Isaiah 40

Preparing the way for the Suffering Servant of Yahweh

Division

  1. v1-11: Preparing the way for Good Tidings
  2. v12-26: How Great Thou Art
  3. v27-31: Soar on wings like eagels

Exposition

  1. Preparing the way for Good Tidings (40:1-11)
    1. The voice of pardon (v1-2)
      1. God instructed Isaiah to comfort His covenant people who was in captivity in Babylon. They should feel comfort because their sin has been paid. A hint of deliverance will happen soon
      2. Our sin has been paid fully by Christ on the cross, that is the greatest comfort message in mankind!
    2. The voice of providence (v3-5)
      1. It is a practice of some monarchs in ancient time to send out herald to clear the road, straighten crooked ways, and level hills to prepare for the King to come.
      2. Israel return from Babylon to Canaan would not be an easy journey. They need to be prepared to handle these obstacles.
      3. All four gospel writers quoted these verses to refer to John the baptist (Matt 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:4-6, John 1:23). In John 1:23, John the baptist quoted these verses himself. He was preparing to way for the Lord (v3) Jesus Christ, who is God (v3). John asked people to repent and confess their sins to prepare their hearts of the King. When Jesus came, the glory of God will be revealed!
    3. The voice of promise (v6-8)
      1. The glory of God (v5) is contrast with the glory of men (v6).
      2. Assyrians, Babyron and all nations and people, no matter how great they were, would eventually perish like grass and flowers.
      3. James used the same illustration in James 1:10-11 to teach the folly of trusting in material wealth and Peter used the same illustration in 1 Peter 1:24-25 to compare the life of born again Christians vs. the life of non-believers.
      4. Isaiah compares the temporal life of men to the eternal Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God.
    4. The voice of peace (v9-11)
      1. In ancient time, there is no electrical amplifiers and speakers to convey information. If you want to tell a message to a lot of people, you would go up to high places and shout out loud. Isaiah was giving good tidings to the Israelites whom would be in captivity by Babylon. The good new is God will deliver them from Babylon and lead them back to Zion to rebuild the city.
      2. We are called to bring good tidings to the lost in captivity by Satan. Our good news is the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not need to be afraid (v9) to proclaim the good tidings to the lost. We have the responsibility to tell the world that Jesus Christ is the one truth God.
      3. God is the all powerful Captain of His army (v10), and at the same time, God is the most caring Shepherd to His flocks (v11).
      4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the all powerful Captain and Judge. He leads us in battles with the enemies. He rewards those who are faithful to Him and punish who to reject Him. As the same time, Jesus is the Great Shepherd, we are His flocks. He carries us close to His heart when we proclaim His good tidings.
  2. How great Thou Art (40:12-26)
    1. God is greater than anything on earth (v12-20)
      1. greater than any man (v12-14)
      2. greater than nations (v15-16)
      3. greater than idols (v18-20)
    2. God is greater than anything on heavens (21-26)
  3. Soars on wings like eagles (40:27-31)
    1. The Jews in Babylon would be given the freedom to return back to Zion by King Cyrus, however the road back home will not be easy. 70 years after they lived in Babylon, they must have restarted new life in Babylon. To left everything and return will not be easy. They knew they needed to return because Zion was their promised land from God. Stuck in a crossed road, they complaint “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God” (v27)?
    2. God responded by proclaims His greatness to them. He is the everlasting God. He is the Creator of the ends of the earth. Even tough men will go weary, God will not.  His understanding no one can fathom (v28).
    3. His promises to those who wait upon Him is they will renew their strength in God no matter how tired they were. They will soar on wings like eagles! (v31)

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