Isaiah 40 Commentary

Isaiah 40 Commentary

Chapter 39 closed with Isaiah announcing the exile, the scattering. The announcement is placed somewhere during the reign of Hezekiah. The scattering happened about 100 years after Isaiah’s announcement, during the reign of King Zedekiah, in 587 BC.

The punishment would last 70 years as directed by the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah.

Chapter 40 is probably announcing the new dispensation after 70 years of punishment. The LORD has ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the “hard service has been completed”. Let the nation restart life under the rule of God. Let there be a way for the LORD into the life of the nation. Then, and only then will the glory of the LORD be revealed.

But is God’s rule really possible around this time? Isaiah appears to pour scorn on this hope. Human faithfulness is fragile. Like grass, it falters. And real restoration depends on human faithfulness! Yet the word that the LORD would restore His rule over Jerusalem remains intact and unchanged. You begin to think about yet another future beyond the prophet’s present time.

You begin to think about another human being whose faithfulness won’t falter. The announcement, therefore, becomes one for the New Testament – a time when “the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and rules with a mighty arm”. It is the time of Immanuel – the Son born to us. Verse 11 introduces another office: “he tends his flock like a shepherd.”

Then we have a praise psalm describing the shepherd, Immanuel, or the Son – the Sovereign LORD. The Creator God reigns over all creation. He is in charge. It is a message that the saint needs today. In the midst of confusion and increased wickedness, let the saint know that the Sovereign LORD remains on the throne. His word never fails.

Let not the saint worry.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Reading the Bible is an interesting activity. You hear God speak to you in different time slots. The context is always different but the message is always the same: let the Sovereign LORD rule in your life. The message is packaged differently but it is always the same.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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