This chapter starts off with a declaration of comfort towards Jerusalem, whom the Lord says has already suffered double for her sins. This is not a sermon of fire and brimstone. Rather, this is a testimony of the peaceable things of the Kingdom of God.
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
This chapter is where we find the first reference to the phrase: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness” which is first attributed to John the Baptist. But here it is given in connection with events that pertain to the Second Coming of Christ.
Back at the beginning of the chapter, I’m asking myself who are the pronouns directed towards. Is this Isaiah speaking of what he has heard from the mouth of God? Is he speaking in Messianic terms, that is, is this what Christ has heard from the mouth of His Father? Someone is receiving a mandate from God to speak comfort to His people. Then its not Isaiah or Christ saying this is what God has said, or this is what “my” God has said, but the possessive pronoun used here is this is what “your God” has said.
So you who are of the house of Israel, your God has a message for you: Be comforted, and know that you are forgiven. Now prepare the way of the Lord.
All Flesh Is Grass
The passing of humanity, its temporary state, is emphasized here. The Lord compares it to the grass of the field, and the good works of humanity as a flower that soon fades away. Isaiah emphasizes this point for three verses and then states: “but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
The works of humanity are temporary, the word of God is eternal. Such a more profound investment of time is made when we labor for our God, and the forward motion of His work! For what man, at any point in all of history, has outlived his days? The answer: none.
Behold Your God!
What do I feel? What do I realize when I read verses 9 -11? Verse 9 is a rallying cry to not hide the testimony of the Lord that is within me. Both Zion and Jerusalem are encouraged to lift their voices, be not afraid, and say “Behold your God!”
Verse 10 talks of how the Lord will come to establish his works at the end of times. What is that work? It is the same as is presently underway, only more so. Family history work, the work of knitting hearts together through temple covenants. The work of conversion to the Lord.
Verse 11 reminds me of how attentive the Lord is with his followers. Descriptions like feeding his flocks, gathering his lambs, carrying them in his bosom (or close to his heart), gently leading those that are with young; these paint a picture of a God who is gentle, loving, and kind.
This is the God that Israel is being brought to consider, a God who despite having a strong and mighty arm with power over all nations, who tenderly and mercifully is attentive to our needs. This is what you do with power, when you have it.
With Whom Took He Counsel?
Verses 12-25 offer a humbling set of questions and perspectives that illustrate in unquestionable terms the greatness of our God. As I read these questions, I’m asking myself: how could man even begin to comprehend such questions?
- Who has measure the waters of the earth in his hands?
- Who has measured the heavens with a ruler?
- Who understands (comprehends) the dust of the earth and can assign it any form of measurement?
- Who had weighed the mountains and hills with a scale?
In Isaiah’s day, no one would have even fathomed such a scale or scope of measurements. In our day, we accomplish such tasks only with tools of observation, but not with precise measurement.
But Isaiah doesn’t stop there. He continues with questions of the grand scope of God:
- Who directs the Spirit of the Lord?
- Who is a counselor, or director to the Spirit of the Lord?
- Who does the Lord take counsel with?
- Who teaches the Lord?
- Who taught Him the path of judgment or knowledge?
- Who showed Him the way of understanding?
We simply do not have answers to these questions. But to assume that they came from anyone within the known mortal realm is inconceivable.
But Isaiah doesn’t stop here. Now he shifts gears to a comparison perspective. To the Lord:
- The nations of the earth are as a drop in a bucket.
- The nations of the earth are counted as small dust on a scale.
- The isles are as a “very little thing”.
- Lebanon (and its cedar trees) are not worth burning.
- The animals (beasts) there off are not enough for a burnt offering.
- All nations before God are as nothing.
- These nations are counted as less than nothing!
And yet, Isaiah doesn’t stop there. Understand oh man, that your idols whether of molten rock or wood not easily rotted, are nothing in comparison. Isaiah’s final set of comparisons equate men with grasshoppers, princes as nothing, judges of the earth as vanity. And all this that we may consider the grandeur of that Being in who we ought to place our strength
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.Verse 31