This chapter marks another topic change for Isaiah. The remainder of the book will be concentrated on the glory of God’s rescue of man. This rescue will come in the form of Jesus Christ. The grace and mercy will be described in many ways. The themes of rescue are twofold here because Jerusalem will be rescued from their sins (through Jesus), and all mankind will be saved from sin (also through Jesus).
Verses 1-5: God is talking directly to His people through Isaiah. He is coming to the people, to save them. The symbolism of making a way in the desert and of there being a highway for God suggests God in the flesh walking among us as Jesus.
Verses 6-11: The temporary nature of man is described here, and coupled with the admonition to the people to look to God. Because we are “grass,” it is best to trust in Him because our time alive on earth is ultimately very short. Verse 8: “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
The Word of God is to be our hope. We should take strength from Him and from His promises, for they exceed anything His creation or the corruption of the world has to offer.
Verses 12-31: All who doubt the magnificence of Almighty God need only read these verses. A series of rhetorical questions is asked. The answers to most of these questions is either “God” or “no one” depending on the question(s).
For instance, the following questions can be answered with “God:” “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance?”
These are quantities that are impossible for people to determine. Yet God knows because He created these things and because He is God.
And these questions can be answered with “no one:” “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?”
There is not one that is above Him; there is only our great God in heaven.
This passage is designed to elucidate the great power, wonder, majesty, incomparability and total control that God wields. As we live by faith, it can be easy to forget these grand ideals as part of our small world. Nevertheless, God is absolute in His power, His reach, and God ability to affect us and our world. Being reminded of this is good for us, just as it was good for the people of God that heard His word through Isaiah. With the influence of other ungodly nations and their corrupt idol worshipping, they needed to be reminded. We too need to be reminded of God’s ownership and place in our world. He is everything and He has everything; where else would the wise individual place their trust?
It is foolish to place it anywhere else than in God Almighty:
“But those who wait on 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.” Isaiah 40:31