Chapter 39 closes out Isaiah’s prediction that God will bring judgement down on Jerusalem, and chapter 40 jumps ahead to after this has happened, and God is restoring. Here’s the second part of The Bible Project’s overview of Isaiah.
It takes a minute to pivot from the ending of chapter 39 towards this:
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” 40:1-2
I experience a sense of relief just reading about this! Think about a time you have been in trouble. For me, I think about when I got caught shop lifting at a teen’s accessory store in the mall. I don’t remember the particulars, honestly. But what I can still recall, 17 years later, is the weighted feeling of dread every morning after that for a few weeks. I had a couple dreams where I changed my mind at the last minute and put the bracelet back, and then would wake up heavy with guilt as I realized I was still deep in the consequences. It was a horrible feeling.
Readers: there are people, probably in your daily lives, who don’t know the gospel. Maybe they’re acquainted with the vague concept that Jesus Died For Our Sins and Heaven vs. Hell, etc. But do they know of his grace? His mercy? Do they know he forgives our sins, cancels our debt and extends ever-lasting forgiveness?
Jesus is not a character in a religious story. He’s a good, good Father. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (40:11) This God of ours, who carries us like a mother carries her baby, is waiting to lift the burden of unrepented sin. Not just able, but waiting.
Who in your life needs to hear about this Good News?