Daily Bible Reading

April 18, 2024

Isaiah 40:1–17(GNT)

God’s Guiding Word: Hope


Isaiah 40:1–17: Chapter 40 begins a new section addressing the people of Judah in exile in Babylon, crushed and hopeless. Isaiah proclaims that God will set the people free and bring them home to Jerusalem to begin a new life. In today’s reading, the prophet speaks words of hope, comfort, and encouragement.

Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 40:8

“Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever!”


40 “Comfort my people,” says our God. “Comfort them!
Encourage the people of Jerusalem.
Tell them they have suffered long enough
    and their sins are now forgiven.
I have punished them in full for all their sins.”

A voice cries out,
“Prepare in the wilderness a road for the LORD!
    Clear the way in the desert for our God!
Fill every valley;
    level every mountain.
The hills will become a plain,
    and the rough country will be made smooth.
Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
    and all people will see it.
The LORD himself has promised this.”

A voice cries out, “Proclaim a message!”
“What message shall I proclaim?” I ask.
“Proclaim that all human beings are like grass;
    they last no longer than wild flowers.
Grass withers and flowers fade
    when the LORD sends the wind blowing over them.
    People are no more enduring than grass.
Yes, grass withers and flowers fade,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

Jerusalem, go up on a high mountain
    and proclaim the good news!
Call out with a loud voice, Zion;
    announce the good news!
Speak out and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah
    that their God is coming!

10 The Sovereign LORD is coming to rule with power,
    bringing with him the people he has rescued.
11 He will take care of his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs together
    and carry them in his arms;
    he will gently lead their mothers.

12 Can anyone measure the ocean by handfuls
    or measure the sky with his hands?
Can anyone hold the soil of the earth in a cup
    or weigh the mountains and hills on scales?
13 Can anyone tell the LORD what to do?
    Who can teach him or give him advice?
14 With whom does God consult
    in order to know and understand
    and to learn how things should be done?

15 To the LORD the nations are nothing,
    no more than a drop of water;
    the distant islands are as light as dust.
16 All the animals in the forests of Lebanon
    are not enough for a sacrifice to our God,
    and its trees are too few to kindle the fire.
17 The nations are nothing at all to him.


Isaiah proclaims an end to the punishment Israel has had to endure because of its sins. Their time spent in exile is fulfilled, and Israel’s sins are forgiven (verse 2; see also Isaiah 43:22–25). The Gospels (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–6) quote verses 3–5, using Isaiah’s prophecy to describe John the Baptizer in the desert preparing the way for the Lord’s Messiah, Jesus. In today’s reading, these verses describe God coming to his people’s aid. The return journey of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem will be different from Israel’s hurried exodus from Egypt (see Exodus 14 ff). Now even the mountainous landscape will be leveled to make an easy journey as God returns to Zion in triumph, bringing his people with him. What words of hope are given in verse 2? In what ways do these verses speak of God’s steadfast love and care? What “good news” is proclaimed in today’s reading?


Sovereign God, you rule with power and might, and like a shepherd you care for your people, offering comfort and hope. You are faithful and your word endures forever! I thank and praise you for the good news of your steadfast love and care. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.

Tomorrow’s Reading

Isaiah 40:18–31: A hymn celebrating Israel’s incomparable God.

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