"A Drop Of A Bucket"
Context: The fortieth chapter of Isaiah is justly considered one of the finest passages in Scripture. Isaiah was both an inspired prophet and a great poet; this chapter is a song of joy resulting from a vision in which he has glimpsed the deliverance of his people. Rejoicing in the greatness of God, he tells his audience that their long suffering is destined to end; and the picture he paints is one of spiritual triumph. Many of these verses were set to music by Handel and incorporated into Messiah; the result is a remarkable fusion of genius, in which sublime poetry is enhanced by music of great power and majesty. Chapter 40 forms a prelude to Isaiah's later prophecies, particularly those in chapters 42, 49, 50, 52, and 53, which foretell the coming of the Messiah; Isaiah refers to this figure as the Servant. The early fathers of the Christian Church felt certain, reading these lines, that Isaiah had prophesied the coming of Christ. Later scholars puzzled over the poet's words and considered a number of Jewish leaders, contemporary with Isaiah, who might have fitted the role of deliverer. Later opinion has concluded, however, that a Messiah was precisely what Isaiah had in mind. He begins by saying that the Lord has at last pardoned Israel and that all things shall be made right, and that all men shall see the glory of the Lord. All flesh comes from grass, and men wither away as the grass does, but the word of God endures forever. Men will behold God on earth; and he will rule them, caring for his flock as a shepherd does. Isaiah then emphasizes the greatness of the Lord, beside which the works of man are nothing.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!Behold, the Lord GOD...
(The entire section is 513 words.)