Exiled in Turmoil
A reflection based on Isaiah 40
God’s people found themselves in a dire situation. After years of ignoring God’s call to be a holy people, they have been exiled to Babylon. Jerusalem has been burned to the ground and the temple has been destroyed. What hope is there, they must wonder, if God’s holy mountain isn’t safe from the hand of the nations?
This is where we find ourselves in the story of the Old Testament as we turn the page in the book of Isaiah to chapter 40. It’s a dark time, with little hope of survival, but God has a message for them and it is good news.
The time is up.
God is about to move.
They shall come home.
The God who is Able
But why should the people have hope? Babylon is the power of the day, and they have already defeated God’s people and burned God’s city. On what basis should the people hope in God’s message? God’s answer points the readers to look around at the world, at the mountains and the seas, the clouds and the nations, and to remember, all of this is like NOTHING compared to the awesome grandeur of God.
He holds the seas in the cup of his hand.
The islands, like dust. These kings you’re so afraid of, like grass that withers and fades.
God calls to his people to go so far as to look to the sky and to see the heavens, and to realize that nothing in the night sky is lost to God. He knows them all. Every star, every comet, every planet, galaxy, nebulae, or black hole, none of it is lost to him.
That is a god worthy of worship, and yet God is a god who is worthy of being trusted because He also cares for his people. He hears their cries, and He is ready to bring them home.
Our Own Turmoil of Life
And so God speaks to us through Isaiah as well. In a world full of turmoil and strife, of war and disease and pain, of brokenness and loneliness, we can be overwhelmed by it all, and we can lose hope.
How can God deal with all of this? Where can I find hope?
God reminds us, that the grass withers and the flower fades, but his word stands forever.
God reminds us that he sits above the circle of the earth, and he stretches the night sky out like a canopy for us to live under. He alone is God, and he alone is capable of making all things new.
And he will.
And in the meantime we can trust in him, because he is powerful enough, and he cares. And when we do wait on him we can rest assured that we will mount up like eagles. God will lift us up in time, and we will know the fullness of life in him, if only we will trust in him in all things.