Summary: God’s answer to all of life’s challenges is the same: Trust Me - an exposition of Isaiah 40
May 1, 2011
Sometimes, reading the newspaper can be entertaining. How about these headlines?
• 4-H Girls Win Prizes for Fat Calves
• After Detour to California Shuttle Returns to Earth
• Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
• Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
• Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
• L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal By Landslide
• Lawyers Give Poor Free Legal Advice
• Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
• Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
• March Planned For Next August
• Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder
• Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
These are funny, but, most days, news headlines paint a much more challenging picture of our world, don’t they? If you did nothing but listen to or watch or read news, and had no other perspective on the world, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to maintain any kind of positive attitude about our world.
Here are a few headlines I came across just this week:
Death toll reaches 14,435 from great quake-tsunami in Japan
Home prices falling in most major cities
Economists temper forecast for recovery
Gas tops key $4 price mark in Ohio
At least 400 civilians killed in Syria revolt
Tornadoes and storms rip through South, at least 284 dead
Anybody depressed yet? Anybody worried or scared yet? We can go from the larger level of things to worry about – things going on around the world that impact much if not all of the world - down to the smaller level – that’s us – the things that touch our lives personally. Illnesses. Jobs. Our personal finances. Family troubles. What would the headlines in your life look like?
How are we to respond to these challenges in the world, and these challenges in our personal lives? First I’ll give you the short answer, which is the best answer: in all these things, God says, “Trust Me.” God’s short answer to these questions is “Trust Me.”
But why? Why should we trust God? I believe there are many answers to this question in the Word of God. But for at least one longer answer to this, turn with me to Isaiah chapter 40. As you’re turning, let me give you a quick background.
The prophet Isaiah was writing here to a people in exile. Israel and Judah were living under an evil empire. They had been driven from their homelands, and were virtually powerless to do anything on their own. They’d seen their share of people killing other people, their own brand of terror. I’m guessing that many of the people of Israel and Judah, at the time of the message of Isaiah chapter 40, experienced the same kind of despair that people of our day might have, after we review the horrors of the daily news, or consider the difficult challenges in our personal lives.
Without the perspective that the Word of God can provide for us, it’s easy to become hopeless – to despair of ever seeing anything positive. It’s easy to think...we’re powerless. The world is a hopeless place. Where’s God? Where is He in all this stuff?
What we must remember is something that we’re going to discover this morning as we read our text, from Isaiah chapter 40. What this chapter reveals, among many other things, is that our God sees the whole panorama of life and history in a way we cannot. I’d encourage you to read the whole chapter on your own sometime this week, but we won’t take time to do that this morning. However, we are going to read much of it this morning, so hang with me...
Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
That’s a good start, huh? God comforting His people.
vs. 5 the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.
last part of vs 6 "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
Now listen to this word picture of God, beginning with verse 12:
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? 14Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? 15Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 16Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. 17Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. 18To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to