12/30/2010

God's Comfort Enables the Weak to Soar on Wings Like Eagles (Isaiah 40)

The prophesies of ch. 1-39 addressed Judah in her situation during Isaiah's ministry (739 B.C. - 686 B.C.). The prophesies of ch. 40-66, delivered more than a century and a half beforehand, address Judah as though the prophesied Babylonian captivity (Isa 39:5-7) were already a present reality, though the captivity did not begin until 605-586 B.C.

Isaiah also predicted Israel's immediate deliverance from Babylon by Cyrus (Isa 44:24-45:13), the coming of the suffering Christ to save them from their sins (Isa 42:1-7; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12), and Israel's final salvation in the last days (Isa 51:6).

Isa 40:1-31 is God's comfort throug h his promise of hope for the brokenhearted people of God on account of their rebellion.

Despite her Sins, God Tenderly Comforts his People (Isa 40:1-26)

Though we have become like a brazen wilderness landscape on account of our sins, God tenderly aims to win our hearts back (Isa 40:1-4). God does this not just for us, but primarily to reveal his own glory to the whole world (Isa 40:5). Despite man's frailty and unreliability (Isa 40:6-8), God himself will fulfill this by his word, by his kingly might, and with the heart of a gentle shepherd (Isa 40:8,10). No opposition can thwart God from keeping his promise, for God is the Creator of all things (Isa 40:12-26), and thus incomparable in his power (Isa 40:12), wisdom (Isa 40:13,14), immensity (Isa 40:15-17), sovereignty (Isa 40:21-23), and authority (Isa 40:25). Only Israel's God is worthy of worship, for he created, controls, and preserves what the pagans foolishly worship (Isa 40:18-20).

Even the Weakest can Soar on Wings like Eagles (Isa 40:27-31)

Despondency easily arises when one is exiled on account of our sins (Isa 40:27). But God never suffers setbacks because he is the everlasting God (Isa 40:28), while human strength at its best inevitably fails (Isa 40:29,30). Real power comes only from "those who hope in the Lord" (Isa 40:31).

Practical Application/Ministry Implication: If we feel overwhelmed by the immensity of our own adverse situation, may we see that God, as the Almighty Creator, is always in complete control, so much so that not even one star is ever missing or misplaced (Isa 40:26). [There are > 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe with 10 billion trillion stars.]

Great Encouragement: Even the weakest can soar like an eagle (Isa 40:31).


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