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A look at Isaiah 40 (much help from Zondervan’s Pastoral Annual)

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Presentation on theme: "A look at Isaiah 40 (much help from Zondervan’s Pastoral Annual)"— Presentation transcript:

1 A look at Isaiah 40 (much help from Zondervan’s Pastoral Annual)

2 Introduction: (taken from Zondervan’s) “A husband stands facing his wife. He remembers the day she his heart by running away with another man. He remembers the day he read of her indictment in the paper after she unwittingly allowed her lover to involve her in a life of crime. Now she faces her husband, broken and repentant. Ahead of her lies a prison term. He opens his heart to her, and with a spirit of forgiveness, he reaches out to take her hand and says tenderly, “Everything is going to be alright.” He is saying that when she has paid the punishment decreed by law, he will take her back, and together they will pick up the pieces of their marriage.

3 Introduction: (taken from Zondervan’s) “The assurance he gives to her is not any easy one. Rather, it is akin to the assurance of the doctor as he says to the patient, “Everything is going to be all right,” but as he says it, he stands with a mask on his face, a scalpel in his hand, anesthetic nearby, and a great surgical light glaring down on the operating table. What he means is that after the operation and the healing, everything will be all right”

4 Introduction: (taken from Zondervan’s) “Isaiah 40 has this kind of tone. ‘Comfort yes, comfort’ translated into our daily conversation might be, ‘Everything is going to be all right.’ Having delivered God’s prophecy of chastisement through wicked Babylon, Isaiah is called upon now to speak words of comfort, looking beyond the Babylonian captivity to God’s restoration of His people. In Is 39:6 the prophet proclaims, ‘Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up ins tore until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.’ The coming judgment at the hands of Babylon is God’s way of judging His own people for their sins. God’s judgment, however, is always for a purpose. Following the judgment in Babylon, God’s people are to be restored to their land and forgiven their sins.”

5 Is. 40:2 When Sin is Forgiven (Is. 40:2) Assurance of forgiveness Isaiah is looking, with prophetic vision, beyond the coming punishment to God’s promised restoration Speak comfort to Jerusalem, “in the margin, 'To the heart.' The heart is the seat of the affections. It is there that sorrow and joy are felt. We are oppressed there with grief, and we speak familiarly of being pained at the heart and of being of a glad or merry heart. To speak 'to the heart,' is to speak in such a way as to remove the troubles of the heart; to furnish consolation, and joy.” (Barnes Notes’ on the Bible)

6 Is. 40:2 When Sin is Forgiven (Is. 40:2) Spiritual comfort can only come after sin is forgiven and the chastening of God has renewed the child of God – Prov 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-11; Rev 3:19 The price of forgiveness – The bible never makes light of the importance of forgiveness of sin – The cost of sin is always high – It was over 600 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon-a trip that would take at least four months for those walking in chains – The Babylonians were not only to rob the people of all their possessions but to take them as slaves as well Just imagine how the women and children must have been treated Families were separated and torn apart Men must have suffered tremendously emotionally witnessing the mistreatment of the families they loved The Lord had given the people a promised land and they in turn turned from God and were ultimately punished for their sin

7 When Sin is Forgiven (Is. 40:2) Although the prophesied chastening has not yet come, Isaiah is so certain that it will be followed by pardon that he speaks of it in the past tense, “Her iniquity is pardoned.” Though God’s chastisement may be between our sin and our pardon, we can gain encouragement from the knowledge that pardon lies ahead if we seek it out

8 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) Spiritual adjustment – When eastern monarchs prepared for long journeys, they would send heralds before them to make sure that all routes were passable Ravines were filled Rocky places were smoothed over “The general sense is plain. The language, as we have seen, is taken from the march of a monarch at the head of his army. The general idea is, that all obstructions were to be removed, so that the march would be without embarrassment.” (Barnes Notes on the Entire Bible)

9 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) The prophet uses this figure to speak of the spiritual adjustments necessary to make the message of comfort a reality Before God can come into our lives and bring about forgiveness, we must prepare a way to our hearts…a way created through repentance There are a lot of crooked things in our lives that must be made straight There are plenty of self-indulgent things we must learn to forsake

10 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) Practical adjustment – If a spiritual adjustment is real, a practical adjustment will automatically follow – Genuine repentance always finds its way into practical application – All of our life must be adjusted to God’s schedule and not our own-this includes our work days as well as our worship days The man who schedules 7 full work days a week 52 weeks a year and makes no time for the Lord need not deceive himself into thinking, “Everything is going to be all right.”

11 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) A woman may chooses to spend every penny she makes on her own needs, giving nothing to the Lord need not deceive herself into believing, “Everything will be all right.” A man may choose to speak with a foul mouth or tell dirty jokes, but he should not fool himself into believing, “Everything will be all right.” A person may choose to assemble at every service without ever offering anything to the class or singing and participating in worship, but they should never assume that, “Everything will be all right”

12 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) Concerning man The prophet is first ordered to pronounce a message of comfort for the hearts of the people Then it appears he is unsure what should be said next until God lets him know what to say Is 40:6-8 People are frail and temporary: unless they realize their predicament, they are in no frame of mind to listen to words of comfort from God

13 When Life is Adjusted to God (Is 40:4-5) Concerning God When people see themselves properly, they are in a position see God in a proper perspective

14 When God is Trusted (Is 40:27-28, 31) The natural cry People, because of their finite nature, are anxious creatures We see often how people choose not to trust in God The prophet Isaiah hears numerous cries of anxiety from the people Is 40:27

15 When God is Trusted (Is 40:27-28, 31) “My way is hid from the Lord - That is, is not seen, or noticed. The word 'way' here denotes evidently the state or condition; the manner of life, or the calamities which they experienced. The term is often thus employed to denote the lot, condition, or manner in which one lives or acts Psa 37:5; Isaiah 10:24; Jeremiah 12:1. The phrase, 'is hid,' means that God is ignorant of it, or that he does not attend to it; and the complaint here is, that God had not regarded them in their calamities, and would not interpose to save them.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Entire Bible) “And my judgment - My cause. The word here refers to their condition among the people where they were captive, and by whom they were oppressed. They are represented as being deprived of their liberty; and they here complain that God disregarded their cause, and that he did not come forth to deliver them from their oppressions and their trials.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Entire Bible)

16 When God is Trusted (Is 40:27-28, 31) – The word way is commonly used to speak of one’s fortune or fate, The word judgment refers to a lawsuit or petition The people are basically saying, “Our destiny has been forgotten by God, and our petition for help has been neglected.” The supernatural help – To these discouraged people, Isaiah speaks of the divine help promised God Is 40:28,31 The great God who created the earth and sustains it with His power has the power to sustain His people also God will put a new strength in their present weakness when they learn to, “Wait upon the Lord.”

17 Conclusion: From Zondervan’s “The Word of God speaks a message of hope to all the prodigals, whether their waywardness is at the point of lustful passion (like the adulterous woman confronted by Jesus), or self-righteous pride (as Nicodemus), or in dishonest manipulation (as in the case of Zacchaeus). To all he says, ‘Behold your God! He comes to take you home.’ The good news of the gospel is that everything can be alright with God’s help (cf Rom 8:28)”

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