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As I read part of today’s reading I could not help but remember our reading in Job. Job had so many questions for God, and when God spoke…HE NEVER answered Job’s questions. HE only reminded Job of HIS character and compared HIS immortal, ever present, all knowing, merciful, loving characteristics to the traits of man and man’s limitations. Job recognized quickly that the answers to his many questions were not important when compared to the ONE TRUE GOD…THE CREATOR of ALL. AND….of course, how could you read these chapters and not see the prophesy of Jesus Christ…..THE HOPE….THE Promises. Ahhhhhhh!!!
Chapter 40 begins the SHIFT, the PIVOT in the book of Isaiah. Scholars compare these last 26 chapters of Isaiah beginning in Chapter 40 to the New Testament. The past 39 chapters have been a warning and a preparation for their exile and captivity for rejecting God. Now we turn the corner and chapter 40 talks about their new life when released from captivity. My Bible titles this chapter “Comfort for God’s People.” This section speaks so powerfully of God’s Salvation that we as Christians see in it something bigger than the rescue of Israel, but the ANNOUNCEMENT of the coming Messiah.
(Historically) As we are reading God will reunite Israel and Judah and restore them but they are still in captivity. Judah still had 100 years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then 70 years of exile. So God is comforting them during those times, just as He comforts us in our challenging times. Chapter 40 referrers to the restoration after the exile. God will use Cyrus as an instrument to deliver them.
If you are like me….you SOAKED up every word in chapter 40…mine is colored, circled, highlighted, notes all along the sides and I bet if you write in your Bible…yours looks a lot like mine!! EVERY Word was so good!! God is telling them to compare the FALSE gods in their lives to HIM (and they have NO way of standing up to the ONE TRUE GOD.) And there is NO comparison. What others gods died that many could live? What other gods died and were resurrected from the dead? What other gods made prophesies and fulfilled ALL of them? What other gods even try to claim creation of the world? Bottom line…there is NO comparison!!! Their gods are NOTHING when compared to the ONE TRUE GOD…the giver of life…the comforter…the merciful….and I could go on and on but I am sure you get the point. THERE IS NONE LIKE HIM!!!
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ”A voice of one calling in the desert, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3
Whenever you need a reminder of ALL God is…….return back to Isaiah and read it again and again and again….read it in different versions…read it out loud….listen to it on audio because sometimes it is good to have a written reminder of who God is!!
Isaiah 40:8 AND 1Peter 1:24 ”All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, BUT the word of the Lord stands FOREVER.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”
CHAPTER 41 — This chapter is FILLED with many popular scriptures, many I have quoted for years. However as good as they are to have memorized…..it is awesome to understand where they fit in the Bible and in our History and why they were written. WHO were they written to comfort and encourage? — HIS people while they were in exile and in captivity!! Each of us I am sure has been in our own seasons of captivity and/or exile…..and as humans it often takes these times to draw us closer to HIM so we KNOW we can NOT do things on our own. The ONLY way to live a life of joy and peace is WITH GOD. That’s it…. HE is the ONLY way!! In this chapter, the man from the East is actually Cyrus (verse 2). God is going to use the king of a foreign nation, Persia, as a tool to release the Israelites from captivity, and He continues to comfort His people with a reminder that BEGAN all the back in Genesis with Abraham!!! God reminds HIS people (then and now) that HE has ALWAYS been with them and NEVER forsaken them the WHOLE time.
CHAPTER 42 — SUCH a powerful chapter. I pray you soaked in every Word of this chapter. THINK about this….Isaiah was saying ALL THIS 700…..SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE Jesus Christ was born!! Is that not AMAZING!!! And God gives Isaiah the Words to share with us in such GREAT DETAIL!! One of the cross references in chapter 42 is from Matthew 12:18-21…take a look (and prepare to be amazed!!):
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Did you happen to notice verse 6 of Isaiah 42? Take a look — “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people and a light for the GENTILES.” THIS tells us once again that the Gentiles (that’s you and me) were ALWAYS…FROM the BEGINNING…included in God’s plan. I am always blown away by this fact!! When I was young I used to wonder why God chose a certain people, and even when I accepted Jesus Christ I thought I still was “less than” the chosen people. HOWEVER….the BIG eye opener for me was that God had a chosen people as instruments to bring others TO HIM!! We were always part of the plan!! And when we choose Jesus we become part of HIS chosen people….which was HIS design all along!!
CHAPTER 43 — WHAT a personal read…. Some things I loved reading were:…. we have been redeemed….do not fear….you are precious and honored in my sight…..you are my people… I am with you always…..ummmm ummmmm good!!! Go back and read it again and circle what pops out to you. God is speaking to each of us individually ….. personally…. because HE loves us and HE KNOWs what we need. I double dog dare ya to read it again and see what pops off the page for you <<<<smile>>>>>
As always I would love to hear what touched your heart today. I’d love to know what Words God allowed to pop off the page deep into your heart or if something new touched you in a special way.
Sharing HIS love,