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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 40:28

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.


Adam Clarke Commentary

There is no searching of his understanding "And that his understanding is unsearchable" - Twenty-four MSS., two editions, the Septuagint and Vulgate, read ואין veein, with the conjunction ו vau .


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-40.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hast thou not known? - This is the language of the prophet reproving them for complaining of being forsaken and assuring them that God was faithful to his promises. This argument of the prophet, which continues to the close of the chapter, comprises the main scope of the chapter, which is to induce them to put confidence in God, and to believe that he was able and willing to deliver them. The phrase, ‹Hast thou not known? refers to the fact that the Jewish people had had an abundant opportunity of learning, in their history, and from their fathers, the true character of God, and his entire ability to save them. No people had had so much light on this subject, and now that they were in trial, they ought to recall their former knowledge of his character, and remember his dealings of faithfulness with them and their fathers. It is well for the people of God in times of calamity and trial to recall to their recollection his former dealings with his church. That history will furnish abundant sources of consolation, and abundant assurances that their interests are safe in his hands.

Hast thou not heard? - From the traditions of the fathers; the instruction which you have received from ancient times. A large part of the knowledge of the Jews was traditionary; and these attributes of God, as a faithful God, had, no doubt, constituted an important part of the knowledge which had thus been communicated to them.

The everlasting God - The God who has existed from eternity, unlike the idols of the pagan. If he was from eternity, he would be unchangeable, and his purposes could not fail.

The Creator of the ends of the earth - The phrase, ‹the ends of the earth,‘ means the same as the earth itself. The earth is sometimes spoken of as a vast plain having limits or boundaries (see Isaiah 40:22). It is probable that this was the prevailing idea among the ancients (compare Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalm 19:6; Psalm 22:27; Psalm 48:10; Psalm 65:5; Psalm 67:7; Psalm 98:3; Isaiah 43:6; Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 52:10). The argument here is, that he who has formed the earth could not be exhausted or weary in so small a work as that of protecting his people.

Fainteth not - Is not fatigued or exhausted. That God, who has formed and sustained all things, is not exhausted in his powers, but is able still to defend and guard his people.

There is no searching of his understanding - The God who made all things must be infinitely wise. There is proof of boundless skill in the works of his hands, and it is impossible for finite mind fully and adequately to search out all the proofs of his wisdom and skill. Man can see only a part - a small part, while the vast ocean, the boundless deep of his wisdom, lies still unexplored. This thought is beautifully expressed by Zophar in Job 11:7-9:

Canst thou by searching find out God?

Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

It is as high as heaven;

What canst thou do?

Deeper than hell;

What canst thou know:

The measure thereof is longer than the earth,

And broader than the sea.

The argument here is, that that God who has made all things, must be intimately acquainted with the needs of his people. They had, therefore, no reason to complain that their way was hidden from the Lord, and their cause passed over by him. Perhaps, also, it is implied, that as his understanding was vast, they ought not to expect to be able to comprehend the reason of all his doings; but should expect that there would be much that was mysterious and unsearchable. The reasons of his doings are often hid from his people; and their consolation is to be found in the assurance that he is infinitely wise, and that he who rules over the universe must know what is best, and cannot err.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-40.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?.... From the history of the church in all ages; from the experience of all good men; from their own knowledge and observation; from the Scriptures, and the prophets, the interpreters of them; both that what is before suggested is wrong, and that what follows is true,

that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? or, "the God of the world"; that has made it, and upholds it, and governs it, and judges righteously in it; who is from everlasting to everlasting, unchangeably the same; whose name alone is Jehovah, the self-existent and all comprehending Being, the Maker and Former of all things; who has not only created the earth, and the foundations of it, as the Targum, or the continent, and the habitable part of the world, that is most known and dwelt in, but even the extremities of the earth; and therefore knows and will take care of his own people, let them be where they will: and though the work of creation, and of upholding creatures in their beings, and of governing the world, and providing for all in it, and of taking care of his church and people in particular, requires so much power, as well as wisdom, yet he never sinks under it, nor is weary of it; wherefore they have no reason to give way to such unbelief and despondency, as above expressed:

there is no searching of his understanding; it is infinite, it reaches to all persons and things, and therefore he cannot be at a loss to provide for his people, or plead their cause; nor can their case be unknown to him, or he want either power or skill to help them.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-40.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the d ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his e understanding.

(d) And therefore all power is in his hand to deliver when his time comes.

(e) Showing that men must patiently abide, and not curiously seek out the cause of God's delay in our affliction.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-40.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

known — by thine own observation and reading of Scripture.

heard — from tradition of the fathers.

everlasting, etc. — These attributes of Jehovah ought to inspire His afflicted people with confidence.

no searching of his understanding — therefore thy cause cannot, as thou sayest, escape His notice; though much in His ways is unsearchable, He cannot err (Job 11:7-9). He is never “faint” or “weary” with having the countless wants of His people ever before Him to attend to.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-40.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The groundlessness of such despondency is set before them in a double question. “Is it not known to thee, or hast thou not heard, an eternal God is Jehovah, Creator of the ends of the earth: He fainteth not, neither becomes weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” Those who are so desponding ought to know, if not from their own experience, at least from information that had been handed down, that Jehovah, who created the earth from one end to the other, so that even Babylonian was not beyond the range of His vision or the domain of His power, was an eternal God, i.e., a God eternally the same and never varying, who still possessed and manifested the power which He had displayed in the creation. Israel had already passed through a long history, and Jehovah had presided over this, and ruled within it; and He had not so lost His power in consequence, as to have now left His people to themselves. He does not grow faint, as a man would do, who neglected to take the repeated nourishment requisite to sustain the energy of his vital power; nor does He become weary, like a man who has exhausted his capacity for work by over-exertion. And if He had not redeemed His people till then, His people were to know that His course was pure t e bhūnâh or understanding, which was in the possession of infallible criteria for determining the right point of time at which to interpose with His aid.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/isaiah-40.html. 1854-1889.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

28.Hast thou not known? He repeats the same statement which he had formerly made, that the people who had been carefully taught in the school of God were inexcusable for their slothfulness, and chides them sharply for not having profited more by the doctrine of the Law, and by the other means which God had bestowed in addition to that knowledge which they possessed in common with the Gentiles. The word know, which is more general, is put first; because by many miracles and other proofs God had manifested his glory. Next, he asks, Hast thou not heard? As if he had said, “If thou hast profited nothing by being taught by actions and by word that God is never unemployed, it is evident that thou are excessively unteachable.”

That Jehovah is the God of eternity. The Prophet calls him “eternal,” and thus distinguishes him from all idols, which endure but for a time, and were made by men; and truly, if this were deeply seated in our hearts, there would no longer be any room for distrust; for if God is eternal, he never changes or decays, eternity being uniformly attended by this quality, that it is never liable to change, but always remains the same. Since the Jews did not sufficiently believe these things, though they had often “heard” them, the Prophet intended to arouse them by this reproof, in order to shew that they will be doubly guilty before God, if, after having been taught both by his numerous benefits, and by the word, they do not render the honor and glory which are due to him.

And is not wearied by weariness, and there is no searching of his understanding. Here the Prophet makes two statements; first, that God is not wearied in doing good; and, secondly, that no man can explore his wisdom. In the former clause he shews that, nothing will hinder God from continuing to exercise his kindness; for he is not like men whose resources are exhausted by giving frequently, or who are wearied by continually bestowing new favors, or who repent of their generosity. His kindness is never exhausted; if he was kind to the fathers, he will be not less kind and bountiful to posterity. As to the allegation, that God very often acts differently from what we think to be best for us, the Prophet meets it by saying that his purpose is incomprehensible, and warns us that we ought not to murmur, though he does not all at once comply with our wishes; because nothing is better adapted to cherish our hope than this sobriety, which leads us to consider how marvellously God works in preserving us, and thus to submit to his secret counsel.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-40.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding.

Ver. 28. He fainteth not, nor is weary.] Or, He is neither tired nor toiled, viz., as earthly judges may be. And his own people, for thinking otherwise of him, are here taken up as tartly as those idolaters before, [Isaiah 40:21] with, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?"

There is no searching of his understanding.] Submit to him therefore as to the only wise God. This the very heathens taught men to do, as Plutarch. (a)


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-40.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Of the ends of the earth; of all the earth, and the inhabitants thereof, from one end to another. He seems to mention the ends or utmost bounds, because they might seem to be more out of the reach and care of God’s providence, as being most remote from Jerusalem, the only place of God’s solemn and public worship in the world, and being then thought to be uninhabited. The argument is clear and strong: God, who made all, even the most desolate and barbarous parts of the earth, and consequently takes care of them, will not neglect his own land and people.

Fainteth not, neither is weary; he is not by age or hard labour become weak and unable to help his people, as men are apt to be.

There is no searching of his understanding; his counsels, by which he governeth all the world, and in a most particular manner thine affairs, are far above the reach of thy understanding; and therefore thou dost ignorantly and foolishly in passing so rash a censure upon the ways and works of the infinitely wise God.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-40.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

28. Hast thou not known — The words here go on with the same reassuring intent. After the first pair of questions of Isaiah 40:21, the affirmation is: This eternal, all-perfect God does not tire of the humble supplicant’s appeal.

Fainteth not — To search the depths of his wisdom baffles all effort, but proof is found therein of goodness that fails not.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-40.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The people needed to open their eyes and ears to what they already knew about their God (cf. Isaiah 40:21). He is eternal, not bound to the present, as we are. He is Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God. He is the Creator of all the earth, not restricted to only one locale at a time. He does not grow tired, because He is omnipotent. He is inscrutable, because He is omniscient. He is unlimited by time, space, power, and understanding.

"Their God is such (eternal, Creator, untiring) that they need never doubt his capacity; he is also such (possessing unfathomable wisdom) that they must never expect to understand all his ways." [Note: Ibid.]

"Everything that matters in life hangs on who God is." [Note: Ortlund, p252.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-40.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Hast . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis, for emphasis.

there is. Some codices, with one early printed edition. Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and [so] there is".


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-40.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard that the everlasting God the LORD the Creator of the ends of Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Hast thou not known - by thine own observation and reading of Scripture.

Hast thou not heard - from tradition of the fathers.

(That) the everlasting ... ? These attributes of Yahweh ought to inspire His afflicted people with confidence.

(There is) no searching of his understanding - therefore thy cause cannot, as thou sayest, escape His notice: though much in His ways is unsearchable, He cannot err (Job 11:7-9). He is never "faint" or "weary" with having the countless wants of His people ever before Him to attend to.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-40.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(28) Hast thou not known? . . .—The questions are parallel to those of Isaiah 40:21, but are addressed to the Israel of God, rather than, as those were, to mankind.

The Creator of the ends of the earth.—The word emphasises the thought that the whole earth, from the Euphrates to the “islands” of the sea, is subject to the power of the Eternal.

Fainteth not, neither is weary? . . .—Had Isaiah learnt to feel that even his own phrase as to men “wearying God” (Isaiah 7:13) was too boldly anthropomorphic, and might, therefore, be misleading?

No searching of his understanding.—The words come, like so many others like it, from Job (Isaiah 5:9; Isaiah 9:10), and must have been in St. Paul’s mind as he wrote Romans 11:33.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-40.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
thou not known
Jeremiah 4:22; Mark 8:17,18; 9:19; 16:14; Luke 24:25; John 14:9; 1 Corinthians 6:3-5,9; 1 Corinthians 6:16,19
the everlasting
57:15; Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; Jeremiah 10:10; Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 9:14
the ends
45:22; 59:1; 1 Samuel 2:10; Acts 13:47
fainteth
66:9; Psalms 138:8; John 5:17; Philippians 1:6
no searching
55:8,9; Psalms 139:6; 147:5; Romans 11:33,34; 1 Corinthians 2:16

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-40.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

GOD'S POWER THE COMFORT OF HIS PEOPLE

Isa . Hast thou not known? &c.

A softer tone one might think better adapted to the despondent; but this great interrogation seems as if the very thunder had taken in charge God's defence and man's elevation. The terms by which God is described are not what may be termed the gracious designations often employed to describe Him. It is not the Father, the Redeemer, the gentle One; it is the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth; as if Divine comfort were not a sentiment only, but arose out of the majestic, dominant, mighty, and grand in the Divine nature.

I. "Hast thou not known?" This is not a new revelation; it is an appeal to memory—a strong point in all the Divine pleading. Our memory should be as the prophet of the Lord in our life; recollection should be inspiration. Let a man be faithful to his own recollections, and it is impossible he can long be despondent, weary, and slow of heart to lay hold of the great work and discipline of life. It is the preacher's strength that he has to speak directly into people's hearts.

II. Is God all-mighty?

1. Then do not fear for the stability of His works. What guarantee have we that the summer is coming? God's Word (Gen ). We work because God is. This is very humbling in one of its aspects, because we have nothing to do with all that is highest and grandest in the creation. We are to do the servant's work; but no employment is menial if it be accepted from God's hand, and wrought out according to the measure of His commandment and the inspiration of His call.

2. Have no fear about the realisation of His promises. It is difficult to see how certain promises are to be realised. God keeps our hands off His promises quite as surely as He keeps them off His stars; He asks that their fulfilment be left to Him. It is God's heart that comes down with His signature; because of His moral attributes, all that He has promised shall be fulfilled.

3. Do not imagine you can escape His judgments. His lightnings find us out. You have evaded Him now fifty years, and you think you can do it fifty more; but you cannot. There are many oxen that are being prepared for the slaughter when they little think it.

4. Be assured that the throne of right shall stand upon the ruins of all wrong. You cannot kill evil with the sword; its abolition is a work of time: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness" (Psa ). There is a poor outlook for those who are going to fight God!

III. God is not only powerful, but also all-wise. "There is no searching of His understanding." Infinite strength would terrify us, but infinite strength under the dominion of infinite mind recovers us from the shock which comes of immeasurable, unwasting strength. The forces of Nature are not lawless; behind them all is God's mind.

1. The darkest providences have meaning. Let us keep within our little sphere, and live a day at a time, and interpretation will come when God pleases and as He pleases.

2. God's plan of salvation is complete and final. We shall waste our strength and show how great is our folly by all attempts to improve the method of redemption and recovery of the world. Is there a blade of grass we can improve, looking at it as God made it? Then, why seek to improve His method of salvation?

3. Our individual life is all understood by Him. We are often in shadow; it is enough that God knows our life, and that His wisdom is pledged as our defence. View the mysteries of life atheistically, and they become terrors; but regard them as under the control of a beneficent Power, and an eye of glory opens in the very centre of the gloom.

4. We have a guarantee of endless variety in our future studies and services. God is ever extending our knowledge in reward of the endeavours we are making. Monotony depresses and enfeebles; He will ever have something new to communicate to the mind of His servants.

CONCLUSION.—

1. What is our relation to this Dread Being, whose power is infinite, and whose wisdom is past finding out? We are either loyal subjects of His or rebels in His realm. Everything depends upon our relation to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Nature itself is but a mocking mystery apart from the Cross, which reveals our sin and God's plan of salvation (Joh ).

2. Those who are rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins have the freedom of the City of God. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in God." God waits to gather us into His infinite strength, and to make us wise with perfect understanding.—Joseph Parker, D.D.: City Temple, pp. 349-356.

THE UNWEARIED GOD

Isa . The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.

A great contrast between God and all His living creatures on this earth. They all need rest, but He has no need of it, for He is never weary. We shall find this declaration full of comfort; but before we consider the senses in which it is true, we shall do well to remember that we are plainly taught in His Word that there are certain things of which God is weary.

I. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS WEARY.

God is weary,

1. Of the obstinacy of sinners (Isa ).

2. Of the backsliding of His professing people (Jer ).

3. Of heedless praises and hypocritical prayers (Isa ).

4. Of our cruelty to each other (Exo ; Exo 22:22; Isa 7:13).

II. THINGS OF WHICH GOD IS NOT WEARY.

1. He is not weary in continuing and preserving His creation. The extent of this task; the multitude and minuteness of its parts. Neither its vastness, nor its complexity, nor its duration have availed to weary Him. We rest sometimes by changing the mode of our activity, but there is no cessation possible in God's work (H. E. I. 362-365, 3174-3176).

2. He is not weary of caring for His people, supplying their temporal wants, guiding their affairs, removing unknown hindrances out of their way, solacing them in sorrow, strengthening them against temptation, educating them for time and eternity (P. D. 2908).

3. He is not weary of hearing prayer. This is a special labour, additional to the work of preservation, and even to the care of His people. Remember the multitude of the prayers that are constantly ascending to Him. The folly of many of them! Yet still He listens to us!

4. He is never weary in punishing sin; never so weary as to desist from it. There are cases in which we leave incorrigible offenders alone—we will not trouble ourselves any more about them; but it is never so with God. Not because He loves punishment, but because He loves righteousness. To a tender heart it is always a pain to punish; yet God, whose tender mercies are over all His works, age after age requites all who do wickedly.

5. He is never weary of pardoning penitent sinners. How many He has pardoned! How often He had to pardon every one of those who are now "the spirits of the just made perfect!" How often we have tried His patience! Yet He still waits to be gracious; He does not say, "Here comes another sinner; drive him away!" nor, "Here comes that sinner again; refuse him access to my throne." He is as ready to pardon now as He was when Christ hung on the cross. He looks upon sins, not only as crimes, but as diseases; and, like a physician, is ready to minister to every plague-stricken one. Come, then, to Him now (H. E. I. 2285-2286, 2328-2339).

This view of God should—

1. Awaken our admiration of Him. It is good to admire His works; better to admire Him (Psa ).

2. Strengthen our trust in Him. Our human friends fail us, but God will never fail us (chap. Isa ).

3. Deepen our love for Him. He is unweariable, not in strength merely, but in affection. His love outlasts that of many mothers (chap. Isa ).


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-40.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

God"s Power the Comfort of His People

Isaiah 40:28

These words are addressed to the despondent, and at the first sound of them it would appear as if those who were cast down were spoken to in a voice of thunder. It would appear also as if a softer tone were better adapted to the condition of the persons referred to in the context, viz, those who were mourning God"s absence, and sighing over the unwelcome lot which has come upon them. But this great interrogation seems as if the very thunder had taken in charge God"s defence and man"s elevation. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" Sometimes the voice of consolation seems to come to us out of the depths of God"s heart; sometimes it is as if comfort were spoken to us in a whisper. Oftentimes God says he will not address us by the earthquake, and the stormy wind, and the rending fire, but he will come to us in an undertone, and find us out by the persuasive, gentle, penetrating pleading of his love; but here it is as if the Comforter stood above all created heights and thundered down from them upon the weary, and the desponding, and the faint-hearted. The terms by which God is described are not what may be termed the gracious designations which are often employed to describe him, it is not the Father, the Redeemer, the Gentle One; it is the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, as if divine comfort were not a sentiment only, as if divine comfort did not come only out of the divine emotions, but poured itself down upon us from all that is majestic, dominant, mighty, immeasurable, royal, and grand in the divine nature.

Then if he fainteth not, neither is weary, why should he rest? God rested, and set up in the midst of time a Sabbath day. How so? The word must not be interpreted to the disparagement of the great text that is now before us. There are two conditions on either of which man may rest, on one of which only does God retire from his work. The first condition is completeness, the second is weariness. God finished his work and rested. He rested because the work was finished; we rest because our poor little strength is wasted, and we sigh for the lengthening shadow, and need to be recruited by sleep. God finishes his work, and then he rests, not as one who is weary, but as one who has completed his design. We shall rest one day in that higher sense; in the meantime we have left our column unfinished, we have left our book incomplete, we have hurried away from our engagements, and they are waiting for our return; we rest because of an exhaustion of our strength, but he who is yonder in the heavens, throned above all heights, rests because his word is completeness—his efforts are perfection.

"Hast thou not known?"—this is not a new revelation. It is well to observe that, lest we find here an excuse for despondency, and a sufficient explanation of the plaintive and mournful tone to which life is often set. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?"—it is an appeal to memory, and that is a strong point in all the divine pleading. We do not read here for the first time that God fainteth not, neither is weary. It is a mark of interrogation that is beautifully made a challenge of recollection. Our memory is to be as the prophet of the Lord in our life. Recollection is to be inspiration; the forty years gone are a pledge of the forty years to come. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?" Let a man be faithful to his own recollections, and it is impossible he can long be despondent, weary, and slow of heart to lay hold of the great work and discipline of life. There is no heart that has not its own peculiar memories of the divine strength and of divine interposition, of divine interpretations of knotty questions in life, and of divine help in the hour of extremity, when sorrow was agony and when agony was despair. And it is the preacher"s strength that he has to speak directly into people"s hearts. He has not to argue something that is altogether outside of them, and that has no counterpart in their own life and spirit. He has to speak truths that are to be answered by the echoes of the heart, and every man is to say to him as he proceeds from point to point in his high argument and winning persuasion, "Master, thou hast said the truth." Let us gather ourselves around God"s all-mightiness and God"s all-knowingness, that we may be comforted, and stimulated, and enriched.

Is God all-mighty? Then do not fear for the stability of his works. We have no occasion to be afraid lest the sun should miss his way. What guarantee have we that the stars shall glitter in their places? Is it because we appoint our watchmen that they come to smile and shine upon us, pouring light into our dark hearts, and speaking hope into our despairing and gloomy souls? What guarantee have we that the seasons will continue? God"s word. "Seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." What guarantee have we? We have little pieces of paper on which we write our I O U, and we have bonds and covenants, and our strong rooms, in which we secretly and silently lock up our pieces of precious paper. We say about any disputed covenant, It is in the bond, it is so nominated in the bond. The bond is all we have to rely upon. But we look for the continuance of these things, the keeping up of God"s great temple, because God"s word has been given, because God"s sufficiency underlies, and encompasses, and gives stability to all his works. And in this view of the case it is very humiliating to meddlesome men—an exceedingly annoying thing—that there are parts of creation, parts of our own creation, out of which we are shut. How nice a thing it would be for some men of leisure, if they were called upon to improve the stars a little, and to call up the seasons one by one, and to say when it should rain, and when it should not rain, and when the east wind should blow, and when the south-west wind should pour its blessing on the rejoicing landscape! God does not want us there at all He seems to be able to do quite without us there, and it is wonderful how small a cage it is within which the vastest mind is enclosed, and what very little pieces of work God asks any man to do in the creation that is around him. He can dig a little, and plough a little, and he can throw in his seed; but he has no power to tell the sun when to rise and when to set, and in what degree of heat to shine upon his little garden or his paltry field. But we work because God is. We have no fear of the stability of his works, and therefore we proceed from day to day in procuring our daily bread, and setting in operation all the forces that are needful for the cultivation alike of our bodily and mental life. This is very humbling in one of its aspects, because we have nothing whatever to do with all that is highest and grandest in creation. We are to do the servant"s work. But do not some persons advertise that they object to menial employment? Menial employment! There is nothing but menial employment if we really knew it, and yet no employment is menial if it be accepted from God"s hand, and wrought out according to the measure of his commandment and the inspiration of his call.

Is God all-mighty? Then have no fear about the realisation of his promises. Oftentimes it is difficult to see how certain promises are to be realised. We have nothing to do with that whatever. God keeps our hands off his promises quite as surely as he keeps them off his stars, and if he will not let us intermeddle with his planets, and do our little scrubbing and burnishing upon those great lights, he will not ask us to have anything to do with the outworking and realisation of his promises. He asks that their fulfilment be left to him, and afterwards he will challenge our own life as the witness, and answer, and confirmation of all that is gracious and all that is sure in the outworking of his words of promise. You do not make so very much of it with all your bonds, and guarantees, and assurances, and oaths. If you live in the paper and parchment region altogether, you live a poor, shallow life. The greatest promises are moral promises, and it matters not how much paper a man may sign; if his heart is wrong, he will swear away his own signature. If he has not signed with his heart, it is of poor account that he has signed with his hand. He can look at his signature and say it is his, and then work as if he had never written one single letter of it. It is God"s heart that comes down with his signature. He has never dealt with us only by his hand. His hand has been the servant of his heart; because of his moral attributes all that he has promised shall be fulfilled to the letter. No, no, not fulfilled to the letter. What letter can hold God? The letter is only as the little river bank, the great waters of his love will overflow all the limitations of the most ambitious letter. God cannot be known by letters. They are but as the hem of his garment, they lie a long way from his heart.

Is God all-mighty? Then do not imagine you can escape his judgments. His lightnings find us out. His sharp spear penetrates our secrecy. You have evaded him now fifty years, and you think you can do so for many more. You cannot. Has the ox that has been driven into the fat pasture escaped the knife? Look at the noble animal. Look at the rich grass or clover, and see the sunshine falling upon the scene, and the ox says, "I am at rest, I have escaped the knife of the slayer," not knowing that the pasture is on the way to the slaughter-house, and that next to its death stands the rich blessing of its life. There are many oxen that are being prepared for the slaughter when they little think it.

Is God all-mighty? Then be assured that the throne of right shall stand upon the ruins of all wrong: but here God is apparently at a disadvantage, because you cannot kill evil with the sword. The abolition of evil is a work of time, requiring the combination, the conspiring of innumerable moral influences and educational forces: but that conspiring is going on. The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness. The kings of the earth—those decorated playthings, when not true men and kings in heart as well as in hand—the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying—this is their bond—"Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." That is one side of the picture. What is the answer? He that sitteth in the heavens sitteth without agitation, discomposure, or momentary apprehension: he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. What, laugh? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together; they get up their little plot, and they are going now to bring things their own way, and the great, quiet Sovereign of all shall—what?—shake himself, call his thunder, take down his spear? No!—shall laugh! Laugh—and no man survives the laughter of God"s derision! A terrible thing it is to be laughed at by God! Strike us, reason us down, send angels to bind us, and in these humiliations we shall find some little tribute to our greatness; but, O God! do not laugh at us. When God sets the universe laughing at a Prayer of Manasseh , where can the man find rest? There is a poor outlook for those who are going to fight God!

God is not only powerful, he is also all-wise. There is no searching of his understanding. Infinite strength would terrify us, but infinite strength under the dominion of infinite mind recovers us from the tremendous shock which comes of abstract, immeasurable, unwasting strength. The forces of nature are not lawless. Storms are more than storms, as they appear to us. Behind them all is God"s mind, God"s controlling, directing intelligence. The lightning does not come out at its own bidding to smite the tree, and the tower, and the temple, and to blight the prospects of man. The lightning always comes and strikes, or passes on, at God"s bidding, and under God"s control. The east wind is not sent to us by some spiteful power that takes delight in withering up our strength; it comes because the Lord hath need of it in some sense or way.

Is God all-wise? Then the darkest providences have meaning. We will set ourselves as God"s interpreters, and because we cannot make straight lines out of our crooked lot we think that God has turned our life into inextricable confusion. The darkest hours in our life have some intent, and it is really not needful that we should know all at once what that intent is. Let us keep within our own little sphere, and live a day at a time, and breathe a breath at a time, and be content with one pulsation at a time, and interpretation will come when God pleases, and as he pleases.

Is God all-wise? Then his plan of salvation is complete and final, and we shall waste our strength and show how great is our folly, by all attempts to improve the method of redemption and recovery of the world. What is there of God"s we can improve? Find any little plant and improve it Try it. You can surely make something more out of a primrose than God has made. You could amend the buttercup and the daisy. Try it Is there a blade of grass in all the meadows of the earth we can improve, looking at it as God constructed it, not as it has been withered and destroyed in any degree, but as God made it? Can you improve any one thing that God has made? Then why seek to improve the method of salvation which he has set up according to the revelation of his Holy Book, in the person and through the ministry of his Son? We will not even stop to argue whether this is God"s Book or not; we will take the method of salvation as it is here declared, and rest the whole argument upon it. That will call us back from wandering into any collateral questions as to whether this is God"s Book or not. Improve what is laid down here, that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Song of Solomon , that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Improve it! We will not argue whether these words are what is called inspired or not; we will take them merely as words, take them as an idea, take them as if the poorest wretch in the world had spoken them, and I ask you to improve those words if you can. Love, divine love, divine love giving, divine love giving its only begotten Song of Solomon , that whosoever believeth—not payeth, not worketh, not putteth out some external strength, but believeth—should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is a marvel that any heart can hear these words without saying instantly, "These words shall lie at the very root of my life; I will live upon them, and I will defy death in their strength."

Is God all-wise? Then our individual life is all understood by him. That life is but dimly known to ourselves. We catch glimpses of it here and there, but its scope and meaning are still unrevealed to us. We are often in shadow. There are scattered rays of light, but no steady shining of the sun which protects us from the mystery of much darkness. It is enough that God knows our life, and that his wisdom is pledged as our defence. Tomorrow is coming upon us, and we know not with what messages and Revelation , with what joys and troubles; but God is coming with it, and in his path is the brightness of all-sufficient wisdom. We are quickened by the very mysteries of our life: view them atheistically, and they become terrors and distresses before which the most daring courage quails; but regard them as under the control of beneficent power, and an eye of glory opens in the very centre of the gloom.

Is God all-wise? Then we have a guarantee of endless variety in our future studies and services. God is ever extending our knowledge of his works, in reward of the endeavours we are making to acquaint ourselves with the wonders by which we are enclosed. We have found nothing of mere repetition in his plans. Each star has its own glory, each flower has a bloom and a figure peculiarly its own; the very stones are known by distinctive impress. We have eternity before us—in itself a terrible consideration, only tolerable when thought of in connection with God"s infinite wisdom: men grow weary when doomed to continuous pursuit of one object; monotony depresses and enfeebles the mind; to think, therefore, of having to live eternally is in itself a punishment, apart from the fact that no hour of the endless duration shall be unblessed by the hallowed excitement occasioned by increasing intelligence and deepening love. God will ever have something new to communicate to the mind of his servants: secret after secret will be given up to their possession; realm after realm will be thrown open to their investigation; and when unnumbered ages have expired, the infinite riches of divine wisdom will be undiminished.

The subject raises the solemn enquiry—What is our relation to this Dread Being, whose power is infinite, and whose wisdom is past finding out? We must sustain some relation to him. We are the loyal subjects of his crown, or rebels in his empire. Pause, and determine the answer! Everything depends upon our relation to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Have we repented of sin—have we poured out our hearts in rivers of contrition—have we yielded our hearts in reply to the all-entreating and overwhelming argument of the Cross? You reverence God—that is not enough; you are lost in admiration of his marvellous power as shown in the courses of nature—that is not enough; you see proofs of his existence and government in every leaf of the forest—that is not enough; these things have no relation to sin, they do not recover our lost sonship, they leave untouched the blackest and saddest facts of our life! Nature itself, brilliant and tuneful, is but a mocking mystery apart from the Cross—it is a lustrous grave, a prison under the name of a palace, a land of captivity and sorrow.

Souls are not saved by studying the works of nature. Astronomy and geology, botany and chemistry, have no redeeming message for hearts burdened with a sense of sin and guilt; we must go further and go deeper, a cry must be sent up to the dwelling-place of the Most High. O God, save us! O God, be merciful unto us! O God, redeem us from the slavery and torment of sin! And whilst we are yet speaking, a voice addresses the anxious heart—"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." That is what we want! That is sweet as morning light to men who have long sat in great darkness, and precious as the voice of the Deliverer to bondsmen who have desired to die. And is there not a word of encouragement for those who are rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins? We are saved from fear. We have the freedom of the City of God. In moments of exhaustion we look unto the hills whence cometh our help—in times of embarrassment we take counsel with divine wisdom. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. What time I am afraid, I will trust in God. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? We are called unto trust. We are entitled to exult in the goodness and majesty of God. Ours is to be no depressing religion, but a religion of boundless joy. Our springs are not in ourselves: we hew no broken cisterns to ourselves; we undertake not our own affairs; we dwell in the security of God"s power, and as for Wisdom of Solomon , we ask and receive. This message is to troubled men—to troubled hearts—to desponding souls; and how gracious is the reviving word! Let us arise from our hiding-places, and serve the Lord with renewed power; he waits to gather us into his infinite strength and to make us wise with perfect understanding.


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Bibliography
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 40:28". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/isaiah-40.html. 1885-95.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 10th, 2020
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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