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Isaiah 40-43


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year

        A new section begins at this point: Isaiah 40-66.  Chapters 1-35 have centered around prophesy against the Assyrians and the judgment on Israel's sin this involved.  In chapters 36-39, the failure of Assyria's attempt to conquer Jerusalem is shown, and the specter of Babylon's future rise to power is implied.  Chapters 40-66 are written as if the exile of Judah in Babylon is finally over.  This latter fact has led many scholars to conclude that the two parts of the book (1-39 and 40-66) are the works of two separate authors.  More in keeping with the Bible's view of itself is the concept that the prophetic writing was just that, prophetic, and the events described had not occurred but rather were being forecast.  If such an interpretation is acceptable in the case of prophesies regarding the coming of Christ 700 years later, it most certainly could be asserted regarding political events which were already on the horizon about 100 years in advance.
        The gentle compassion of God is seen throughout the opening chapters of this section (40-66).  His messenger (identified with John the Baptist in the New Testament; see Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4, and John 1:23) brings comfort and speaks tenderly to God's people (summarized by the term Jerusalem). 
        The importance and power of God are immediately highlighted as well: the mountains themselves are leveled to make His way smooth and a highway in the desert is built so He will not travel over uneven or uncomfortable ground.  In addition, He is the eternal One whose word stands forever and with whom no other being in heaven or on earth can compare. 
        “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?”  The phrase will come up many times in Isaiah's writing.  It emphasizes the fact the human beings have, from the time of Creation, been confronted with the evidence of God's supreme and unique greatness B something they may ignore, but not escape.
        Isaiah 40:29 is the source of many hymns and songs in the Christian Church: He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.  We are to be silent before Him as all who rage against Him will surely be ashamed and disgraced and perish (41:11). 
        Isaiah 42:1-4 is the 1st of 4 Servant Songs in Isaiah which refer to the coming Messiah (42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12).  The Servant is the Messiah who embodies all the ideal qualities of Israel, and acts as the high priest who offers atonement for the sins of his people.  The qualities of Christ (the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah) include compassion, fairness, a calm and gentle spirit and concern for those in need.
        Isaiah 43:1b-3a is a passage worth memorizing because it so clearly sum-marizes our relationship with God as Redeemer:  nothing in this world can stop Him from meeting our needs, not our sin and not the power or opinion of those around us.
        As you plan your day, plan to spend it with God, because He is always with us!       
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010