The theme of these passages is a grand one, the majesty of God. The reason the gospel is so powerful is that it is no mere human invention; it emanates from the very throne of God. It is powerful because it is God’s gospel, and what a God He is! Amen? Isaiah paints a breathtaking picture of Him in verses 12-26. He created the universe as effortlessly as a skilled craftsman constructing a model on his workbench (v. 12). He is infinitely wise (vv. 13-14), totally sovereign (vv. 15, 17), worthy of more worship than we could ever give Him (v. 16), incomparable (vv. 18-20), and enthroned above the circle of the earth (vv. 22-24).
Lift up your eyes, says Isaiah, and see who it is who has given you His Word. There was plenty on the horizontal plane to discourage Isaiah and his contemporaries, and still more their successors who suffered the humiliation of defeat and deportation. But how could they give in to despair with a God like this? The danger, of course, was not that God would prove inadequate to their need, but that they would forget what God was like. That the God of Israel was the creator and Lord of the whole earth was not a novel idea; it was one of the most fundamental elements of their religious heritage. Their ancestors had seen the proof of it at the Red Sea, and for generations they had affirmed it in public worship. But such truth is not easy to believe when our world is in ruins. In the midst of suffering we can become almost too numb to grasp it. Isaiah therefore clothes the age-old truth in vivid language so that it will penetrate the dullness of those who are almost past hope, take a fresh hold of them, and lift them up.
No sooner has the truth of God’s power begun to take effect however, than an insidious doubt about His goodness begins to assert itself. “In view of all that has happened, can we really believe that God still cares for us? Isn’t the message that He will move heaven and earth to save us rather too superficial? Isn’t the truth rather that we are too small to be of more than passing interest to Him, and if that He ever really cared about us, surely He has long since ceased to do so?” (v. 27)
Isaiah knew that feeling all too well. He himself had been troubled by it many times in his own long pilgrimage of faith. But he had also learned enough about God to know that it was a lie. The glory of God is not just His power, but His servanthood; the fact is that no-one and nothing is too small to be important to God or worthy of His attention and care. God is not only strong Himself (v. 28), but He gives strength to the weary (v. 29). And therefore those who hope in Him will never do so in vain: They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (vv. 30-31).
Isaiah 40:12-31 Reflection Questions:
If you are going through troubled times; how do you view God?
What are some of your favorite Scriptures you turn to when you need encouraging?
How much do you know about God? Are you studying Him daily?