Isaiah is one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. His legacy is so renowned that he is mentioned and quoted the most in the New Testament when it comes to prophecy. His book is easily broken down in this way: Chapters 1-12 are prophecies of Judah and Jerusalem, Chapters 13-23 are prophecies of judgement of the nations, Chapters 24-27 is judgment on the world, Chapters 28-35 are warnings of alliances, Chapters 36-39 is the history of Hezekiah, and then 40-66 discusses the future glory of Israel through Christ.
In Chapter 40:1-5 there is a word of encouragement to the nation of Israel after hearing of the coming destruction because of their sin. The point of this seems to be that God is forewarning them of what is going to happen, but also He is showing His loving care for them.
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
These words should be familiar to those that know the New Testament well. John the Baptist and his work is mentioned, the “leveling of the playing field” when it comes to salvation, and the gospel being preached is all talked about here. Keep in mind, this is about 700 years before Jesus was ever born so these details are incredible.
God did not only care enough for His people to warn them of their fate, but also to give them a glimpse of the glory of God that would be revealed in the New Testament age. Today we get a similar thing when it comes to God’s revelation: we get a picture of heaven which encourages us not only to make sure we are prepared, but also be comforted by the hope of heaven.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).