God Who Comforts and Redeems

Isaiah turns a page to more hopeful and promising future for God's people.

Comfort and Deliverance: Isaiah 40, 41 (7)

Pray Psalm 81.1, 2.
Sing aloud to God our strength;
Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.
Raise a song and strike the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the lute.

Review Isaiah chapters 40, 41.

Reflect.
1. How many different ways does God emphasize the reliability of His Word in these two chapters?

2. Why does God put so much emphasis on His sovereignty in Isaiah 40 and 41?

Meditate.
These chapters are designed to point Israel beyond her current difficulties, and those which are shortly to befall her, to a coming day of redemption, comfort, prosperity, and conquest in the Name of the Lord. In this part of Isaiah’s book, he is refocusing the people of Judah and Jerusalem from the immediate implications of God’s Word to the longer term blessings, yet to be revealed.

The emotions in these two chapters range from gentle and comforting to outraged and indignant. God is not indifferent, either to the suffering of His people or to their disregard of His covenant and Word. The underlying affection of these chapters is hope – hope in a coming new day, when God and His people will be fully reconciled and restored to one another. And this is just the prelude to the remaining chapters of this magnificent book.

“Don’t worry about the nations who threaten you,” God seems to be saying. “They are My servants, doing My bidding, and when I’m finished with them, I will set them all aside.” The focus of all God’s sovereign work on earth is the salvation of His people for the glory of His Name. He uses nations according to His purposes, not overlooking their sinful rebellion, but not denying their usefulness for His long-term purposes.

While the nations and people of Judah were busy trying to decide which false deities to placate and how to assemble enough weapons to defeat their enemies, God stands in the midst of them, in the person of Isaiah, and commands them to remember His greatness. We are so short-sighted sometimes! A friend once reminded me that a penny is a very small thing, until you hold it right up against your eye. Then it can seem like all the world. The people of God had filled their line of sight with the looming threats of Assyria and Babylon. But as God had disposed of the one, He would likewise deal with the other, when His purpose for Babylon was complete.

The people should look to God, trust in His Word, rely on His ancient covenant and promises, repent of their rebellious ways, and not be afraid of what they are about to endure. He will be with them, and He will return them to their place in His promised land, with blessings greater than they can imagine, and power beyond what they’d ever known before.

How all this takes place will be the subject of the remaining chapters of the book of Isaiah.

Prepare.
1. How can you remind yourself throughout the day that God is sovereign and faithful? Why should you do so?

2. We are to fear neither men nor our circumstances, but God only. What does it mean to fear God? Why is fearing Him so important to serving Him well?

3. What’s your primary takeaway from Isaiah 40, 41?

For to none other than to God does it belong to implant courage in the fearful, saying to the fainthearted, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed,” as says the psalmist, “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Gregory of Nyssa (335-394 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 2.20

Today, Lord, help me to be alert to all the evidence of Your sovereign power and care, so that I…

Pray Psalm 81.

This psalm recalls God’s redemption of His people and His calling of them to be a holy people before Him. Use it to recall and give thanks for your own salvation and for the daily opportunities you have for serving the Lord.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 81 (St. Petersburg: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O sing for joy to Jesus our strength; to Jacob’s great God shout joyfully at length! 
And strike the drum, and offer a song; all instruments, your glad music prolong. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

Let every kind of instrument play to celebrate God’s deliverance today. 
It is His statute and His command to worship and praise all over the land. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Declare His mercy, tell of His grace; our enemies flee the look of His face. 
In mighty deeds strong witness He gave, and powerf’ly did His chosen ones save.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

God set us free from bondage to sin and graciously brought us near Him again; 
He rescued us whenever we cried and often our falt’ring confidence tried: 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

“Let no false gods among you be found; but scatter their altars over the ground. 
Pursue not wealth, nor leisure nor fame, but worship the Savior’s glorious Name: 
O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

For You are God, Your Name is the Lord, who faithfully keeps His covenant Word,
Who rescued us from bondage and pride; our mouths He would fill, we open them wide. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

“My people would not listen to Me, but hardened their hearts most hideously; 
I cursed them for their hard-hearted ways to wander in darkness all of their days: 
O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Now let us all abandon our ways and listen to God, and offer Him praise! 
Our foes He will so quickly subdue, extending His hand to save and renew. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!” 

Then even those despising the Lord would falsely obey and follow His Word; 
In vain they seem to follow His way, yet judgment awaits on God’s chosen day. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!’

The finest foods for us He will buy, and furnish us an abundant supply; 
How sweet our lives can be in the Lord, when only we heed His glorious Word. 
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

T. M. Moore

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? How can I be a better student of God’s Word? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better approach to and understanding of the Scriptures. Watch this brief preview video, then register at The Ailbe Seminary and enroll in this free online course.

Each week’s lesson in our study of Isaiah is available as a free PDF download at the end of the week 
(click here). Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.

If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

Today's ReVision

For Life

The Christian worldview is neither narrow, private, nor merely personal. It's about life.

Join the Ailbe Community

The Fellowship of Ailbe Newsletters