Year B – Epiphany 5 – Isaiah 40:21-31

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?
   Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; 23 who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. 24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25 To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. 
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Summary – In the previous chapter in the book of Isaiah, the prophet prophesied that Babylon would take the people of Judah captive. This chapter is to serve as a reminder and a comfort to those people that no matter what happens, God is the Lord, and the ruler of the earth. This passage begins by stating that God sits above the circle of the earth, meaning He rules and governs the whole earth. Earthly princes, who seem so powerful to us are withered up if God blows His breath on them. Isaiah calls us to look at the heavens and remember that the stars came into existence because God spoke. After reminding us of this Isaiah asks why do men believe that God has forsaken us, or has not given us justice. Isaiah tells us that the God who created the earth never grows tired or stops watching over His people. If His people look to Him and trust in Him, then He will give them strength throughout all of their days.

Insight – This passage should be a comforting passage to all of God’s people. It teaches us that God has created the earth and continues to govern is as an all wise all powerful King. This is what we mean when we speak of the sovereignty of God. God governs the earth that not a sparrow falls from the sky to the ground apart from God (Matt 10:29). There may be times when life seems hard, and we think God does not see the trouble we are going through. But this passage teaches us that although we do not always understand God’s ways, we can be assured that He does not grow tired of watching over us and caring for us. We should look to Him by faith, and the Lord will renew us and give us strength.

Child’s Catechism – What will God do to those who wait for Him? He will renew their strength.

Discussion – Have you ever felt abandoned by God? If yes, What was your reaction? If no, what can you do if you ever feel this way?

Prayer – Our Sovereign God and Father. We know that in your eyes men are like grasshoppers. But yet, you love us and you watch over us. We ask that you give us the faith to patiently wait for you, so that our strength will be renewed, and we run and not be weary, and walk and not faint. Amen.

contributed by Jared McNabb

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