Isaiah 40:10-20


See, the Lord God comes with might,

   and his arm rules for him;

his reward is with him,

   and his recompense before him. 

He will feed his flock like a shepherd;

   he will gather the lambs in his arms,

and carry them in his bosom,

   and gently lead the mother sheep. 

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

   and marked off the heavens with a span,

enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,

   and weighed the mountains in scales

   and the hills in a balance? 

Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,

   or as his counselor has instructed him? 

Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,

   and who taught him the path of justice?

Who taught him knowledge,

   and showed him the way of understanding? 

Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

   and are accounted as dust on the scales;

   see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. 

Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,

   nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. 

All the nations are as nothing before him;

   they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 

To whom then will you liken God,

   or what likeness compare with him? 

An idol?—A workman casts it,

   and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,

   and casts for it silver chains. 

As a gift one chooses mulberry wood

   —wood that will not rot—

then seeks out a skilled artisan

   to set up an image that will not topple. 


Chapter 40 of the Book of Isaiah begins the section known as the Book of the Consolation of Israel. Written during the period of time when the Israelites had been exiled to Babylon, the section brings them reassurance that their exile was coming to an end. He calls them to reaffirm their commitment to the Lord their God, announcing that "the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him." He vividly describes a God that is incomparable and eternal, the Creator of all things. He cannot be understood or described within the limitations of mortal mind.

For us, I think, the passage is a ringing affirmation calling us to remember the Truth of ourselves as spiritual beings, far greater than can ever be contained within the limits of this mortal experience. "Lift up your eyes and see!" the prophet writes in verse 26. If we become distracted by our human challenges and disappointments, then we are in exile as the Israelites were. It's by affirming our true self that we can move beyond to the infinite realm of Spirit where we truly belong.


Rev. Ed