#33 Blog for October 25
Through his messages of mercy, God brought me back into his heart three decades ago.
Isaiah 40:1-2 speaks to people who have lost hope, as I had. “Comfort, comfort my people,— warfare is ended, her iniquity is pardoned, —” This felt like a soothing and healing balm poured over my aching heart. It gave me a glimpse of God’s heart. He loves us and is eager to end the strife in our lives and hearts.
Isaiah wrote this a hundred years before Jerusalem fell and the Babylonians took the people into exile. He answered ahead of time the questions people are bound to have during their punishment or exile:
1. Is God strong enough to defeat my enemies?
2. Has my failure to trust God and obey him completely separated me from God and his purpose for my life? In other words, has he abandoned me?
Isaiah, looking ahead to Israel’s exile in Babylon, tells the captives the Lord is coming to set them free. He gives the message of hope for those who repent. The glory of the Lord will be revealed and everyone will see it. God will make it possible for people to follow the right road. Deliverance can come only from God’s intervention. He has a plan and is preparing a way. God would send a messenger when it is time to reveal that plan.
After the exile, God offers comfort to his people. Her slavery to sin has ended; her sin has been paid for; she has received complete forgiveness from the Lord.
Hundreds of years later, John the Baptist fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of a voice in the wilderness who proclaims Messiah’s coming, and recognizes Jesus is the Messiah, (Mt. 3:11-17). Repent- ance of sin and acceptance of Jesus as Savior are required to get on the road of holiness.
In Isaiah 40:9-17, God is described as a great ruler, a loving shepherd, almighty Creator, and all-wise Spirit. Israel not only receives the good news that the Lord will set them free, but also is to be a messenger of that good news to the world. The Creator breaks into his world, both to break the power of evil with his strong “arm,” and, “like a shepherd, to gather up the broken in his gentle “arms,”” (Oswalt, 445).
I love the following picture of soaring like eagles. Those who “wait upon the Lord” will soar. To “wait” on God is to “live in confident expectation of his action on our behalf. It is to refuse to run ahead of him in trying to solve our problems for ourselves,” (Oswalt, 448).
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint,” (Isaiah 40:27-31,RSV).
“We all need regular times to listen to God. Waiting on the Lord is expecting his promised strength to help us rise above life’s distractions and difficulties. Listening to God helps us to be prepared for when he speaks to us, to be patient when he asks us to wait, and to expect him to fulfill the promises found in his Word.”(Life Application Bible).
By Judith Vander Wege