Read the passage here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2040:18-31&version=NIV
I love this passage because it’s so well-rounded. Isaiah starts by writing about God’s uniqueness (v. 18), his awesome power compared to creation (v. 22) and his absolute sovereignty (v. 23). In these opening verses, we don’t see a weak, frail God, we see the powerful Creator, the King of All. Isaiah mentions idols (v. 19) and then dismisses them as nothing compared to the God of Israel. For the Israelites, this was an important message because again and again in their mottled history, they turned away from YHWH (one of the Old Testament names for God) and ran to idols like the Baals and Asherah. It’s also a message that’s important for Christians living in late/post modernity. With so much stuff vying for our attention, it’s good to be reminded that compared to God, earthly powers and attractions are nothing. It’s good to be reminded of our place in the grand scheme of things every once in a while; despite the scientific revolution of Copernicus, it still seems that a lot of us think we’re the centre of the solar system.
Descriptions of God’s awesome (and I mean that in the full sense of the word) creative powers continue through the passage, with God bringing out the ‘starry host one by one’, calling ‘forth each of them by name’. This is poetic, not an account of creation methods, but the message is clear: God is powerful. Isaiah goes on to emphasise God’s ‘great power and mighty strength’ (v. 26).
At verse 27, the attention shifts back to Israel and a complaint that seems to have been common in Isaiah’s time – “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by God.” In other words, “Why is God ignoring me?” Am I wrong in thinking that this is still a common complaint well over 2000 years later?
Now here comes the best bit: Isaiah’s response to that complaint. Read aloud verses 28-31 and let them take root in your own life. This is other side of God; yes he’s powerful, awesome and so much greater than us that we can’t fathom it, but he also cares. We may grow ‘tired and weary’ (v. 30), but God will never fail (v. 28). He will renew us, so that we ‘soar on wings like eagles[…]run and not grow weary[…]walk and not be faint. He doesn’t have to do this, we are ‘like chaff’ (v. 24), but he does do this, because he cares for us.
I hope you can see why I love this passage so much. It reminds me that God is awesome and sovereign, but he cares for me anyway. That’s a God we can worship.