Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Isaiah Ch.40 / 66 Ch.s


* The preaching of the gospel, and glad tidings of the coming of
Christ. (1-11) The almighty power of God. (12-17) The folly of
idolatry. (18-26) Against unbelief. (27-31)

#1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the
most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are
removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of
the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory
of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents
receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the
satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The
prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from
Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed
out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the
Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes
marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them,
and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by
the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that
high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires
planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened,
and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will
on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all
that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the
grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and
possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under
condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all
flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to
be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man
armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and
do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows
tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a
sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and
by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will
strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and
follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.

#12-17 All created beings shrink to nothing in comparison with
the Creator. When the Lord, by his Spirit, made the world, none
directed his Spirit, or gave advice what to do, or how to do it.
The nations, in comparison of him, are as a drop which remains
in the bucket, compared with the vast ocean; or as the small
dust in the balance, which does not turn it, compared with all
the earth. This magnifies God's love to the world, that, though
it is of such small account and value with him, yet, for the
redemption of it, he gave his only-begotten Son, #Joh 3:16|. The
services of the church can make no addition to him. Our souls
must have perished for ever, if the only Son of the Father had
not given himself for us.

#18-26 Whatever we esteem or love, fear or hope in, more than
God, that creature we make equal with God, though we do not make
images or worship them. He that is so poor, that he has scarcely
a sacrifice to offer, yet will not be without a god of his own.
They spared no cost upon their idols; we grudge what is spent in
the service of our God. To prove the greatness of God, the
prophet appeals to all ages and nations. Those who are ignorant
of this, are willingly ignorant. God has the command of all
creatures, and of all created things. The prophet directs us to
use our reason as well as our senses; to consider who created
the hosts of heaven, and to pay our homage to Him. Not one fails
to fulfil his will. And let us not forget, that He spake all the
promises, and engaged to perform them.

#27-31 The people of God are reproved for their unbelief and
distrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob and
Israel, from one who found God faithful to him in all his
straits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant with
Him. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish before
inquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise in
our minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they had
known, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fears
and distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he will
perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him,
help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the
strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the
world. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully.
Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we
go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall;
but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be
carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of
the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.