Our God is a both a might warrior and savior but also a gentle shepherd. He saves and we join with him in the rewards of His victory and when he cares for us he protects us, carries us and leads us individually.
How will we see through the mist of suffering and trials? How will we see through the mist of the hostility of this present age? How will we see through the mist of confusion in search of God’s direction for our lives?
The ultimate answer to all of these questions is at the heart of God’s message in Isaiah 40:9-11. To see through the mist, we must see God. Our eyes of our hearts and the paths of our lives must be illuminated by Him and His glory.
As we continue our study in Isaiah 40, we’ll see more of what God intended for His people to hear in the midst of their exile in Babylon. He knew that His people would need to know and experience His genuine comfort.
In order to ensure that we really grasp the significance of the comfort contained in the statements found in verses 1-5, God continues in verses 6-8 by offering a massive contrast. It is a contrast that hinges on time.
Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction”. Indeed He is the God of all comfort and we need and experience His comfort most when amidst a season of affliction. But, what exactly does this mean?
What is comfort? How does God comfort His children?
We will see that God’s comfort isn’t cheap or insignificant. God’s comfort is real, robust, and reliable!
Hezekiah’s faith in God during the crisis of the Assyrian invasion was a rare demonstration trust in those days. The people of God had largely ceased to be people of God. They carried the Name but they did not possess genuine faith. Thus, God brought judgment upon His people.
Yet, this judgment was not banishment. It was not a judgment leading to extinction. Rather, God’s judgment prepared the way forward. It created the conditions for HOPE! These truths should bring sweeping hope and encouragement to us today!
God is SO faithful to His Word – always keeping His promises! He is SO patient with His people – abundant in mercy and always extending grace! He is SO holy and righteous in all that He does. He is great and He is good. Yet, though He is all of these things, His people constantly turn from Him.
They willfully ignore His law and chafe at His commands. They even turn to declare their devotion to idols or fake deities fabricated by human imagination. Ultimately, they declare their trust in themselves and spurn their glorious and mighty God. Yet, God is relentless in His pursuit of them… and US.
You see, we’re often a lot more like the nation of Israel than we’d care to admit. We often willfully neglect His word and chafe at His commands. Moreover, we too find it so tempting to simply trust in our own strength and the resources society offers instead of declaring our dependance upon our Almighty God and His unending stockpiles of resources.
For many, the Old Testament is intimidating – it’s large and often confusing. For others, the Old Testament is alarming – God seems harsh as opposed to the gracious God of the NT. A common denominator for both, however, is unfamiliarity. We can be 100% convinced that serious study in the Old Testament will serve to demonstrate that the Old Testament is much easier to understand than you may think, and that it’s God is unquestionably the same!
Isaiah penned his prophecy hundreds of years before the Gospel was fully unveiled to the world. In chapter 59, he spells out the chasm that exists between God and us, the reason for it and the way it will be bridged. Isaiah is calling a people to recognize their sin and need, pointing them toward a coming redeemer and brings thoughts of thanksgiving for us today.