Monday, June 3, 2013

Isaiah 40-41 | God’s People Comforted, Futility of Idols | Steve Gregg



During the 2012 session of The New Great Commission School, Bible-teacher Steve Gregg delivered a series of lectures on the book of Isaiah. This lecture covers chapters 40 and 41.

Isaiah 40

New King James Version (NKJV)

God’s People Are Comforted

40 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert[a]
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he[b] said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”

O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters[c] in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
19 The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
20 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.

21 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?
22 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.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.

24 Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

25 “To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
26 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.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 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.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:3 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint omits in the desert.
  2. Isaiah 40:6 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, and Vulgate read I.
  3. Isaiah 40:12 Following Masoretic Text, Septuagint, and Vulgate; Dead Sea Scrolls read waters of the sea; Targum reads waters of the world.

Isaiah 41

New King James Version (NKJV)

Israel Assured of God’s Help

41 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands,
And let the people renew their strength!
Let them come near, then let them speak;
Let us come near together for judgment.

“Who raised up one from the east?
Who in righteousness called him to His feet?
Who gave the nations before him,
And made him rule over kings?
Who gave them as the dust to his sword,
As driven stubble to his bow?
Who pursued them, and passed safely
By the way that he had not gone with his feet?
Who has performed and done it,
Calling the generations from the beginning?
‘I, the Lord, am the first;
And with the last I am He.’”

The coastlands saw it and feared,
The ends of the earth were afraid;
They drew near and came.
Everyone helped his neighbor,
And said to his brother,
“Be of good courage!”
So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith;
He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil,
Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”;
Then he fastened it with pegs,
That it might not totter.

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
 
11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob,
You men of Israel!
I will help you,” says the Lord
And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth;
You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small,
And make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away,
And the whirlwind shall scatter them;
You shall rejoice in the Lord,
And glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
20 That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The Futility of Idols

21 “Present your case,” says the Lord.
“Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.
22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen;
Let them show the former things, what they were,
That we may consider them,
And know the latter end of them;
Or declare to us things to come.
23 Show the things that are to come hereafter,
That we may know that you are gods;
Yes, do good or do evil,
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
24 Indeed you are nothing,
And your work is nothing;
He who chooses you is an abomination.

25 “I have raised up one from the north,
And he shall come;
From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name;
And he shall come against princes as though mortar,
As the potter treads clay.
26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know?
And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’?
Surely there is no one who shows,
Surely there is no one who declares,
Surely there is no one who hears your words.
27 The first time I said to Zion,
‘Look, there they are!’
And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.
28 For I looked, and there was no man;
I looked among them, but there was no counselor,
Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
29 Indeed they are all worthless;[a]
Their works are nothing;
Their molded images are wind and confusion.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 41:29 Following Masoretic Text and Vulgate; Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac, and Targum read nothing; Septuagint omits the first line.