A Study in the Word – Isaiah 40:1-31


Isaiah 40-66 is called the Book of Comfort.  Judah will undergo exile in Babylon (40-55) and then be freed to return to her homeland (56-66), with the End always in view.  “My People” means the faithful remnant (40:1).  First, they are not forgotten.  God will prove faithful to deliver those who trust Him.  Second, they are forgiven (40:2).  Judah’s guilt for sin has been “pardoned.”

The New Testament regularly quotes from the Book of Comfort to illustrate the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  Isaiah also mentions other ways God shows His grace.  For example, He takes the initiative in liberation (40:3-4).  Also, His grace allows for the liberation of Judah from Babylon, as well as the final liberation of all God’s people on the last Day (40:5).

Probably the interchange is between an angelic herald and Isaiah (40:6).  Vegetation and humans are transitory, but God and His word are eternal and unchanging (40:7-8).  Yahweh controls creation and is never controlled by it.  Jerusalem is to herald the good news throughout Judah (40:9-10).  Yahweh will be the perfect Shepherd for the remnant (40:11).

Consequently, God is fully worthy of trust because His greatness is beyond any other power.  Evidence for his greatness is all around them (40:12-14).  All the nations together are like a “speck of dust” compared to Him (40:15).  His greatness is incomparable (40:16).  Thus, God’s people need never seek a lesser power to deliver and prosper them (40:17).

No image can represent Yahweh (40:18-20).  He will be the judge of idolaters.  Judah knows this, but they have not heeded His warnings (40:21-24).  Nothing in all of nature’s grandeur can compare to Him (40:25).  He has created and “named” every star and not one is missing (40:26). 

Can God not also judge His creation according to His holiness?  Yet, Israel has accepted the falsehood that God does not care about them at all (40:27).  Isaiah counters, saying God never wearies in seeking the return of sinners and never tires of revealing the way of justice and righteousness to them (40:28).  To those weary of sin and oppression and who turn to Him in faith, He gives strength and power (40:29).  Even energetic young people can grow weary (40:30), but anyone who trusts God’s definite plan and enacts that plan will complete the journey of faith God has designed for them (40:31).  They will be comforted by the Lord.

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University.  Email: dm5867se@outlook.com