Isaiah 40:1-11 and overview
God is gracious
1) chapters 1-5 judgement on corporate Israel's sin
2)because of individual Israelites like Isaiah himself and their individual sin. Goligher pointed out that the biggest sin was lack of trust in God alone. They seemed willing to trust in God and foreign allies. Isaiah shows that God will deal with Israel and with the nations.
Isaiah's prophecies are short range, medium range and long range. Liam suggested that short term prophecies gave the prophet credibility and gave the people hope. For example when they were sent into exile they had the hope that they would return. When they returned they had the hope that God would continue to be with them in spite of their sin.
God is coming/God has come
This was because in Isaiah 40 and following Isaiah begins to speak comfort to Israel. It is comfort to the rebels because there is promise of a redeemer. Liam reminded us that we shouldn't read Isaiah like BC Jewish Rabbis but as New Testament believers, we now know the promised comforter has come in Jesus. This is a gospel prophecy and we know its fulfillment. Nonetheless Isaiah's first readers found hope in the one who would take away their sins. Isaiah promises that the warfare is over, now it could refer to aggressive neighbours but the context suggests that it is the warfare between God and main.The penalty for our sin has been paid, we receive grace. The promise is that YHWH's messenger is preparing the road for someone the capitalised LORD tells us that the one who is coming is none other than YHWH himself. Jesus referring to Isaiah's experience in the temple said "Isaiah has seen MY glory" Isaiah predicts the day when every tribe and tongue will see the glory of Jesus. We have seen it, but a day is coming when every knee shall bow in either joy or terror at the glory of the LORD.
God is reliable
All flesh is grass the prophet tells us, grass is inconsequential, grass withers, the flowers fade but the word of the LORD remains forever. Nothing man can do can thwart the plans of God.
God is Saviour
Finally this is Good NEWS. God is a saviour the prophet is called in v.9 the herald of good news. Jesus was politically incorrect when he spoke to the Samaritan woman and told her 'salvation is of the Jews' yet it is true, this is why Israel had to return from exile because the Messiah was to be born there and salvation to reach to the ends of the earth. This God is a terror to his enemies but he is a reconciling God and we like Isaiah are called to be Gospel people to herald the good news in our own day.