Meditation on Isaiah 40:1-8
Comfort for God’s People &
The Word of God Stands Forever
Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.
1. Chapter 40 begins the second section of Isaiah. The background is the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon. In 586 BCE the Babylonians overwhelmed Judah and took large numbers to Babylon. In about 540 the Persians under King Cyrus (see the end of chapter 44 and early verses of chapter 45), overcame the Babylonians and allowed the Jewish people to return to Judah.
2. Isaiah began his ministry about 740 BCE and continued for about 60 years. This is why some commentators believe there are two sections of Isaiah. And this does not impact our doctrine of inspiration of the Scripture in any way.
3. Comfort, Comfort, nahamu, nahamu, in Hebrew—words of encouragement to the Jews from Yahweh. Warfare is over, peace has come, God is making a way for His people.
4. “The glory of the LORD shall be revealed”–may be a reference to the advent of the Messiah, and the people returning to Judea is a big part of the overall plan.
5. Then a voice says, “Cry!” This is the voice of God and the prophet asks “what shall I cry?” The answer is stunning.
6. “All flesh is grass” is the core of the following incredible poem. The Creator God reminds us of who and what we are. We are like grass and a flower; these grow, but then fade and die. The times come and go, we come and go, but there is one thing that will stand and it is our God.
7. This is a word of hope for us today as well. We are acutely aware of the fragile nature of our world and of ourselves. Our hope alone is in our God, who in Christ Jesus has rescued us from death and hell.