Daily Devotional Isaiah 40:1–31
In the Old Testament, prophets carried messages from God to His people. They spoke words of warning and comfort. The prophet Isaiah emerged during the reign of King Uzziah, a time of peace and prosperity in Judah.
He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Isaiah’s ministry spanned several kings—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1)—as the cultural and political landscapes deteriorated. During Ahaz’s reign, Assyria occupied the northern tribes and deported most Israelites. God sent Isaiah to reassure Ahaz and call him to faith, but Ahaz didn’t listen. He took matters into his own hands and aligned himself with the Assyrian king who enforced heavy taxation and promoted idolatry. In 701 BC, Hezekiah became king. Assyria attacked, devastating Judah and almost Jerusalem. Again, Isaiah preached hope and repentance to deaf ears.
In Isaiah 39, Marduk-Baladan of Babylon sent a gift to Hezekiah. Since Babylon was not a threat, Hezekiah flaunted his treasure—gold, silver, weapons. Immediately, Isaiah responded with a message from God: Babylon would conquer Judah (39:6). Hezekiah wasn’t concerned as this horror wouldn’t happen in his lifetime.
Isaiah 40 focuses on that future reality. The remnant of God’s people in Babylon would reflect on their sin with remorse. Here God instructs the prophet to utter a call (qara) of comfort (v. 2) and preparation for the coming redemption (v. 3). In Isaiah’s time, this redemption was Judah’s freedom from exile, but this verse was also used to describe John the Baptist in all four Gospel accounts. In verse 6, God calls the prophet to utter a cautionary call (qara) about the fragility of human life.
Isaiah 40 paints a powerful picture of God who is unparalleled in magnitude and might. We serve a God who calls (qara) the stars by name (v. 26) and who strengthens those who call on Him (vv. 29–31).
>> Verses 10–26 paint a powerful portrait of the God we serve. Take some time to read this passage aloud and let the words sink into your heart. Focusing on God lifts us above our troubles and sets our eyes on Him.
Pray with Us
“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. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isa. 40:28-29).