Every January, millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions. They decide to become more fit or to lose weight or to read through the Bible or to stop smoking. And by February of each year, millions of people have abandoned their resolutions. According to Professor Nick Chater at Warwick Business School in England, willpower is rarely enough to carry us through on commitments. People who depend on their own willpower nearly always fail to sustain their good intentions.
Reliance on our own power often leads to disappointment. Isaiah 40 explains why we can find comfort in the power of God. Lest His people have any doubts about His care, the chapter opens with God’s declaration that what is to follow should encourage and sustain them: “Comfort, comfort my people” (v. 1). This text follows the announcement of impending exile and the destruction of Jerusalem—some of the darkest days that the people of Judah would ever experience. But even in His judgment for their sin, God still cared for His people. He still brings them good news (v. 9).
The faithlessness of humanity is contrasted with the sovereign power and faithfulness of God. People are like flowers in a field—they stand upright and flourish for a time, but they can’t sustain it (vv. 6–8). The Lord holds the whole world in His hands. His faithfulness sustains all of creation! His power keeps the stars in place (vv. 12–26).
God’s power means that He never grows weary (v. 28). And amazingly, the almighty Creator of the universe, the sovereign Lord who sustains all things, cares deeply and passionately for His people: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11).