The Expository Files

Comfort, Oh Comfort

Isaiah 40

We serve a powerful God, but we also serve a God who cares about us. The Christian can find comfort in His power. Isaiah chapter 40 is specifically intended to provide a message of comfort because of the power of God.

In Isaiah 39, Isaiah warns Hezekiah of the Babylonian captivity that is soon to come. Isaiah wrote chapter 40 to those people who would soon face that great tribulation as a message of comfort. In 40:27 we read that some of those of the land of Judah felt as though God had not given them justice. Imagine if you were an Israelite born into slavery in a foreign nation. You would hear the amazing stories about the nation of Israel, you were God's chosen people. It would be confusing, and disheartening to look about at your nation's current situation. They would surely wonder if God were still up there. Had He forgotten the people whom He had led out of Egypt?

Isaiah 40:1-2 sounds out like a grand announcement: "Comfort oh comfort, My people, says your God, speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare has ended..." As Isaiah begins this message of comfort he speaks about the Word of God, and how it stands. Good news is on its way, a shepherd is coming to guide the flock out from this slavery (40:3-11). It is then that Isaiah begins a description of our God that shows that God could not forget His people. "Who has measured the waters in the Hollow of His hand" (v 12). Take a look around Florida, and all you see is water. I, being from Illinois, have never experienced a hurricane, but I've seen tapes. Water is so vast and powerful. Water is something man can't really control, yet our God holds all of the water in His hand. He "marked off the heavens by the span." God can measure the sky simply by holding His hand and measuring the distance between His thumb and his pinky; it makes your hand seem small. God sits above the earth and sees what is going on (v 22). There is no one we know who we can compare Him with (v 25). Look into the night sky, and know that God has numbered the stars (v 26)!

So you think God has left something out (v 27)? "Do you not know, have you not heard" God is so powerful, do you think He could have left something out? Our God does not have the same limitations we do. When we don't under-stand, He does; when we are tired, He isn't. If God names the stars, He certainly will not forget His people.

By Nathan E. Quinn
From Expository Files 9.8; August 2002