They were a lot like us—distressed and depressed about their nation.
Their sins had caught up with them and now they were in captivity. Their nation paid a high price for their sins.
We sometimes wonder if there is any hope for ours, for our beloved country is a miserable mess—a cauldron of crime, immorality, abuse, injustice, corruption.
But don’t write God out of the story. In those long-ago days he dispatched Isaiah with the charge, “Comfort, comfort my people” (Isa. 40:1).
In Isa. 40 the prophet goes to work, reminding Judah—and us—that God is more powerful and active than we think. His speech had four points (one more than the standard sermon) …
1) Consider what God has done.
Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth …? (v. 12 NLT).
Our nation is brimful of scholars and scientists—some arrogantly swaggering to podium and press to belittle those who believe in God. But God does things and knows things that unbelieving intellectuals can’t match—like holding oceans in his hand and knowing the weight of the earth. So none of the God-is-a-fantasy-for-the-ignorant drivel should shake our faith in our omnipotent Father.
2) Consider the nations.
The nations are like a drop in a bucket … Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing (vv. 15, 17).
The nations that had God’s ancient people shaking in their sandals no longer exist. And nations whose cutthroat rulers scare the daylights out of us today don’t frighten God in the least. Rogue nations never win very long. When all is said and done they don’t call the shots, God does.
3) Consider the creation.
God sits on his throne above the circle of the earth, and compared to him, people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the skies like a piece of cloth … Look up to the skies. Who created all these stars? (vv. 22, 26 NCV).
Think about the size of this world, the more than seven billion of us that populate it, and the vast sky above it hosting millions of stars billions of miles from where we bunk. The cosmos dwarfs us. God dwarfs the cosmos. He made it and he controls it.
4) Consider the powerful.
God brings down rulers and turns them into nothing. They are like flowers freshly sprung up and starting to grow. But when God blows on them, they wilt and are carried off like straw in a storm (vv. 23, 24 CEV).
Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin—thugs long gone. World rulers have terrifying power, but it’s temporary. Politicians don’t decide the ultimate destiny of nations. God “determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne” (Dan. 2:21 NLT).
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“Comfort, comfort my people.”
As Paul Harvey once said, “It’s good in times like these to remember that there have always been times like these.”
Better to listen to the prophet than to the Chicken Littles that screech “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”