I Believe I Can Fly – Wednesday, 2nd week in Advent  – Isaiah 40:25-31

The book of Isaiah is centred on the Babylonian exile, which began in 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and enslaved the Jewish people. The exile ended in 539 B.C. when Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple. 

Scholars are divided with regard to the authorship of this book. Some believe that one man wrote the entire book, part of which foretells events to take place long after his death. Others believe that one author wrote chapters 1-39, a second author or group of authors wrote chapters 40-55, and a third author or group wrote chapters 56-66.

But everyone agrees that chapter 40 begins a new emphasis. While chapters 1-39 warned of God’s judgment if the people place their trust in secular rulers rather than in God. Chapters 40-55 lift up the promise of redemption for a people who are experiencing the judgment about which the prophet warned in the earlier chapters. 

The text  of today is a well-known text from the book of Isaiah. It is loved because it strikes a familiar chord with so many weary people who at times need encouragement. The opening lines of Isaiah 40 announce what was surely impossible to believe. After living as slaves in Babylon for seventy years, their hearts were filled with fear, doubt and concern; their nation was destroyed, Jerusalem was a pile of rubble, the temple was gone. They were beaten, felt alone and abandoned by God and they were hopeless.

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