The Greatness of God
1“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
2“Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand
Double for all her sins.”
3A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
6A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
9Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
11Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
And marked off the heavens by the span,
And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,
And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?
13Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
14With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
16Even Lebanon is not enough to burn,
Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17All the nations are as nothing before Him,
They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
18To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
19As for the idol, a craftsman casts it,
A goldsmith plates it with gold,
And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
20He who is too impoverished for such an offering
Selects a tree that does not rot;
He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman
To prepare an idol that will not totter.
21Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22It is He who [a]sits above the [b]circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
24[c]Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
25“To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
27Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired
His understanding is inscrutable.
29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
After I’d witnessed an eagle in flight, I understood why God used this bird to describe a relationship with Him. The eagle—which simply opens its wings and soars—is wholly dependent upon air currents to keep it aloft.
In contrast, we often beat our wings trying to be better Christians. We resolve to read the Bible more or to improve at keeping our temper. We strive to escape old habits and temptations. But instead of flying to the mountaintops, we remain on the valley floor with tired wings. This is because believers sometimes get confused about what a spiritually mature person looks like. The godly believer isn’t someone who tries and tries to do well. I’ve been a believer long enough to know that I can’t live the Christian life. This flesh of mine isn’t a bit better today than it was the day I was saved.
Spiritual maturity means recognizing that we do not change ourselves. Flesh is corrupt, and its vices cannot be suppressed by any human means. But our omnipotent Father subdues believers’ human impulses through His Spirit. For example, God’s indwelling Spirit calms anger and wields His strength to weaken the lure of old temptations. While others tire from trying to be good, the mature believer relies upon God and will “mount up with wings like eagles” (Is. 40:31).
Isaiah reminds us that even young men stumble and grow weak. Anyone trying to change himself into a model Christian will burn out beating his wings against the world system and his own flesh. God didn’t make these human bodies, minds, or spirits to fly solo. He created us to soar on His strength.