Have You Not Heard?

Isaiah 40:21-31

 

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to live in;

23 who brings princes to naught,

and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

 

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,

scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

when he blows upon them, and they wither,

and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

 

25 To whom then will you compare me,

or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:

Who created these?

He who brings out their host and numbers them,

calling them all by name;

because he is great in strength,

mighty in power,

not one is missing.

 

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,

and speak, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

and my right is disregarded by my God”?

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

his understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the faint,

and strengthens the powerless.

30 Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

31 but those who wait for 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.
 
 

This chapter of Isaiah begins with these words – “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.”

 

Chapter 40 marks the beginning of “Second Isaiah” – like the second book in a trilogy. The first 39 chapters tell of God’s frustration with the people and the result of that frustration results in a period of exile in Babylon.

 

This next section starting in chapter 40 is the promise that God has not given up on them. The introduction of these verses (this was the first lesson last Sunday) states this good news – “The Judeans in exile have a good reason to be hopeful: the one who will bring them to freedom is the God who created the world, the God who subdues the rulers of the earth and gives strength to those who are weary.”

 

God reminds them of God’s covenant and promises.

 

Harvey was concerned about his wife’s loss of hearing. As far as he could tell, her problem just kept getting worse. She stubbornly refused to admit that she had a problem and refused to go to a doctor since that was the case. Finally, in desperation, Harvey went to a consultation on her behalf. He told the doctor of the problem and was advised of a simple home test he could try to gauge the severity of the problem. He was to go home, get out of his car, and call to his wife, “Hon, what’s for dinner?” If he heard no response, he should continue to move closer until the response was forthcoming. Judging by the distance, the severity of the hearing loss could be gauged.

 

So, Harvey went home. He got out of his car and screamed, “Hon, what’s for dinner?” Hearing no answer, he moved to the front door and opened it. “Hon, what’s for dinner?” Still no response. Finally, he made his way through the house and stuck his head in the kitchen, and called, “Hon, what’s for dinner?” Harvey’s wife turned from the sink, looked him square in the eyes and said, “For the third time, we are having roast beef!”

 

Have you not heard?

 

Sometimes WE need reminded of God’s promises. How often do we forget who God is, and whose we are. We forget how God has been faithful and brought us to where we are today. There are so many other voices we hear, it can be easy to tune out what God has to say to you and me.

 

Have you not heard?

 

I love Eugene Peterson’s take on this passage from “The Message.”

 

I invite you to read these words and hear again what God is saying to you and me.
 
 

21-24 Have you not been paying attention?

    Have you not been listening?

Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?

    Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?

God sits high above the round ball of earth.

    The people look like mere ants.

He stretches out the skies like a canvas—

    yes, like a tent canvas to live under.

He ignores what all the princes say and do.

    The rulers of the earth count for nothing.

Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.

    Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,

They shrivel when God blows on them.

    Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.

 

25-26 “So—who is like me?

    Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.

Look at the night skies:

    Who do you think made all this?

Who marches this army of stars out each night,

    counts them off, calls each by name

—so magnificent! so powerful!—

    and never overlooks a single one?

 

27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,

    or, whine, Israel, saying,

“God has lost track of me.

    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?

Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?

God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.

    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.

He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.

    And he knows everything, inside and out.

He energizes those who get tired,

    gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out,

    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.

    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,

They run and don’t get tired,

    they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isaiah 40:21-31, The Message)
 
 

What do you hear in these words?

 

Hear again the Good News – you are loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s beloved!

 

Have you not heard?

 

Let Us Pray

Almighty God, you have us two ears and only one mouth for a reason. May we hear again the good news, and know that you don’t come and go, but abide with us today and always. Thank you for today and the hope for tomorrow. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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