“To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains. Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:18-22).
After pronouncing judgment upon Israel and the surrounding nations for their wickedness, God says, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” (Isaiah 40:1). Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord is now going to speak words of comfort to His people in the 2nd half of the book of Isaiah by speaking to them about the Messiah to come (Isaiah chapters 40-66). The section begins with a prophecy about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for Christ: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3).
Following this, God comforts His people by reminding them of Who He is. As the opening verses above indicate, God asks them a simple question: “To Whom will you liken Me?” (Isaiah 40:18). In the past, Israel had engaged in idol worship and had foolishly likened God to an idol made by the hands of men (Isaiah 40:19-20). Like many people today do who search in vain for another means of how things came into existence, they had failed to reflect that it was God who made all things and rules the world in which we live (Isaiah 40:21-22). The Lord reminds them: “‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:25-26).
Not only does God remind them of His power in creating the world, but He reminds them of the fact that He never grows faint or weary: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28). Furthermore, He reminds them of how His power can work in their lives and they can be strengthened through Him: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall” (Isaiah 40:29-30).
God’s people had found themselves powerless and weak as they were trampled upon by the nations which surrounded them because of their sin and rebellion against God. Following this, God loving spoke words of comfort to them by reminding them of His unfailing love for them and the power they could find through Him by turning back to Him. They could rest assured in this because God had promised this to them through His Word which endures forever: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
I am amazed at how awesome God is! He comforts us when we go astray. He gives us strength when we are weary. Today, I will rejoice that I serve a God like none other!
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).