I think it took 5 attempts to get a combination for this blog's address that wasn't taken already. I guess I'm not alone in indecision.
There are some high standards out there that I won't reach, so the tentative theme seemed appropriate. I'm hoping to air some of my more original thoughts here, and we'll see if anyone cares to affirm or infirm them...
To kick us off, Isaiah 40. A purple passage, of course, and there are many ugly trinkets that still haven't managed to kill off the beauty of the language. What interests me tonight, however, is my idea for reading the last few verses.
All that strength for the weary, soaring on wings like eagles etc, is very nice indeed. But what's tiring them out? It seems to be a trip that they're on - one that's long enough to involve stumbling, fainting and the like. In the context of the chapter, I suspect that Isaiah is looking ahead to the return from exile; after all, Jerusalem's sin has been paid for. Neither Webb nor Motyer seem to look this far in their commentaries, preferring to see it as reassurance for the drabness of exile.
But this then fits back in with vv. 3-11. God is coming through the wilderness, and, shepherd that he is, bringing his people with him. The highway is for both God and his people. The natural extension is that God is with his people even in exile - for the word of the LORD stands forever.
In preaching this tomorrow, the last two points on my outline - 'Coming Home' '...When Home Never Left You' - I love the power of the image of coming home, and hope to double it (deliberate reference to v. 2 there) with the realisation that home was with them all along.