Isaiah 40:1-31

Daybreak for Students

Isaiah 40:1-31

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Isaiah 40
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31

I’m in a rush! I’m late! There is bumper-to-bumper traffic around me and we are not even moving — there must be an accident ahead. Well, I’ll just have to sit here. I glance at my watch. Okay–while I’m sitting, I can think about what comes next. My body may be sitting still but my mind is still racing along full speed ahead. Then my thoughts are captured by a song on the radio. Its words remind me, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Hmmm, “They that wait . . .” Those words are food for thought.

As I ponder the message of that song, it occurs to me that this is a promise from God. The Bible is full of such wonderful promises — all of which I believe to be one hundred percent true. As I examine this particular promise, I wonder how it is possible to run and not be weary, or to walk and not faint. At this particular moment, my feet are aching, my head is throbbing, and actually, I’m not sure I have the energy to fly anywhere! Perhaps you can relate.

Taking a step back from the immediate situation, I am able to get a clearer perspective of this promise God has given. I realize that it is not meant necessarily just in physical terms but also relates to our spiritual stamina. What does it mean to “wait upon the Lord”? The Biblical word translated wait, means “to bind together, perhaps by twisting,” like strands of a rope, and “to patiently tarry.” It is not so much waiting on God, as waiting with God. We can be interwoven with the Lord in our tarrying. In that position, we can both hope and quietly wait as the Lord directs our steps.

When we wait with the Lord, we find that our hearts are strengthened. We are connected to Him, and He will help us progress in our walk and will keep us strong. He knows what is best for our lives and His timing is perfect. His benefits are beyond measure — yet available to us if we simply wait with Him!

BACKGROUND

Chapter 40 begins what is referred to as the “Book of Comfort” or “Words of Comfort.” As with many writings of the prophets, this passage has a dual purpose: it is one of encouragement for the Children of Israel, but also a message of encouragement for future generations.

This chapter is directed toward “my people,” as stated in the first verse. The Hebrew word translated as people was ‘amiy, meaning those who have entered into a covenant relationship with God.

The beginning of this chapter had four messages for the needy nation of Israel. Through Isaiah, God gave a message of pardon (verses 1-2), a message of help (verses 3-5), a message of promise that God’s Word would stand forever (verses 6-8), and a message of good tidings and peace (verses 9-11).

In verse 11, God is compared to a shepherd. A shepherd is strong, caring for the most powerless animals. Here, as in other places throughout the Bible, word pictures are used to help the people understand the concept.

The terms measured, meted out, comprehended and weighed, mentioned in verse 12, all have different meanings and words of origination, and are not simply different ways to say the same thing. Isaiah was trying to help Israel realize that God Himself was immeasurable, and that His creation was magnificent and intricate. He was and is the only One who can measure it or sustain it.

Isaiah artfully used rhetorical questions in this chapter to bring into clear view the greatness of the one true God. There is nothing that can compare to His likeness. Even Lebanon, considered to be the great forest, did not have enough wood or animals to create a burnt offering worthy to be offered to God.

Verse 22 gave an early awareness of the earth’s shape as a sphere and not flat as some later supposed.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV.   The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
      A.   The promise of deliverance (comfort)
            1.   The comfort of Israel (40:1-31)
                  a.   The call to comfort (40:1-11)
                       (1)   The advent of comfort (40:1-2)
                       (2)   The advent of the comforter (40:3-11)
                  b.   The character of the comforter (40:12-26)
                       (1)   His greatness (40:12-17)
                       (2)   His incomparableness (40:18-26)
                  c.   The comforter offered to Israel (40:27-31)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. What two statements in this chapter give a picture of the magnitude of God? 

  2. Why do you think God instructed Isaiah to speak in a loving and gentle manner in this chapter?

  3. What are ways that we can better utilize the strength that God offers?

CONCLUSION

Are you waiting with God today? If so, you can trust Him to have every moment of your day under His control, and He can give you the strength for anything that faces you.