What familiar words as Isaiah turns to encouraging God’s people and ever more clearly pointing to the coming Messiah: “’Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (40:1-3).
And then, in verse 9: “Behold your God!” I always love these chapters, which name the many characteristics of God. Over and over again, Isaiah tells Israel who her God is and what he is like. Her hope lies not in herself and any good or strength she might have but in her God. Israel’s God is mighty, he is tender like a shepherd, he is Creator, he is wise, he is incomparable, he is ruler, he is everlasting, he upholds his people, he is the helper of his people, he is glorious, he is redeemer, he is holy, he forgives sin, he is the only savior, he is refiner. He says of himself, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God” (45:5). Indeed!
Mighty God! the first, the last!
What are ages, in Thy sight,
But as yesterday when past,
Or a watch within the night?
Whatsoe’er our lot may be,
Calmly in this thought we’ll rest,—
Could we see as Thou dost see,
We should choose it as the best. –William Gaskell