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Book of Isaiah
 

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Isaiah 40

King James Version
Comfort for God’s People
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.1



Bible Commentary
1
Comfort ye my people, twice repeated to give double assurance. Having announced the coming captivity of the Jews in Babylon, God now desires His servants, the prophets to comfort them.2
2 The book of Isaiah opens with a message of stinging rebuke to Jerusalem (ch. 1:2-12). She was then a besieged city and a wicked city like Sodom and Gomorrah (ch. 1:8-10). But now Isaiah foresees a time when her warfare is over and God sends a message of consolation to her. Punishment has been meted out because of her sins, and now pardon and restoration are offered. The warfare referred to includes the military invasions of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar more than a century later, and figuratively, the broader warfare of the church against the powers of darkness in all ages. Looking forward with prophetic vision to the time of restoration at the close of the Babylonian captivity, Isaiah speaks with confidence, as if the foes of Israel had already been vanquished.3
3 It was God's purpose that, upon restoration from Babylonian captivity, Israel as a nation should bend every effort to its own preparation and that of the nations about for the coming of Messiah. A glorious future awaited the nation, as the divine program was to proceed apace and without interruption until Messiah should appear and His eternal kingdom be set up. The process of preparation was to reach its climax in the life and ministry of John the Baptist, to whose work these words specifically pointed forward. Likewise it is the privilege of the church today to prepare… the way of the Lord, that He may return in power and glory.3
4 Preparations for the coming of an earthly monarch involved the repair of the way over which he was to travel, that his progress might be unhindered. As applied to the coming of King Messiah, the words have a spiritual application. It was the work of John the Baptist to call upon men to prepare their own hearts and lives for the coming of Jesus. God's messengers in the last days are to proclaim a similar message.3
5 The glory of the Lord was revealed in the life and ministry of our Lord. At Christ's second coming, men will behold His visible glory.3
6 The Lord's messenger found himself in perplexity. What message could he give appropriate to a time when the nation was suffering because of its sins?3 Having foretold glorious things, the prophet confirms the certainty of them, by representing the vast difference between the nature, and word, and work of men and of God. All that men are or have, their highest accomplishments, are but like the grass of the field, weak and vanishing, soon nipped and brought to nothing. However God's word is like himself, immutable and irresistible: and therefore as the mouth of the Lord, and not of man, hath spoken these things, so doubt not but they shall be fulfilled.4
7 That which is unholy cannot abide in His presence. God sends forth His Spirit in order that men who are unclean and unholy may be transformed, and renewed in the image of their Creator, but if they resist, they will perish like a flower of the field.3
8 Man is not immortal. So far as the element of life is concerned he is not superior to the grass of the field. The revealed will of God constitutes the spiritual food on which man is to subsist. Truth never changes, for its Author is the same yesterday, today and forever. Those who come to Him for the sustenance of their souls will never hunger.3
9 The good tidings of Zion or Jerusalem are the message of God's goodness and forgiveness. In a time of peril and darkness Zion has a message of hope and light.3
10 Isaiah pictures the coming of the Lord in judgment. The arm of God is extended in mercy to the righteous and in judgment to the wicked.3
11 The solicitous care of Christ for His people, providing for them and protecting them from harm, is often compared to the work of a gentle and faithful shepherd in caring for his flock. As a shepherd gathers his lambs, carrying those that are too feeble to walk, and driving the ewes gently, so Christ exercises every possible care for His flock. God is not an unfeeling master or a cruel tyrant, but the very embodiment of consideration and love.3
12 The exalted picture Isaiah here gives of the wisdom, power, and eternal majesty of God is unsurpassed in Scripture. God is the great Master Worker of the universe, the One who fashioned the heavens and the earth. For Him no task is too great and no responsibility too small. Things infinitely large and incomprehensible to man are as nothing to Him.3 This discourse of God's infinite power and wisdom is added to give them the greater assurance, that God was able to do the wonderful things he had promised.4
13 Confronted with a difficult task, a man usually looks to those of experience for wisdom and direction. God neither asks nor needs help from anyone. There is none wiser or more able than He.3
14 God is the embodiment and personification of wisdom, and all knowledge and understanding come from Him.3
15 In the days of Isaiah, Assyria was the greatest nation of the earth, feared by all others. But the Lord would have His people know that this greatest nation was as nothing before Him. When men fear God they need have no fear of the so-called great powers of the earth. Regardless of the plans and purposes of men, God brings His own will to pass.3
16 The Hebrews made much of sacrifices in their religion, but if all the wood of the great forests of Lebanon were used as fuel for a mighty sacrifice composed of all the beasts that lived there, the oblation would not be commensurate with the majesty of God.3
17 All nations are a mere nothing and emptiness in God's sight.2
18 A comprehension of the greatness and the infinity of God reveals the utter folly of idolatry.3
19 In the days of Isaiah, men employed their greatest ingenuity and their most precious metals in the manufacture of idols, but even then these were only the products of men's hands. What virtue could there be in setting up as objects of worship these things that are themselves made by man?3
20 The poor man, who cannot afford to make his idol of precious metal, makes it of wood. But having made this idol, what does he have more than wood? How long will such a god endure? Till the wood rots away.3
21 Are you completely lacking in knowledge? Does common sense not make clear to you the folly of your course? Isaiah here appeals to the basic intuitions of men, to say nothing of divine command or revelation. Even without the benefit of revelation men have sense enough, if they use it, to realise that idols made by the hands of men are not suitable objects of worship.3
22 The picture here is of the God reigning supreme in the highest heavens; from whence he looketh down upon the circular earth (Prov. 8:27), where even the greatest of men are utterly insignificant in comparison with Him.3,4
23 God removes kings and brings nations to their end. The rulers of earth occupy their thrones only so long as He permits.3
24 The supposedly great men of earth are hardly better than the grass that withers or the flower that fades. They vanish away when the Lord, as it were, blows upon them.3
25 The characteristic attribute of God is not so much His great wisdom or power, as His perfect holiness. This is the secret of His wisdom and power. Righteousness is the foundation of His throne. In sharp contrast, the deities of the heathen - Baal, Molech, Ishtar, etc - are vile creatures, the vices and passions of men deified.3
26 If men will but lift their vision heavenward, it is their privilege to behold undeniable evidence of all the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He sits, as it were, above all the starry host of heaven, governing the universe He has created. As we contemplate the number of the stars, their orderly arrangement, their glory and beauty, we cannot but be impressed with our own insignificance and the transcendent power of God. All the heavenly bodies pursue their assigned paths; each has its name and place, and each has its role in the great procession of space.3
27 Many in Judah felt that God had forgotten them and that He was not treating them justly. But there were many things they themselves failed to understand. Seated on His throne in the heavens, God sees all, knows all, and takes everything into consideration. He weighs carefully every factor, the past as well as the present, the future as well as the past. There is nothing that He fails to consider, no detail that escapes His notice. Whatever He does is wise, right, just, and good. Who is man to feel that he is being neglected or treated unjustly by God?3
28 No man can fathom the depths of God's providence and wisdom. He who telleth the number of the stars and whose understanding is infinite, is good and kind enough to supply all the needs of men.3
29 The God who faints not imparts strength to fainting hearts. Whatever man's needs may be, God is able to supply them all. Those who in meekness and lowliness of spirit realise their own frailties and shortcomings are the most certain of having their needs supplied. God's ear is always attuned to the cry of those who feel themselves insufficient for the tasks at hand and who desire the help of Heaven. It is in the weakness of humanity that God's strength is made perfect.3
30 Young men at the height of their vigour become weary and exhausted; even youths in the prime of life reach a point beyond which their strength fails. Many a struggle is lost because of weakness of body or spirit, even on the part of the most virile.3
31 Those that wait upon the Lord look to Him in sincerity and humility for wisdom and strength, and then patiently await His guidance. Strength is expended in service for the Master but there are always new supplies of grace and vitality available from Him who knows no weariness. One of the most magnificent sights of the wild is an eagle soaring in the sky, higher and higher, with seemingly little effort. Similarly, the child of God who draws his strength from above is enabled to go ever onward and upward, always reaching new heights of achievement.3

 

References and notes
1.  King James Authorized Version
2.  Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871).  Commentary by A. R. FAUSSETT - http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries
3.  Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4 pgs 244-248
4
.  John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible - http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries
5.  Scientific Facts In The Bible By Living Water Publications - www.inplainsite.org/html/scientific_facts_in_the_bible.html
6.  An Introduction to Isaiah - www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/isa/isa-intr.htm
7.  Christian Resource Centre (Bermuda) - Horn, Siegfried -
www.nisbett.com/summary/sum-o-20.htm -

 

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Isaiah 40
Bible Commentary
Isaiah and Science
Isaiah the Man

 

 

Author of Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah was the author of the book called by his name.
 

 

Music for Isaiah 40

An audio clip for Isaiah 40 is currently unavailable. This song was composed between 1997 and 2001 and may be recorded in a future album. Click on image to listen to other songs from the Isaiah Song collection.
 

 

Testimonials and Comments

 
 

 

Isaiah & Science: Columbus

Isaiah 40:22 (written 2700 years ago): "It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth." The Bible informs us here that the earth is round. At a time when science believed that the earth was flat, it was the Scriptures that inspired Christopher Columbus to sail around the world. He wrote: "It was the Lord who put it into my mind. I could feel His hand upon me . . . there is no question the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures . . ." (From his diary, in reference to his discovery of "the New World").5
 

 

Science:  Expanding Universe

Isaiah 40:22 (written 2,700 years ago): "It is He that . . . stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in." Scientists are beginning to understand that the universe is expanding, or stretching out. At least seven times in Scripture we are clearly told that God stretches out the heavens like a curtain.5
 

 

Science: Measuring the Seas

Isaiah 40:12 (written 2,700 years ago): "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand..." We are told that God has measured the waters and set a proper amount of water on the earth. Modern science has proved that the quantity of water on earth is just enough for our needs. If the sea became three meters deeper, the water would absorb all the carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and no creature could live any longer.5
 

 

A Literary Masterpiece

The book of Isaiah is the first of the so-called Major Prophets, the work of the greatest of the OT prophets. Isaiah's unsurpassed beauty of style and expression make his book the literary masterpiece of all Hebrew literature. Isaiah was a gifted orator and poet as well as the prince of prophets, and in proclaiming his inspired messages he employed a richer vocabulary than that found in any other OT book. A glossary of Isaiah would list more than 2,000 individual words. His exalted concept of the majesty, power, and character of God surpasses that reflected in the writings of the other prophets.7
 

 

Isaiah the Man

The son of Amoz, Isaiah was born into an influential, upper class family and thus knew royalty. Tradition states that he was a cousin of Uzziah or a nephew of Amaziah. Isaiah was a contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea, in Israel, but younger than they; and of Micah, in Judah. Isaiah was married to a prophetess (Isa. 8:1) and had at least two children. In Jerusalem, the chief scene of his labours, he became the court preacher and exercised considerable influence. For many years he was both political and religious counsellor to the nation. According to tradition (Talmud) Isaiah was sawn in two inside of a hollow log during the reign of Manasseh.6
 

 

Outline of the Book of Isaiah

This chapter begins the third and last section of the book of Isaiah. In many ways chs. 40-66 constitute the most important part of Isaiah's prophecy. Chapters 1-35 consist largely of a series of denunciations against transgression and pronouncements of judgments to follow. In chs. 36-39 there is a recital of incidents connected with Sennacherib's invasion, Hezekiah's illness and recovery, and the visit of the Babylonian envoys. In the chapters that follow, the message of the prophet is entirely different in tone and theme. Pronouncements of judgment and doom are largely in the past, and the remainder of the book deals with promises of the outpouring of God's grace upon the righteous. Throughout this section Israel (that is, the people of Judah, as the northern kingdom no longer existed) appears as the chosen people of God.3,7
 

 

Discouragement of Judah

Danger from Assyria, the chief enemy of Judah in chs. 1-39, was now, for the most part at least, in the past, and through the prophet Isaiah God prepares His people for an even greater calamity - the Babylonian captivity a century later. In the new section beginning with ch. 40 God finds Israel discouraged because of the seeming failure of His purpose for them as a nation, and bids them look forward in faith to the glorious prospect that awaited them upon their return from captivity.3
 

 

Message of Comfort

In the earlier part of the book, Isaiah proclaims a message of rebuke; now he sets before them one of comfort and hope. The previous section deals largely with the unrighteousness of the people; this, with the righteousness of God. Chapters 1-39 are concerned largely with the success of the enemy in drawing God's people away from their high ideals; chs. 40-66, with the Lord's success in drawing Israel back to its ideal position as the light and hope of the world.3
 

 

Messianic Prophecies

The prophetic insight into the glorious destiny that awaited Israel, as set forth in chs 40 to 66, is without equal elsewhere in Scripture. Isaiah has appropriately been called the Messianic prophet because of the many sublime passages that foretell the coming of Messiah and the establishment of His reign of righteousness.7
 

 

God the Hope of Israel

Here is a striking picture of Messiah as God's servant, and of men walking in His footsteps and being His witnesses. Here are sublime pictures of God as the hope of His people, and of His people returning to Him and occupying their appointed position as His representatives on earth. Here, they are delivered from Babylon, they reoccupy the Land of Promise, and the waste places of earth become like the garden of the Lord.3
 

 

Isaiah Song Category

The Isaiah Song Category is a great starting point for searching the songs which make up this music category. The song category page contains Daily Scriptures and easy links to song previews and song pages. The song pages include interesting background information and commentary about the songs and the Bible author. Sometimes there are links to related web pages including Bible Quotes, Sermons, Music samples, and Bible Puzzles.
 

 

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