on Isaiah chs 40-48

notes on chapters 1-39 already in ‘on Isaiah’ archive

on chapter 40
Looking forward, well ahead,
through the time of trial, dread,
when the chastisement is past,
joy and gladness full at last.

Prepare for his reviving power,
his rule, his tender care; the hour
of his appearing now draws near:
speak, may his people comfort hear!

Do not complain that he neglects
to care, – for he protects
and strengthens, sees, is wise.

Don’t listen to depressing  lies;
for those who hope in him, go on
refreshed, although the way be long.

on chapter 40:1,2
Speak out to my people, and help them to see
their hardships will end soon, whatever they be;
God’s church is protected, and nothing can thwart
his purpose, and certain your hope and support.

Give word of his gospel to hearts all around:
that Christ paid the penalty, grace can abound
for all who come for it, the comfort is great,
to those who are weary, but trustfully wait.

If sins were all counted, their sum would be vast:
Christ’s ransom’s sufficient  – immeasurable cost,
and all who repent have a cup running over
of blessings sufficient and constant for ever.
Tune: 11 11 11 11 eg Montgomery by J Stanley
(tune of ‘How firm a foundation)

on chapter 41
For from the east in coming days
the Lord would Cyrus raise.
He now foretold this – such displays
of knowledge should amaze.

This eastern king drove from the north,
conquering all, but then
Israel he released, sent forth
back to their land again.

All who acknowlege their poverty and need,
into beauty and peace, into comfort he’ll lead;
fearsome attacks on the Lord they will be crush
(the mountains to powder), and  when they are freed
they will glory, rejoice in the strength of the LORD.

on chapter 42:1–17
My chosen servant now behold;
he is my joy, whom I uphold.
My Spirit on to him I place,
and send him bringing truth and grace.

He’ll bring true justice to the world,
but will not shout his glorious Word;
he’ll gently, firmly do my will,
and faithfully my plans fulfil.

He will not break a bruisèd reed,
nor snuff the smould’ring wick, he’ll feed
its struggling flame, and fan, to bring
each faltering saint to strength in him.

Thus says the true Creator God:
‘In righteousness have I, the LORD,
now called you, Christ, and I will lead
you on, and meet your every need.

‘I grasp your hand, and guard you well,
my works to do, my words to tell,
and be the Mediator of
my covenant of grace and love.

‘And you will bring the nations light;
to blinded eyes imparting sight;
releasing captives from their sin:
good news, life-giving power you’ll bring.’

All people everywhere sing praise;
he triumphs over enemies, –
awaited time arrives, and see
he rescues form captivity!

on vv.18–25
But Israel were blind, inattentive, and deaf,
unable to serve, bring his words to the earth,
refusing admonishment, scorning his law,
though handed to plunderers, the looting of war,
they still did not take it to heart, –
they sinned on and on to their hurt:
will any pay heed, let attentiveness start?

on chapter 43
The people of God pass through fire and flood,
but he is their Saviour, he’s with them for good.
He blots out transgressions, they’re precious, beloved,
– his witness on earth that he only is God.
He formed, and will save them to tell out his praise,
but many don’t pray. – Are they weary of grace?
So preciously loved, omnipotent Guard,
but when they reject him, their way will be hard.

The trials may heap on us – when will they cease?
Their strength can quite suddenly roar and increase.
The faithless don’t wonder, – just grumble and moan;
but saints are perplexed at the pain they have known.

‘Fear not, I’ve redeemed you, I’ve called you by name.
My purpose and mercy are always the same.’

He says that his people will pass through the fire,
the waters that seem to rise higher and higher.
He knows what he purposes for his redeemed,
and makes no mistakes, for they must be refined.

For those whom he’s chosen and brought to new life
are precious to him, and they must live by faith,
he’s loved them and called them, and when they must die,
they’ll come through with Jesus to glory on high.

Your God will be with you – he knows where you go.
What others are bearing we don’t always know.
The force of the storm cannot wrench from his love,
nor damage your future in glory above.
Tune: 11 11 11 11 + (chorus 65 65)
eg Gweddiwch Drosom (Ora Pro Nobis)
by Arfon Williams, Llanrug

on chapter 44
His Spirit on the parched he’ll pour,
– glad to belong to him.
Like morning mist that is no more,
he’s swept away our sin.

The LORD, unique, is first and last,
the living God alone.
He knows the future and the past –
the Rock: he’s matched by none.

Some trust an idol or idea
– like eating ashes dry –
deluded heart won’t own its dear
trust’s just a worthless lie.

The LORD alone made everything,
their towns he will rebuild –
by  raising Cyrus, shepherd-king:
God’s word foretold, fulfilled.

on chapter 45
God’s purpose is for righteousness
to come upon the earth,
salvation, peace, and blessedness
are by the LORD brought forth.

The Governor of all the lands
will open up the way
for Cyrus to release their bonds
on the appointed day.

He may not always show his hand,
– we do not like delays  –,
the LORD fulfils what he has planned:
we’ll overflow with praise.

Turn to him and be saved, each one,
all people, everywhere.
This only God we serve, and own, –
his righteousness we share!

on chapter 46
All idols must be carried, for
an idol cannot move.
It can’t (though worshipped, taken far),
itself, nor others, save.

“Oh, Israel, I am he that can
to old age rescue you,
for I have made you, I’ll sustain,
and carry, hold you through.”

on chapter 47 The fall of Babylon
From royalty to poverty
– assumed inviolability,
and lounging in security,

without due thought, concern.

For Babylon thought none could be
compared to her, but suddenly
came troubles they could not foresee

despite their sorcery.

Their ‘wisdom’, counsel will mislead,
can’t conjure up the help they need,
they trust in wickedness indeed,

(– astrologers’ vain words).

They showed no mercy to the old,
and God will crush them – here foretold;
but our Redeemer is the LORD

almighty, Holy One.

on chapter 48
Israel had been shown
who is in control.
Prophecy they’d known,
now should heed well all

the LORD now says.

Instructed lovingly,
what peace they would have known,
and in prosperity,
and righteousness have grown

( – the wicked have no peace).

Wrath delayed, held back,
love refines, and yearns;
soon God’s chosen flock
leaves, with joy returns!

in sovereign care!