If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 12, Psalms 97-98, Isaiah 40, Revelation 10. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Isaiah 40.
There are several passages in Isaiah that are well-known by many Christians: Isaiah 53, 9:6, 6:1-8 are a few that come to my mind immediately. But the last verse in today’s reading from Isaiah, 40:31, is on the list of well-known Isaiah passages for many people. This verse gives us encouragement to hope in the Lord when we are weak, so many believers find it uplifting to read and recite when they are discouraged. That is an excellent use of the verse; even more so when you read the whole chapter.
The passage opens by offering comfort for God’s people who have suffered in judgment for their sins under foreign oppression (vv. 1-2). Verses 3-11 tie this comfort to the coming of the Messiah; verses 3-4 were applied to John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ and verses 5-11 mostly describe the promises that Christ will fulfill when he establishes his earthly kingdom. Verses 12-26 describe why the Lord will be able to bring such comfort to his people and fulfill these promises. He can do it because of his infinity which eclipses everything we think is large on earth or the rest of the universe (v. 12) and because of his complete knowledge and wisdom (his omniscience, vv. 13-14). Other nations which seem so strong and imposing to us are insignificant to him (vv. 15-17). Other gods? Please; they are not worth mentioning in the same breath with the true God, being created by human beings who foolishly bow down and worship them (vv. 18-20). But don’t act like you’ve never heard of him; he’s everywhere—sitting enthroned above the earth (v. 22a), spreading out the heavens like a blanket (v. 22b)—but he’s also involved in world political affairs (vv. 23-24). There is no one like him, none as powerful as he is (vv. 25-26), so we must stop complaining that he has missed or overlooked what is important to us (vv. 27-28). Instead, we need to understand that God is the eternal one, the creator, the one who has infinite energy and wisdom (v. 28) and gives supernatural strength to those who hope in him (vv. 29-31). This “strength” that he gives is the courage to go on living obediently to him, even when we are discouraged. We do lose our strength from time to time, but if we contemplate who God is, as Isaiah has led us to do in the preceding parts of this chapter, our strength can be “renewed” (v. 31) and we can, by God’s grace, keep trusting, keep following, keep obeying him until he comes and establishes his kingdom for us.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.