Relevance for today
If God is so great, as Isaiah had grasped him to be, then we need to remember
No problem is bigger than God
‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’
(2 Chronicles 32:7–8)
See also Numbers 14:9; 2 Kings 6:16–17; Daniel 3:16–18; Romans 8:38–39
No detail is too insignificant to God
‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’
See also Deuteronomy 10:17–18; Matthew 6:26,28–29; John 21:5–6
No need is beyond God’s reach
Then he [Jesus] went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. ‘A great prophet has appeared among us,’ they said. ‘God has come to help his people.’
See also 1 Kings 17:12–16; Matthew 6:25–33; John 11:21–44
No opportunity is bigger than God
The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us.’
See also Nehemiah 2:1–8; 1 Corinthians 16:5–18
No sin is bigger than God’s power to deal with it
‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’
See also 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51:7; 103:8–12; Isaiah 44:22
No circumstance can ever make God forget me
‘Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offences like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.’
See also Deuteronomy 4:31; Isaiah 49:15–21; Hebrews 6:10
No event will ever take God by surprise
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
See also Isaiah 48:3–7; Jeremiah 1:5; Daniel 2:19–22
Little wonder, in the light of all of this, that Paul could write:
‘What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?’
This hymn writer certainly grasped a sense of the greatness of God, yet also the intimacy of God’s love and care for him:
My God, how wonderful Thou art,
Thy majesty how bright!
How beautiful Thy mercy-seat,
In depths of burning light!
How dread are Thine eternal years.
O everlasting Lord,
By prostrate spirits day and night
How wonderful, how beautiful,
The sight of Thee must be,
Thine endless wisdom, boundless power,
And aweful purity!
Frederick William Faber, 1814–63
In a busy world, we (like Martha long ago) find it hard to ‘stop’. But Isaiah 40 is a ‘stop signal’—an invitation to stop and think about the greatness of our God; but also a promise, that those who do stop, who do ‘wait’, will renew their strength.
You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.