Isaiah, in chapter 40, lyricizes the grand themes of the majestic attributes and works of God, and his mighty manuscript here heralds the coming of the Suffering Servant on the stage of world history.
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field” (40:6) declares the poet-prophet. Indeed, man is but a transient being whose life quickly fades away like the grass, and his glory is short-lived like the flowers of summer.
In contrast, “the Word of our God stands forever” (v. 8). Man is transient; God’s Word is timeless. Man is ephemeral; God’s Word is eternal. Man is fleeting; God’s Word is forever. Man is impermanent; God’s Word is imperishable. Thus Isaiah’s message comes to us with the divine imprimatur upon every verse and promise. It is the cosmic compass by which we can chart life’s direction and destiny.
Isaiah proclaims in lofty lyrics the unique and incomparable God of creation, compared to whom the nations and empires of earth are like a drop in the bucket or as dust on the scales (vv. 12-15). He satirizes the manufacturers of idols and eulogizes the glory of God who stretches out the heavens like a canopy. “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens,” summons Isaiah. “Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name… not one of them is missing” (vv. 22, 26).
All the revelations of modern science but add to our awe of God as Creator of the fantastic wonders of the universe. Isaiah calls us to an adequate theology and to a recovery of the awesome transcendence of God. If we can be assured of God’s sovereignty over the universe, then surely we can trust Him with our finite lives.
This magnificent chapter culminates with one of the most inspiring passages of the Bible. God’s penman compares the believer who trusts in God to an eagle that soars with unwearying grace and strength. The eagle’s noble inheritance is the heights of the heavens. It builds its nest in lofty crags where man has not set his foot. It plays with the winds and currents of the air. This majestic specimen is king of the birds.
The eagle soars to great heights not by the power of his wings, but by surrendering himself to the currents and power of the wind. So it is with the believer. We soar and reach the heights of the spiritual life not by our own finite power, but by surrendering to the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, who is the wind beneath our wings.
Henry Gariepy, Light In a Dark Place