Isaiah 39-40, Mark 10
In Isaiah 40, we are given a warning against placing our hope or trust in temporal earthly things. In this passage, he gives the example of a metalworker sparing no expense in using gold and silver to create an idol for himself. He points out that even a poor person who had no money to spare would be sure come up with wood to create a pedestal for an idol. Isaiah 40:18 even states directly, "With whom will you compare God?
What likeness will you set up for comparison with him?"
Even though in today's world, we may not set up idols of silver and gold or wood in our homes, we must still be careful to avoid making idols out of things in our lives. Anything that we love and invest our time into can become an idol for us-money, career, spouse, children, hobbies, education, etc. The final verses in chapter 40 remind us of the great power of God who created all things and has command over the universe. Our God has infinite strength and never becomes faint or weary. The important truth that we must take from this passage is the examination of things we value and place the most importance in. We must be sure that we do not elevate things that we love, such as money or our spouse or our career, to the point that they actually compete with God. Our God is a jealous God and the things of this world cannot compete for our time with, our allegiance to and our commitment to God Himself. This passage assures us that we must place our trust in God. He is our ultimate source of strength, comfort and guidance. We can have faith that His plan for us is perfect and that He never fails. God’s promises are always true and certain. The temporal things of this world cannot provide lasting fulfillment and satisfaction. We must find our satisfaction and sufficiency in Christ.
39 At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 Hezekiah was pleased with the letters, and he showed the envoys his treasure house—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil—and all his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.
3 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and where did they come to you from?”
Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon.”
4 Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?”
Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of Armies:6 ‘Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 7 ‘Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.
God’s People Comforted
40 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.
2 “Speak tenderly to[a] Jerusalem,
and announce to her
that her time of forced labor is over,
her iniquity has been pardoned,
and she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.”
3 A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert.
4 Every valley will be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
the uneven ground will become smooth
and the rough places, a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will appear,
and all humanity[b] together will see it,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
6 A voice was saying, “Cry out!”
Another said,[c] “What should I cry out?”
“All humanity is grass,
and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flowers fade
when the breath[d] of the Lord blows on them;[e]
indeed, the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever.”
9 Zion, herald of good news,
go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, herald of good news,
raise your voice loudly.
Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with strength,
and his power establishes his rule.
His wages are with him,
and his reward accompanies him.
11 He protects his flock like a shepherd;
he gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them in the fold of his garment.
He gently leads those that are nursing.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
or weighed the mountains on a balance
and the hills on the scales?
13 Who has directed[f] the Spirit of the Lord,
or who gave him counsel?
14 Who did he consult?
Who gave him understanding
and taught him the paths of justice?
Who taught him knowledge
and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales;
he lifts up the islands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon’s cedars are not enough for fuel,
or its animals enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
they are considered by him
as empty nothingness.
18 With whom will you compare God?
What likeness will you set up for comparison with him?
19 An idol?—something that a smelter casts
and a metalworker plates with gold
and makes silver chains for?
20 A poor person contributes wood for a pedestal
that will not rot.[g]
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not fall over.
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you
from the beginning?
Have you not considered
the foundations of the earth?
22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He reduces princes to nothing
and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland.
24 They are barely planted, barely sown,
their stem hardly takes root in the ground
when he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.
25 “To whom will you compare me,
or who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look up[h] and see!
Who created these?
He brings out the stars by number;
he calls all of them by name.
Because of his great power and strength,
not one of them is missing.
27 Jacob, why do you say,
and, Israel, why do you assert:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my claim is ignored by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never becomes faint or weary;
there is no limit to his understanding.
29 He gives strength to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths may become faint and weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.
The Question of Divorce
10 He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again.
2 Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?”
4 They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.”
5 But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. 6 But from the beginning of creation God[a]made them male and female.[b] 7 For this reason a man will leavehis father and mother[c] 8 and the two will become one flesh.[d] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Blessing the Children
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive[e] the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.
The Rich Young Ruler
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.”[f]
20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”
21 Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come,[g] follow me.” 22 But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Possessions and the Kingdom
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is[h] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
28 Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father[i] or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundred timesmore, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
The Third Prediction of His Death
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. 33 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 and they will mock him, spit on him, flog[j]him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”
Suffering and Service
35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.
37 They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”
38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We are able,” they told him.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. 40 But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
41 When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”[k]
A Blind Man Healed
46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51 Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Rabboni,”[l] the blind man said to him, “I want to see.”
52 Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.