares of the personal- and communal-world concern, as they cascade down with surprising ease to an ever-strengthening sure victory—the all-engorging way of renewal (verse 31).

Such is life for those truly in God. They eventually find they have something no one else can ever possibly dream of acquiring—apart from the Lord, that is.

This “Sovereign Lord comes with power,” in verse 10, and he is our mighty Shepherd in verse 11. The “nations” (communities of unbelievers against God) are “like a drop in a bucket” compared with the Holy One in verse 15. Rulers and princes too don’t have such an advantage over the common plebe, with proper accord to God (verses 23-24). These too are “like chaff.”

For ourselves, in this present age then, we can re-read and masticate this thoroughly dazzling morsel over our entire lifetimes—and the taste experience will only get richer, the texture more sensual, the significance more thoroughly lucid!

There is no god like the Lord!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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