I once read a simple, one-sentence recipe for humility that I have yet to practice, but it lingers just outside my list of good intentions. Here it is:
Read Isaiah 40 every day.
Every word trumpets, “Behold your God,” first to the cities of Judah, and ultimately to me, sitting at my dining room table. Truly, Isaiah 40 is the readers’ reward for those who persevered through chapters 1-39, for here we discover our tending, gathering Shepherd (11) who is larger than life, cupping oceans in his palm and viewing the entire earth from an exalted height (22). The God who calls you by name is also on a first name basis with all the starry host (26).
The God who calls you by name is also on a first name basis with all the starry host.Tweet
It is with this very same omnipotence that God set out to rescue our faltering, failing frames (30, 31). Throughout chapters 1-39, Isaiah prophesied about a coming Divine King. Now, beginning in chapter 40, we will begin to read about a coming Servant. Old Testament scholar Andrew Abernethy concludes it is unlikely that Isaiah saw the King and the Servant roles being fulfilled in one person. After all, who besides God would have imagined or foreseen the manner in which God’s great rescue plan would be fulfilled by God himself?
If you’ve never listened to Handel’s Messiah, I urge you to take in at least the first few minutes of it beginning with the tenor solo of “Comfort ye my people.”
The consolation foretold here transports me directly to the New Testament and Luke’s account of Simeon’s witness. Consolation foretold in Isaiah 40 becomes Consolation fulfilled when a faithful man, “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” reveals by the Holy Spirit that his eyes now behold the salvation which God had prepared for all humanity.
Therefore, Do Not Fear
The character of the Servant of the Lord, revealed in Isaiah 40-55, gives the believer every reason NOT to fear. He does not offer an empty comfort, but one that sustains through fire and flood (43:1-3). Speaking to a broken and battered people group who had endured exile and humiliation, plunder and desecration, Isaiah portrays a God who makes a way through the sea (43:16), who blots out transgressions (43:25), a Rock (44:9), a Creator (43:1), a God of might, wisdom, and tenderness (40:10-13).
Where do you need to experience God’s comfort today? The wreckage of your circumstances may seem an inadequate launch pad for the promises of God to be fulfilled, and yet God’s word came to Israel in their brokenness, too.
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…”Isaiah 40:4-5
These are the words of a God who can change the landscape of YOUR life, too.
Because HIs Word stands forever,
Where do you need to experience God’s comfort today? The wreckage of your circumstances may seem an inadequate launch pad for the promises of God to be fulfilled, and yet God’s word came to Israel in their brokenness, too.Tweet
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