Today’s text: Isaiah 39-40 & Romans 6
The book of Isaiah can be logically divided into two distinct parts. The first 39 chapters deal with sin and impending judgment and the final 27 chapters deal with identifying a Savior, forgiveness, and restoration of relationship. It is interesting, even if only coincidental, that our Bible follows a similar format. The Bible is comprised of 66 individual books with 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Like the final 27 chapters of Isaiah, the New Testament identifies a Savior, introduces us to God’s grace and leads us to the restoration of our relationship with Him. Today’s text bridges the transition. Chapter 39 foretells the destruction of a nation and the deportation of its people to serve their conquerors in foreign lands. The people had abandoned God and now grew weary of Isaiah’s warnings and call to repentance. Although God’s judgment is sure it is not without mercy. Soon Israel and Judah would be in exile. Soon their beautiful temple would lay in ruins. Soon the symbol of God’s presence would no longer be visible. Soon they would no longer need to be warned of pending judgment or reminded of their sins, because they would be experiencing the consequences of them every day of their life.
Chapter 40 reminds them that God has not forgotten them in their captivity. They needed to hear Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” They needed to hear that a highway was being built, an expressway thru the dessert. Mountains were being leveled, valleys filled because no obstacle would prevent or delay God from reaching his children. Although they were suffering in slavery soon they would be gathered in his arms and carried close to his heart (v 11). Isaiah was to remind them that there was strength for the weary, power for the weak and renewal for those whose hope was in the Lord. Soon they would “soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary and walk and not faint.”
Regardless of where we find ourselves today or what circuitous route we have taken to get here it is still good to know God concerns himself with our comfort (40:1) and restores those who place their hope in him (40:31).