Isaiah 40

* The preaching of the gospel, and glad tidings of the coming of

Christ. (1-11) The almighty power of God. (12-17) The folly of

idolatry. (18-26) Against unbelief. (27-31)

1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the

most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are

removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of

the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory

of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents

receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the

satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The

prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from

Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed

out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the

Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes

marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them,

and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by

the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that

high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires

planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened,

and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will

on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all

that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the

grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and

possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under

condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all

flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to

be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man

armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and

do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows

tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a

sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and

by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will

strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and

follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.
12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison with

the Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, none

directed his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it.

The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remains

in the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the small

dust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with all

the earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, though

it is of such small account and value with him, yet, for the

redemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, #Joh 3:16|. The

services of the church can make no addition to him. Our souls

must have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father had

not given himself for us.
18-26 Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more than

God, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not make

images or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcely

a sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own.

They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent in

the service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, the

prophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorant

of this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of all

creatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us to

use our reason as well as our senses; to consider who created

the hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one fails

to fulfil his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all the

promises, and engaged to perform them.
27-31 The people of God are reproved for their unbelief and

distrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob and

Israel, from one who found God faithful to him in all his

straits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant with

Him. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish before

inquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise in

our minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they had

known, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fears

and distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he will

perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him,

help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the

strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the

world. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully.

Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we

go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall;

but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be

carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of

the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

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