Verses 9-20 of this thirty-eighth chapter of Isaiah are not the words of the prophet but of King Hezekiah after he recovered from the illness of which he was first told that he would die. I think that on the one hand it is good to know that we are mortal, so that we do not forget God and the service due Him. It is good too to know when death is approaching. But on the other hand it is best that we do not know too far ahead when our death will be or we might focus so much on it that we forget entirely to serve Him who has given us life in the first place.
With all of the advances in medicine in recent decades I sometimes think that folks think they can continue far too long to “cheat death.” God tells us that we each can look forward to seventy or at most eighty years. One of my former parishioners is at this writing 107 years old (and a half!). When I turned 35 I had a rough time because it seemed to me that half my life was over and I’d done nothing. Perhaps as I get closer to 70 I’ll change my mind a bit, I really don’t think so, but I’m happy with life. I’ve done many things in the years since I hit 35, and I have goals for the years to come. We won’t all touch tens of thousands like Billy Graham did, but we need to take the time and realize the opportunities that God gives us to touch just one other life. Not just opportunities for leading the lost to Him, but also to draw others closer to Him, to disciple. Sometimes that means shutting up and just listening. It always means using up some of the precious time that He has given us–the one thing we can’t get more of in this life. What you spend time on tells others what is important to you–no matter what you might proclaim. On what are you spending your time?
Verse eight of this fortieth chapter is the one that my Bible’s translators have chosen as their “Scriptural Promise”: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
40: 12-14 sound a bit like the words of God in the book of Job. Verse twelve, if it were read as a rhetorical question instead of part of the following verse would definitely be a statement about the creation and the wonder and majesty of God!
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable” (40:28). (Inscrutable means impenetrable, as in the sense of “way too deep for us to comprehend”). What does it mean to “wait upon the LORD” (40:31)? It sounds like something worth learning and emulating.
41:11 is certainly a wonderful promise for God’s faithful ones to hold onto!
Psalm 107 begins the fifth and final book of Psalms. Those who are the redeemed of the LORD are those who Christ has ransomed from sin to salvation (verse 2). Do you talk with God often? I have often wondered about those who only turn to God when times are bad: Why should He listen to them at all? And how can they be thankful when times are good if they are not thanking the One who gave those good times? Without the giving of thanks we are wretched creatures.