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God’s People Have Hope

40 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kind words to Jerusalem. Call out to her that her time of war has ended, that her sin has been taken away, and that she has received from the Lord’s hand twice as much for all her sins.”

A voice is calling, “Make the way ready for the Lord in the desert. Make the road in the desert straight for our God. Every valley will be lifted up and every mountain and hill will be brought down. The turns in the road will be made straight and the bad places will be made smooth. Then the shining-greatness of the Lord will be seen. All flesh together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry.” And he said, “What should I cry?” All flesh is grass. All its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass dries up and the flower loses its color when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. For sure the people are grass. The grass dries up. The flower loses its color. But the Word of our God stands forever.

O Zion, you who bring good news, go up on the high mountain! Lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, you who bring good news. Lift it up, do not be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Lord God will come with power, and His arm will rule for Him. See, He is bringing the reward He will give to everyone for what he has done. 11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them close to His heart. He will be gentle in leading those that are with young.

12 Who knows how much water is in His hand? Who has used his hand to know how far the heavens reach? Who knows what the dust of the earth would fill? Who has weighed the mountains and the hills? 13 Who has led the Spirit of the Lord? Who has taught Him words of wisdom? 14 From whom did He ask for wisdom, and who gave Him understanding? Who taught Him the right way, and taught Him much learning? Who showed Him the way of understanding? 15 See, the nations are like a drop in a pail. Their weight is like a little piece of dust. See, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn. Its animals are not enough for a burnt gift in worship. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him. He thinks of them as less than nothing and of no worth.

18 To Whom then is God like? What will you compare Him with? 19 An able workman makes a false god. A man who works with gold covers it with gold. And a man who works with silver makes silver chains for it. 20 He who is too poor to give such a gift, picks out a tree that will not waste away. He finds an able workman to set up a false god that will not be moved.

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the beginning of the earth? 22 It is God Who sits on the throne above the earth. The people living on the earth are like grasshoppers. He spreads out the heavens like a curtain. He spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 It is He Who brings rulers down to nothing. He makes the judges of the earth as nothing. 24 They have just been planted, and have begun to take root in the earth. But He only blows on them and they dry up, and the storm carries them away like dry grass. 25 “To whom will you compare Me, that I should be like him?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and see. Who has made these stars? It is the One Who leads them out by number. He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His strength, and because He is strong in power, not one of them is missing.

27 O Jacob and Israel, why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord. My God does not think about my cause”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The God Who lives forever is the Lord, the One Who made the ends of the earth. He will not become weak or tired. His understanding is too great for us to begin to know. 29 He gives strength to the weak. And He gives power to him who has little strength. 30 Even very young men get tired and become weak and strong young men trip and fall. 31 But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak.

Comfort for God’s People

40 Comfort, comfort(A) my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly(B) to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service(C) has been completed,(D)
    that her sin has been paid for,(E)
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double(F) for all her sins.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way(G) for the Lord[a];
make straight(H) in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b](I)
Every valley shall be raised up,(J)
    every mountain and hill(K) made low;
the rough ground shall become level,(L)
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory(M) of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.(N)
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”(O)

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,(P)
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers(Q) and the flowers fall,
    because the breath(R) of the Lord blows(S) on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers(T) fall,
    but the word(U) of our God endures(V) forever.(W)

You who bring good news(X) to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c](Y)
    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”(Z)
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes(AA) with power,(AB)
    and he rules(AC) with a mighty arm.(AD)
See, his reward(AE) is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:(AF)
    He gathers the lambs in his arms(AG)
and carries them close to his heart;(AH)
    he gently leads(AI) those that have young.(AJ)

12 Who has measured the waters(AK) in the hollow of his hand,(AL)
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?(AM)
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?(AN)
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d](AO) of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?(AP)
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,(AQ)
    or showed him the path of understanding?(AR)

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;(AS)
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.(AT)
16 Lebanon(AU) is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals(AV) enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations(AW) are as nothing;(AX)
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.(AY)

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?(AZ)
    To what image(BA) will you liken him?
19 As for an idol,(BB) a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith(BC) overlays it with gold(BD)
    and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood(BE) that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol(BF) that will not topple.(BG)

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(BH)
Has it not been told(BI) you from the beginning?(BJ)
    Have you not understood(BK) since the earth was founded?(BL)
22 He sits enthroned(BM) above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.(BN)
He stretches out the heavens(BO) like a canopy,(BP)
    and spreads them out like a tent(BQ) to live in.(BR)
23 He brings princes(BS) to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.(BT)
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root(BU) in the ground,
than he blows(BV) on them and they wither,(BW)
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.(BX)

25 “To whom will you compare me?(BY)
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.(BZ)
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:(CA)
    Who created(CB) all these?
He who brings out the starry host(CC) one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,(CD)
    not one of them is missing.(CE)

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?(CF)
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(CG)
The Lord is the everlasting(CH) God,
    the Creator(CI) of the ends of the earth.(CJ)
He will not grow tired or weary,(CK)
    and his understanding no one can fathom.(CL)
29 He gives strength(CM) to the weary(CN)
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men(CO) stumble and fall;(CP)
31 but those who hope(CQ) in the Lord
    will renew their strength.(CR)
They will soar on wings like eagles;(CS)
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.(CT)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 40:3 Or A voice of one calling in the wilderness: / “Prepare the way for the Lord
  2. Isaiah 40:3 Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God
  3. Isaiah 40:9 Or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news
  4. Isaiah 40:13 Or mind

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