Interpretation of: Isaiah 40

Isaiah 40

Comfort for God’s People

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

4Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.

5And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

6A voice says, Cry [prophesy]! And I said, What shall I cry? [The voice answered, Proclaim:] All flesh is as frail as grass, and all that makes it attractive [its kindness, its goodwill, its mercy from God, its glory and comeliness, however good] is transitory, like the flower of the field.

7The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely [all] the people are like grass.

8The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?

14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.

17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?

19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.

20 A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Interpretation

This is one of those paragraphs whereby the first half of the saying is repeated by the second half but in clearer terms.

Verse 3 appears to be referring to the time where Yahuwshua travelled through the wilderness [desert] whilst fasting and defeating the enemy’s taunts and deceptive half truths in the process. Remember that righteousness is when we walk a straight path. A well trodden road as i have previously stated is ‘derek’ and ‘orach’. This was taken to mean a course of action, of  life and i believe this is the pathway which Yahuwshua laid in the wilderness, i.e. he showed us how we should defeat the adversary and that is to ensure we know the bible in its entirety so we know how to deal with such situations.

Verse 4 appears to refer to how Yahuvah will be proud of the humble and will humble the proud. Additionally, it talks of how the crooked [i.e. those not on the straight path] will be put back onto the straight path [they will cease their sinning and iniquities and will follow the course of the Lord which he has already walked, thus making it easier for us [think of it like walking through a field of grass, its easier to follow a route thats already been taken as there is a ‘path’, not many will make their own unless they want to ‘get off track’].

Verses 5-8 refer to our transitory life and varying emotions. Remember that breath is ‘ruach’ also translated as spirit but specifically means wind hence the wind that blows the grass.  As grass, we are fragil and depend upon the Lords ‘light’, water and food to sustain us. We get this through our faith, trust and belief in the Lord allowing him to strengthen us and the word to enlighten us. The Lord gave us our characteristics and personalities  through piecing together specific genes from each parent. Our environment however has an effect on us also and if we sow good seeds we will reap [i.e. flowers]. However depending on the Lords will we will wither, our flowers will fade. We grow weary and we lose hope, our strength in the Lord diminishes as we rely on ourselves but we are weak. Although we will eventually die, what lives on is the word as it has for over 3000 years. What we can count on is its renewing power. Though we are as weak as grass and though the Lord may ‘blow’ us in a certain direction, rather than withering we can gain renewal in the ‘firm and faithful’ word which will strengthen us, increase our vitality and essentially restore us. Only the word can do this, we must stop looking for quick fixes that rely on human understanding and we must switch to the word of God, after all its as true in 2010AD as it was around 1200BC and many are realising this daily.

Verses 9-11 are about Yahuwshua who is the good shepherd and guides us all to pasture. To recompense is to make amends for, to pay back for e.g. injury. He rewards our belief and love of him with eternal life in the Kingdom in his presence as the reward.

Verses 12-17 talk about the nature of Yahuvah. Yahuwshua said he has always been  with the father since the beginning. This of coure is why he was so wise, and why he could defeat sin and the adversary. It shows how ‘significant yet insignificant’ we really are and how foolish we should feel for thinking otherwise. We are significant seeing that we are special to the Lord and he loves us and we will see him again, yet we are insignificant with regards to our perceived wisdom, our knowledge, our thinking that we know best and what not.

Verses 18 onwards talks about the rich who get gold plated idols to present an offering. The poor are unable to afford this yet so they seek something cheaper that is still firm [tree wood] and that will not topple [requires an emun i.e. man firm in his talents – a craftsman to set up the idol]. What the rest says as interpreted above is that there is nothing firmer than the word [hence the Hebrew word Aman – something that is firm, translated as truth]. And there is no one of greater truth than Yahuwshua. Think about it, this was written in 800-600BC, h would have had ‘no idea’ that his writings would stand the testament of time [but Yahuvah knew].

Yahuwshua is ‘one’ for all whether poor, rich etc. His message was free and all thats required from us is our faith and belief in him and therefore in Yahuvah. You could say that Yahuvah is the ‘idol’ we must worship and Yahuwshua is the ‘craftsman’ that ‘set up’  or presented the idol [God] to mankinds senses [the unseen now seen ‘in the flesh’].

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