Isaiah 40:8
The grass wither, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
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40:1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.The grass withereth ... - This is repeated from the former verse for the sake of emphasis, or strong confirmation.

But the word of our God - The phrase 'word of our God,' refers either to his promise to be the protector and deliverer of his people in their captivity, or, in general, means that all his promises shall be firm and unchanging.

Shall stand for ever - Amidst all revolutions among men, his promise shall be firm. It shall not only live amidst the changes of dynasties, and the revolutions of empires, but it shall continue forever and ever. This is designed for support to an afflicted and oppressed people; and it must have been to them, in their bondage, the source of high consolation. But it is equally so now. Amidst all the changes on earth; the revolutions of empires; the vanishing of kingdoms, God is the same, and his promises are unfailing. We see the grass wither at the return of autumn, or in the drought: we see the flower of the field lose its beauty, and decay; we see man rejoicing in his vigor and his health, cut down in an instant; we see cities fall, and kingdoms lose their power and vanish from among nations, but God changes not. He presides in all these revolutions, and sits calm and unmoved amidst all these changes. Not one of his promises shall fail; and at the end of all the changes which human things shall undergo, Yahweh, the God of his people, will be the same.

7. spirit of the Lord—rather, "wind of Jehovah" (Ps 103:16). The withering east wind of those countries sent by Jehovah (Jon 4:8).

the people—rather, "this people" [Lowth], which may refer to the Babylonians [Rosenmuller]; but better, mankind in general, as in Isa 42:5, so Isa 40:6, "all flesh"; this whole race, that is, man.

Whatsoever God hath said shall infallibly come to pass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,.... Which is repeated, to raise attention to it, as being a matter of importance, and for the confirmation of it:

but the word of our God shall stand for ever; the Apostle Peter adds, by way of explanation,

and this is the word, which by the Gospel is preached unto you; who seems to distinguish the word from the Gospel, by which it is preached, and to intend Christ the essential Word; who stands or abides for ever as a divine Person; in his office as Mediator, being Prophet, Priest, and King for ever; in the efficacy of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; and in the fulness of his grace: it is true of the written word or Gospel, which remains, is everlasting, and will stand and continue, notwithstanding the persecutions of tyrants, the craft of false teachers, the reproach of ungodly men, and the death of the best of men, even of ministers; though all flesh is grass, fading and withering, the word of God is fresh and lively, firm and durable; and so it is as transcribed into the hearts of men, where it becomes the ingrafted word, and issues in everlasting life. It may be applied to God's word of promise, which is for ever settled in heaven, and is always fulfilled.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the {m} word of our God shall stand for ever.

(m) Though considering the frailty of man's nature many of the Jews would perish, and so not be partakers of this deliverance, yet God's promise would be fulfilled, and they who remained, would feel the fruit of it.

8. the word of our God] is the word spoken by the prophets to Israel, the announcement of Jehovah’s immutable purpose in the world; this is the one permanent factor in human history. It is a mistake to limit the reference to the word of promise just declared by the prophet; the statement is general, although the implied argument is that as the threatening predictions of earlier prophets have been fulfilled, so this new word of comfort shall stand, because it proceeds from the same God, who can dissolve the mightiest combinations of human power (Isaiah 40:23).Verse 8. - The Word of our God shall stand for ever. Amid all human frailty, shiftingness, changefulness, there is one thing that endures, and stroll endure - God's Word (see the comment on the first part of ver. 6). In the sureness of God's promises is Israel's exceeding comfort. The summons is now repeated with still greater emphasis, the substance of the consoling proclamation being also given. "Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her affliction is ended, that her debt is paid, that she has received from the hand of Jehovah double for all her sins." The holy city is thought of here in connection with the population belonging to it. על־לב דּבּר (to speak to the heart) is an expression applied in Genesis 34:3 and Judges 19:3 to words adapted to win the heart; in Genesis 50:21, to the words used by Joseph to inspire his brethren with confidence; whilst here it is used in precisely the same sense as in Hosea 2:16, and possibly not without a reminiscence of this earlier prophecy. אל קרא (to call to a person) is applied to a prophetic announcement made to a person, as in Jeremiah 7:27; Zechariah 1:4. The announcement to be made to Jerusalem is then introduced with כּי, ὅτι, which serves as the introduction to either an indirect or a direct address (Ges. 155, 1, e). (1.) Her affliction has become full, and therefore has come to an end. צבא, military service, then feudal service, and hardship generally (Job 7:1); here it applies to the captivity or exile - that unsheltered bivouac, as it were, of the people who had bee transported into a foreign land, and were living there in bondage, restlessness, and insecurity. (2.) Her iniquity is atoned for, and the justice of God is satisfied: nirtsâh, which generally denotes a satisfactory reception, is used here in the sense of meeting with a satisfactory payment, like עון רצה in Leviticus 26:41, Leviticus 26:43, to pay off the debt of sin by enduring the punishment of sin. (3.) The third clause repeats the substance of the previous ones with greater emphasis and in a fuller tone: Jerusalem has already suffered fully for her sins. In direct opposition to לקחה, which cannot, when connected with two actual perfects as it is here, be take as a perfect used to indicate the certainty of some future occurrence, Gesenius, Hitzig, Ewald, Umbreit, Stier, and Hahn suppose kiphlayim to refer to the double favour that Jerusalem was about to receive (like mishneh in Isaiah 61:7, and possibly borrowed from Isaiah in Zechariah 9:12), instead of to the double punishment which Jerusalem had endured (like mishneh in Jeremiah 16:18). It is not to be taken, however, in a judicial sense; in which case God would appear over-rigid, and therefore unjust. Jerusalem had not suffered more than its sins had deserved; but the compassion of God regarded what His justice had been obliged to inflict upon Jerusalem as superabundant. This compassion also expresses itself in the words "for all" (bekhol, c. Beth pretii): there is nothing left for further punishment. The turning-point from wrath to love has arrived. The wrath has gone forth in double measure. With what intensity, therefore, will the love break forth, which has been so long restrained!
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