The exiles in Babylon faced three insurmountable obstacles: the nations, their rulers and their religions. These 3 obstacles dominated and permeated every aspect of their daily lives. How could they be overcome? In 40:12-31, Isaiah contrast these three formidable adversaries with the power of God as author and creator of history. He concludes this new kingdom God is announcing is so powerful nothing will threaten it and it will stand forever because it is build by the word of the Lord.
The glory of God vs. the nations (40:12-17)
- God has measured the finite universe.
- If people cannot measure (metaphorically, comprehend) the fullness of God’s creation, how much less can we measure the Spirit of God behind that creation?
- The nations are as insignificant as a drop in the bucket.
- Not only do they have no political significance, the nations have no moral significance either.
The glory of God vs. idols and kings (40:18-24)
- Idols require great expense and human effort, but give nothing in return.
- Compared to God, idols are nothing.
The glory of God vs. the stars (40:25-31)
- Look not to the stars, but to the One who made them.
- God not only made the stars, He cares for them like a shepherd.
- Therefore, wait on the Lord (vs. 27-31)
- Israel objects, “if God is so powerful, where is he?”
- Their distress does not result from God’s weakness, but from their need for humility.