Summary: Exposition of Isaiah 40
A Time of Comfort
Stand on the Word vs. 1-8
Follow His Lead vs. 9-14
No Comparison vs. 15-26
Wait on the Lord vs. 27-31
Intro: Isaiah 39
Last week we left off before I could get to Isaiah 39
It is not a big chapter but let me recap it real quick
Hezekiah recovers and Babylon hears about it
Wanting to form an alliance with Judah against Assyria King Merodach sends his son to Jerusalem
While there Hezekiah shows his group everything Israel has, including its treasuries
God alerts Isaiah to it who proceeds to confront Hezekiah on it
Hezekiah is honest about what he did but it still costs Judah
Everything that Hezekiah showed the Babylonians will be taken away by them
On top of that some of his sons will be taken too
Hezekiah’s response to this is very telling
Vs. 8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”
At least it won’t happen during my reign, classic politician, make the next group pay
Unfortunately Hezekiah didn’t finish well
His son, Mannaseh, is considered the worst king in the history of Israel
Judah goes back to sinning worse than it did before
Because of that God doesn’t spare the rod, Judah goes into captivity for 70 years
Because of that God must comfort his people
Isaiah 40-66 is a compilation of messages comforting Israel while in captivity in Babylon
Read Isaiah 40:1-5
God is a God is conviction and comfort
Too much of either creates an imbalance within the believer
When there is too much judgment the person can walk around condemned
Paul tells us in Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Condemnation brings with it shame and guilt that can undo our relationship with Christ
At the same time not all conviction is condemnation
God chastens those he loves to bring them closer to Him and remove behaviors that are ungodly
When there is too much comfort it produces soft Christians unable to fight the spiritual battles
Too much comfort brings on spiritual laziness and a sense of entitlement
We expect God to do everything for us like a butler
That is why God uses both conviction and comfort
As we get into chapter 40 God is bringing the comfort to Judah
But there is a gap between chapters 39 and 40
Stand on the Word vs. 1-8
Vs. 1 Comfort, yes, comfort My people!
Isaiah knew what it was to warn and instruct God’s people; but the LORD also wanted His people to receive His comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3 speaks of our Lord as the God of all comfort; God wants His messengers to speak comfort to His people!
Speak comfort to Jerusalem: This means that Jerusalem needed a word of comfort.
This means that God had comfort to give them.
God’s comfort is not a hollow, positive-thinking, “There’s-a-silver-lining-behind-every-cloud” kind of message.
God always gives His people reasons for comfort.
The comfort comes with tender words, spoken to the heart.
Speak comfort is literally, “‘speak to the heart’, like a young man wooing his girl
How God’s messengers today must speak to the heart!
Is 51:12 “I, I am he who comforts you, who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,
Vs. 2 That her iniquity is pardoned: At the moment Isaiah spoke this, Jerusalem was well aware of her sin - Isaiah had made them aware of it!
Yet, the prophet speaks of a day when comfort can be offered because her iniquity is pardoned.
This is real comfort; to be recognized as a sinner - as one having iniquity - yet knowing just as much that our iniquity is pardoned.
This was reason for comfort.
Vs. 3 Prepare the way of the LORD: The idea is that the LORD is coming to His people as a triumphant King, who has the road prepared before Him so He can travel in glory and ease.
Every obstacle in the way must be removed: every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth
This passage of Isaiah 40:3-5 has a direct fulfillment in the New Testament, in the person and ministry of John the Baptist.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, knew this at the birth of his son (Luke 1:76).
And three gospels directly relate this passage to the ministry of John
Matt 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare[a] the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”