There is good news in Isaiah!
After all the hard news, comes beautiful Isaiah 40,
leading the way into much good news.
Many of you are facing severe trials — even death.
Some of you have the severe pain of division in your family.
All of us have had times of feeling defeated by sin or by Satan.
The words of comfort Isaiah spoke
were not just for Judah,
but for us, His children, as well.
This life, so often, is a battle.
So often we fail and become discouraged.
But one day our “warfare will be accomplished,”
and there will be no more sin nor sorrow nor death.
Let us soak in the tender words of God this week.
As Albert Motyer says:
At this darkest of moments,
the call goes out to speak the word of comfort, (vs. 1)
to proclaim hardship finished and sins forgiven (v. 2)
to announce that Yahweh himself is on his way with worldwide significance (vv. 3-5),
that his word and promises can never fail (vv.6-8)
and that Zion’s people are the flock he has worked for
and now holds in his tender care. (vv. 9-11)
In this beautiful chapter we cannot help but hear strains of the Messiah.
Here is Albert Motyer commenting on Handel’s Messiah.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday: Speak Tenderly
Listen to this rendition of Handel’s “Comfort Ye, My People” and note how the music fits the words.
2. Comment on the above — anything that stood out to you and why.
3. Read Isaiah 40:1-2
A. “Speak tenderly” is the same phrase that Ruth uses in Ruth 2:13. What do you learn from this (look at the context too.)
B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?
Motyer says it means “to speak to the heart.” I love this picture of Edrena, one of the volunteers with Discipleship Unlimited, when she is speaking to Pam and washing her hands as a sign of forgiveness. I think it captures “speak to the heart.”
C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you.
D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2?
E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you?
Tuesday: A Voice Cries in The Wilderness: Prepare the Way of The Lord
Last week we saw repentance in Psalm 137 from the captives in Babylon. Their release is a picture of what can follow repentance. The idol I’ve been concentrating on this Lent is worry. Almost without fail I have tech troubles at retreats and those hours up to when I speak are full angst about if things will work. It happened again this weekend — but I was able to remember how this is such a pattern and how God does always come through one way or another. And I talked to my soul, and yes, in the last half hour, He came through. My worry is a sin of not trusting Him and I see a little progress! I’m hoping to hear other progress reports!
4. Read Isaiah 40:3-5
A. Isaiah may be seeing three mountain peaks here — the captives home from Babylon, John the Baptist announcing that the Messiah has come, and perhaps, the second coming of Christ as well. How can you see two or three mountain peaks here?
B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord?
C. Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent.
D. Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5?
What thoughts do you have about this day?
Wednesday: Behold Your God
5.How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8?
6. Read Isaiah 40:9-20
A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9?
B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?
C. What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you?
D. Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20. How do your idols fail you?
7. Read Colossians 3:1-4. How does this relate to what Isaiah is preaching?
8. Share your notes and comments.
9. What is your take-a-way and why?
6.B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?
Verse 11 is a little surprising, coming after verse 10. Verse 10 gives a sweeping picture of “the Sovereign Lord coming with power, and His arm rules for Him”, and He is bringing His reward. Then, the picture totally changes in verse 11, which describes the Lord tending His flock like a shepherd. I picture a shepherd as lowly (they had no social status) and unassuming. We saw that in The Songs – a Shepherd King. This means to me that despite His magnificent sovereignty and power, God is approachable. He is holy and just, and He is tender. I would like to be one of those lambs that He picks up and carries close to His heart.
Susan, Wonderful post. I can’t pick out one line because it is all lovely, but I love how you thought of The Song! The lowly Shepherd, yet also King, Despite His magnificent sovereignty and power He is approachable. He is Holy and Just, yet He is tender. You reminded me of Aslan. :))
Love this too, Susan! The Shepherd King, indeed!
D. Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20. How do your idols fail you?
These verses describe a literal idol being fashioned and care being taken that it is sturdy so as not to topple. The bottom line: idols are not REAL. They have no power to do anything, but we ascribe power to them. Nobody made God and He doesn’t need to be “propped up”. I can make an idol out of people, expecting them to meet my needs, but they will topple under the weight of my needs and expectations.
Dee has an event today in Washington. 🙂 Lord Jesus we are so grateful for this place you have given us to experience you, and we are so thankful for Dee’s passion for you and how you have set her heart on fire-Oh how you are igniting fires and fanning flames here through her! So we ask that you would do the same to the women’s hearts at this event. We ask you would hold satan back and that tech would go smoothly. We ask that you would hold back any distractions that turn thoughts away from you and that Dee and the participants there would sense your presence. In your mighty and lovely name. Amen.
Amen. Dear Lord please help Dee get through any technical troubles with ease during her event this weekend. I pray in Your Holy Name. Amen.
Amen to all that Rebecca! Yes Lord, please pour out Your anointing & may Your Word accomplish all You send it forth to do! Give Dee Your Peace 🙂
4. How sure is the Word? The Word of our God will stand forever!
Is 40:9-20 A. We are to lift up our voices with strength, not be afraid (so hard!), & tell of our Lord. To say “Behold Your God!”
B. vs 11: What I behold about my God & what it means to me is so much….His comfort, rest & peace; security in Him. I love His tenderness & willingness to stoop down to my level & hear me, comfort & free me. That He holds me in His arms close to His heart…what a beautiful picture…such peace & contentment.
C. God has created the world with order & boundaries; He holds the world in His hands, & He holds me & all that concerns me.
D. Idols cannot comfort me or fulfill me.
6. Coloss 3:1-4 My life is hidden with Christ in God. I am to set my mind & heart on Him & seek the treasures of heaven, not earthly things that are passing away.
Notes on sermon. I heard most of it but ran out of time at the end :/
Isaiah is speaking about the day of Salvation. God the Creator is coming to be the Savior, Redeemer. Isaiah had a ministry of encouragement…”Behold your God!”…the God who saves us!
God is a God of Uniqueness; the God of all Creation
He is a God Independent of His creation; the original thinker. He stoops down to use us earthen vessels because He want s to pour out His grace & Love on His creation.
He alone has Supremacy above creation; no thing can be compared to Him…He is not like us. Jesus is the only image of the invisible God, that’s why images & idols are forbidden.
4. Thoughts on the mountain peaks: I can see the return of the captives from Babylon,
and John the Baptist, the one crying in the wilderness, and I would expect the 3rd would be the return of our Lord on one glorious day!
B. John the Baptist was calling for people to repent; prepare the way of the Lord.
C. Progress on my idol. I am growing little by little in trust, and letting go of my worries. Though I have experienced some great testing- this week. Praising God I am coming through but not without tears and prayer.
D.Who will one day see the glory of the Lord? All flesh will see it together! What thoughts do you have. I look forward to it with excitement. Thinking of the song, I Can Only Imagine– what my eyes will see when Your face is before me. Surrounded by your glory what will my heart feel?
5. How sure is the word? The Word of the Lord rises up forever. Always true!
6.What is the news? The Sovereign Yahweh will come.
What are we to do? We are to behold, and we are not to fear.
B. We are to behold our God. He is a shepherd to his flock and he gathers his lambs. He is my Protector. This is so amazing that he cares for us so tenderly. I am so undeserving of his tenderness.
C. What does verse 12 mean to me? Sovereign God is our creator, designer of all of creation, so marvelous and unimaginable in all its design.
How do your idols fail you? They are all powerless, false in every respect. Control, man’s approval, comfort,etc. are all useless ideas, and only keep me from spiritual growth and trust.
7. Colossians 3: 1-4 I love this passage: Set your mind on things above! So fulfilling, as is the promise that When Christ who is our life shall appear, then we shall also appear with him in glory!