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Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People

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.

 

Sunday:

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?

Thursday-Friday Sermon

      http://tapesfromscotland.org/Audio7/7151.mp3

8. Share your notes and comments. 

Saturday:

    9. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

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97 comments

  1. Ahhhh….Handel’s Messiah; just lovely. I like the version with the strings that you shared with us awhile ago. I think it makes the music “ pop” with the words better:

     

    https://youtu.be/8dDjva1ecYo

     

    Oh how I could use that comfort about right now. The mental gyrations I am going through are exhausting. I chose to work on self pity this Lenten season. I haven’t done that well though. It is so untimely when I feel it rise up and then trying to remember to put on a piece of worship music or read is hard to do or isn’t even possible at the time. But, I have a couple of weeks left so that will be good. I will keep trying.

    1. Laura, Thanks for sharing this version — it came alive for me.  I was able to capture best how the words & music went together by shutting my eyes.  I got distracted by the spelling of Jerusalem on the first one and the time period of the clothes/hair of the orchestra on the second one!  I LOVED how the singer’s facial expressions captured the emotion of the song — when I wasn’t wondering when it was recorded (or what religion might have required a certain hair style or…).

      (I’m not always THIS distractible — may have an allergic reaction Friday night and have to be doing something physically active to not be as distracted by itching…and then everything else)

      1. So funny Renee! I also got distracted by the spelling of Jerusalem! I remember getting distracted by the clothing when we originally watched this video too. How funny of us!

        1. Hahaha, Glad I’m not alone, Laura  😀 😀 😀

  2. 1. What stood out.

    When Albert Motyer pointed out that the music was written to fit the meaning in the passage and he wondered if Handels new Hebrew: “God didn’t back away from us for we all were unfit to be in His presence, rather He came to us. And the LORD…The LORD. Laid onto Himself the iniquity of us all.” 

    I think about what Dee said last week. Do we realize just how horrible and destructive sin is? And yet He came to us, AND He came to comfort us. Blows me away when I think of that! How deceitful and evil my heart is and yet He covers it with His blood-nothing I have done or earned.

    Minute my minute my flesh burns inside to obey it and the Holy Spirit inside flags me-wow, His Love, His comfort, His provision..I hate it when I obey my flesh even though it seems justified. When I remember what He did denying Himself for me-bends me to obedience and really that is what love looks like..setting myself aside for others which means forgiving at a cost, serving at a cost. It means remembering that I too am the chief of all sinners and nailed Him to that cross yet His blood covers me and His spirit empowers me to follow through. I don’t deserve Him, yet He gave Himself to me. How could I ever hold another’s sin against me, or their sin against a friend against them, but I have and I can so easily do that and so I need Him daily to help me turn from myself and how He does that is by posts like this morning-and this question, remembering the Gospel. 🙂

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    This:  But one day our “warfare will be accomplished,” and there will be no more sin nor sorrow nor death.  Why?  Sigh of relief.  Last week was kinda hard.  Nothing that bad happening, just inside struggle, physically, spiritually…and I’m a little tired.

    And the Motyer video: I appreciated his comments on how the words match the music.  He was wondering if Handel knew Hebrew because of the emphasis on “THE LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all.”   The Lord comes to us.  This motivates me to listen to the Messiah for that correspondence as soon as I post.  (Also, really missing Deanna here right now.  She would have captured his comments so well).

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    That these words of comfort, from my God, are meant for me, too. The clip of Motyer. I love his words—that in all our sin and need, God doesn’t turn away, He comes to us, with remedial action. God took all that makes us unfit for His presence and laid them on the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I have loved Jesus for 41 years (from my earliest memory at 5), and yet the way Motyer spoke gave profoundly new weight for me of Jesus as the “Lamb of God”. Sometimes when I am pleading with God to take away something painful in my life, I can still hear the enemy whisper that I don’t have the right to ask anything of Him. And in my own merit, no, I don’t. But because of the Lamb, I truly am made “fit for the King”. Amazing love how can  it be, that Thou my God shouldst die for me. 

    I also liked how he said Handel matched the music to the meaning of the words—I had never considered that.

     

  5. Well, it is with joy that I see these words , Comfort ye, comfort ye…

    The emphasis last week on the punishment and the depth of the agony was hard to bear, and as I face my own sin and consequences, it was hard to keep focused.

    It has been good to concentrate on sin and the holiness of God. Yet the mercy of God and his plan to send the Messiah is a refreshing change. The music of the Messiah is awesome and Handel gave us such a gift in putting these words to music in this perfect way. Alec Motyer is a gentleman and has blessed us with his teaching. Looking forward to this week’s study.

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    Comfort! To know that there is an end to and reward for all of our struggles, such hope.

  7. 1.  What stood out? Somehow I had never noticed the words in Is 40:2 before that say ,her warfare is ended’. Someone I’ve shared deeply with over the years asked me once why I am always struggling with this or that thing. I shrugged and said evidently that is the way God made me. But today, when I read these verses, it tells me that a day is coming when my struggling and warfare will be done and over with. And that is comfort!

     

    2.  I’m a little dense. I thought composers always fit music and words together. I hadn’t realized that this was special.

  8. Sunday:
    1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “At this darkest of moments, the call goes out to speak the word of comfort…”
    I need to read these words as my moments can quickly turn dark in my thought life. The comfort of hearing God’s Word wakes me up from my slumber of self-preservation to an awareness of who my God is.
    The One who loves me, woos me (unfit, sinful) back to Himself speaking of the everlasting love He has for me and holding me in the palm of His hands.
    Motyer just brings me to tears with his words and the reference to Handel’s Messiah reminded me of singing in the choir in the Philippines many years ago. “And the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
    The words match the music and the music matches with what the words mean. “Adagio” means leisurely manner, slow and in a dance, a sequence of well-controlled, graceful movements performed as a display of skill.
     Another phrase in a song “Oh the sweet love of Jesus, Vast unmeasured, boundless, FREE
    …sweeping us into the current of His love”.
    And the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

  9. Hello again dear sisters…I’m back from Aussie! I will enjoy getting back into Bible study again with you all. I had a wonderfully blessed time with my family in Aus & miss them terribly. Over jetlag & back to work now!

    What stood out to me was COMFORT, & the reminder that God comforts His people. Things have been rough at home since I got back & there is warfare going on. I would appreciate prayers for the Lord to break thro…thanks. I  pray that each one of us will receive His comfort as only He can impart. Love how He uses the body of Christ to minister to eachother.

    1. Welcome back Jenny! Yes, I do too!  🙂 Lord thank you that you fight for us, that you are with us and that you have already won. I ask that you would break through the warfare going on in Jenny’s life right now and help her to continue to trust and press into you. In your name, amen.

  10. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    1. What stands out to me is all of the “Good News”…I love good news!

    Comfort, hardships finished & sins forgiven(YES!!), Yahweh Himself is on the way with worldwide significance, His Words and promises NEVER fail, we’re the flock He has worked for & now holds in His tender care!!  And I just loved what Motyer said…”we’re all unfit for the presence of God, but He doesn’t turn away from us, but rather laid upon Him the iniquity of us all”!!

    What wonderful news to hold close in my times of need…He’s my comfort and He’s always faithful!

     

  11. 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.) 
     

    Ruth is telling Boaz how much she appreciates him helping her. She asks him why he speaks so tenderly to her and finds favor in her. Reminds me of Mary (“…find favor…”).

    “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/luk.1.30.esv

     

    In both cases the party is being taken care of by a “father figure.”

     
    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?

     

    Well, it is the same wording, but to me it isn’t a beautiful thing like the Isaiah and Mary verses. He humiliates her by sleeping with her first. I don’t see it the same way. It’s like he has this regret afterwards and decides to then marry her to make up for his transgression; thinking he can make it right.

     

  12. 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.)
    They were being disciplined for their sins-for their sin of idolatry and the sins that followed as a result. Yet I see how God bears down on them doubly with comfort as well. This to me is SO comforting for yes I need comfort in my suffering when it isn’t because of my sin, but what about when I have sinned? I think suffering from my sin is more common than suffering from just living in a fallen world, or suffering from persecution. So, to see that yes I will face consequences, but that He comforts as I turn and not only that, He brings healing! By His stripes I am healed. So He comforts us and also heals.

    1. I like this Rebecca “God bears down on them doubly with comfort as well.”

  13. B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?

    Maybe the passion-the drive to really want her is the same passion God has for us. Like Laura, it was hard for me to get past him forcing himself on her. I do see though his passionate, fiery, intense desire for her and I do see that in God toward us as He woos us to Him. For me part of that wooing-how He draws me to Him- is that He comforts me abundantly while I am crushed by the weight of my sin, the guilt, the shame like the israelites had in our last study-that painting showed. That He, who doesn’t have to do that-gladly and doubly gives himself to me over and over again healing me which compels me to turn and draws me more to Him. It still melts me and especially so when I have sinned against Him that He is that passionate for me-that crazy about me that He would discipline me to bring me to my senses, and comfort me and bring healing to my wretched heart.

  14. 2. Comment on the above — anything that stood out to you and why.

    It starts so gentle, “comfort ye”, and then gets louder, like when calling for someone, like He is calling to us to hear Him.

    On “Jerusalem” the music is lighter, airier, and tender, like it is a special treasure

    “Iniquity”, the music is low, bold, strong

    Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

    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.)

    Ruth is humble, and gratefully receives his compassion on her, recognizing her great need of it and her unworthiness.

    I looked at the blue letter Bile & Strong’s and the Hebrew word for “tenderly” is “leb”, meaning from the depths of the heart, the inner being of man.

    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?

    It is more than just saying nice things, the words come from the deepest part of the heart, with a depth and passion.

    C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you.

    Love seeing the photo of sweet Edrena. Two times sprung to mind so I will briefly share both. One, I remember I was going through a particularly hard trial and felt scared and very alone. I desperately needed reassurance that God saw me, cared for me. My morning devotion led to Matthew 10:31 “Therefore do not fear. You are more valuable than many sparrows.” My eyes got teary and I wrote it down in my journal. An hour or so later when I left the house, my driveway was filled with tiny little birds, “sparrows”. I’ve never seen that happen again, but it covered me. I even had a necklace made with Matthew 10:31” inscribed after that, it was such a direct, tender, word from Him.

    The other time was from a dear friend. For as long as I can remember, one of the lies the enemy loves to whisper to me is that I don’t really count. I was always in the background in my family, the “wall flower” and tried not to be noticed, but I struggled a lot with feeling less than and “forgettable” (doesn’t help that one of the favorite family stories is how I was once forgotten at home as a baby!) Anyway, this dear friend, sent me a hand made card with “forget me nots” and it said “Lizzy I forget-you-not…” It is in my box of very special treasures. God gave her the words my heart ached to hear, and because I knew it was from Him, it is a reminder to me of just how much He sees me, loves me, and will never forget me.

     

  15. C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you. 
     

    I can can think of two times when knew His presence. One was when my dad died when I was a child, and the other was when my husband had a heart attack a couple of years ago.

     
    D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2? 
     

    Her warfare has ended. She will be pardoned from her sin; she will be doubly pardoned.

     
    E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you?
     

    I think when we are in the midst of trials, we may possibly sin without knowing. God will pardon us because He knows we are weak and need Him more than anything. A good example is with my ongoing daughter troubles. Sometimes I mess up because I am frustrated and don’t have the right words. I have gotten better, but I do still put my foot in my big fat mouth at times. It’s SO easy to do with her 🤷‍♀️. I think God will forgive these times for me.

  16. 3.A.  Boaz speaks a blessing to Ruth and she responds that he has comforted her and spoken tenderly to her. The Living says ‘you are so good to me’. The Amplified says ‘you have comforted me and spoken to the heart’. These versions together give me a different picture than I used to have. Before, when I read Ruth, I saw that Boaz spoke a blessing to her, and in typical Eastern fashion, she thanked him with many words. Today I see a deep reservoir of communication between them, the opening of a door. And in view of Isaiah, these verses open a door where God says ‘I’ve seen you. I will redeem you.’

    B.  Genesis. Wow. What a contrasting context! I certainly would never connect this with the other two. The Living says Hamar ‘tried to win her affection ‘, and the Amplified says he spoke ‘to her young heart’s wishes’. Even so, I still have trouble wrapping my mind around this one. He may have been a smooth talker, but he raped her. If he had so much comfort in him, he would never have done that.

    C.  A time when I was spoken to tenderly. What comes to mind was a prayer session I was part of, reconciling my mother and oldest sister. The pastor/counselor turned to me and said, “God has heard your cry and will grant the request of your soul”. I’d been struggling with anger, and in that moment it left me. It had been like leprous skin to my spirit, and now I was cleansed and whole. It was remarkable, and the anger I had has never come back. That was over 25 years ago.

     

    Dee, there are two number three questions….

  17. 3. D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2?

    Forgiveness! It is finished—they have suffered enough and the sin has been paid for.

    E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you?

    Oh, it is something I need to continually remind myself. Love Keller on this (from Freedom of Self Forgetfulness) “All I can tell you is that we have to re-live the gospel every time we pray. We have to re-live it every time we go to church. We have to re-live the gospel on the spot and ask ourselves what we are doing in the courtroom. We should not be there. The court is adjourned.”

    It’s hard when we feel like the warfare DOES continue though, because our hard circumstances may not end. But the one battle that would kill me, HAS been paid for, it is over, and now my King fights for me and with me in every trial I face. He promises to never leave me and promises when I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, the waters will not overtake me. He is my Redeemer.

     

  18. 3. 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?

    All of it to me seems to be preparing for the second coming, so I’ll wait to glean from you all, but trying to see the 3 peaks…

    The captives coming home: “valley lifted up”

    John the Baptist announcing the Messiah: v.3 “prepare the way of the Lord…”

    The Second Coming: v.5 “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed…”

     B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord?

    “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

     D. Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5?   What thoughts do you have about this day?

    All will see His glory revealed. I can’t imagine it, really, but I know it will be awesome, and I don’t imagine being afraid. As overwhelming as it must be, I believe His children will have a supernatural peace that transcends our understanding.

    4. How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8?

    It does not wither or fade, it is unaffected by time, nothing can interfere with or hinder it—it stands forever. Permanent.

    5. Read Isaiah 40:9-20 A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9?

    We are to go up to a “high mountain” and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel—that the Lord is coming, and tell of His glory. And power.

    B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?

    He is my Shepherd. He owns me and I matter deeply to Him. He will always protect and provide for me. I am His.

    C. What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you?

    He is incomparable, mighty and far beyond all else–worthy of all my trust. He holds the world in His palm, I can trust He holds me. I just love Spurgeon on these verses so much I have to share this:

    “Who would not trust such a God as this — this only God? How well may we be content to turn away from the fading creatures to this eternal Lord and put our trust in him! Indeed, the wonder is that we do trust the creature, and the wonder still is that we do not trust the mighty Creator…. And yet, beloved, we sometimes act as if we were God’s teachers, as if we had to instruct him what he should do, and because we cannot see our way, we almost dream that he cannot, and because we are puzzled, we conceive that infinite wisdom must be at a nonplus; but it is not so. He was full of wisdom when there was no one with whom he could take counsel, and he is still wise in the highest degree. Faith, which seems so difficult, after all, is nothing better than sanctified common-sense. It is the most common-sense thing in all the world to trust in Omnipotence — in infinite, unchanging love — in infallible truth. To trust anywhere else needs a great deal of justification, but to trust in God needs no apology. He well deserves it. O my soul, trust thou in him.”

    D. Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20. How do your idols fail you?

    My idols do not love me, do not want the best for me. They coerce and manipulate me, try to make me think they will offer pleasure, a quick fix—but they twist me up and leave me more desperate than before.

    6.  Read Col. 3:1-4. How does this relate to what Isaiah is preaching?

    Set my mind on what is above—God’s glory and Christ’s return. The old is gone, dead, I am freed of my idols and no longer have to be a slave to them—I have what is Greater—I have Christ!

    This reminds me of a Desiring God article I read a few weeks ago, “Killing sin is essential to the Christian life, but it’s not the essence of the Christian life. When Christ calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him — and he does summon us to deny ourselves — he does so that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). What we put on is far greater than anything we put off or leave behind. … Put off whatever remains of the old you, but don’t stop just at killing sin. “We are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

     

  19. 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.)

    This is a big contrast to living on the shores of Babylon, when/where “speak tenderly” wouldn’t even have been on their radar.  Similarly, Ruth was a Moabite and not welcome.  I can barely imagine how refreshing, comforting, and encouraging those tender words would be.

    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?  Shechem raped and humiliated Dinah … and then loved her and spoke tenderly toward her????   Yuck — what am I missing?  Is this saying that “speaking tenderly” also can be very selfish? Rape and humiliation don’t seem particularly wooing??    <—-  QUESTION

    And the context also bothers me:  v. 1  Dinah “went out to see the women of the land.”  So, she went to the party? And that justified rape?  Because the guy was a prince?  This kinda wrecks the whole speaking tenderly/comfort thing.   So, back to A.  Maybe I changed my mind on the answer, or at least I’m confused.  If a rapist prince could speak tenderly, I suppose the Babylonians could speak tenderly, too.

    C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you.  Well, God’s tender speaking really soaked in when we studied SoS.  <3

    D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2?  peace and pardon — given/spoken with tenderness

    E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you?  One thing it means is that I should be careful whose tender voice I listen to (um, not that I am overly trusting of people in general). Even though slimy people may speak tenderly, their words aren’t very comforting — and they don’t bring peace and pardon.  It also means that Jesus brings forgiveness and an end to my warfare — and HE IS trustworthy.

    At the moment, one of the battles in my warfare is from the Genesis passage.  It spoils the whole idea of tender voices.  I don’t like feeling so clueless!!

     

     

  20. Sunday:
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – For me the way the breakdown from the verses that Alex did and especially that there is hope in knowing the Lord is coming with a worldwide significance. I truly believe the end times are near, with how family is against family and there is no respect or love toward others anymore. We live in a world that says ‘what about me, what’s in it for me’. It makes me sad, that there is so much anger and hatred in this world and that you can’t even have your own opinion. My hope is the comfort that come from God know Jesus is returning soon.
     

  21. 2. Comment on the above — anything that stood out to you and why. – I think the song is soothing in parts, the picture that first came to my mind was a field of wild flowers blowing in the breeze. The ending of the song with the words that went along with it, sounded like a triumphant march, letting us know that Jesus is coming.

  22. 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.) – I feel that there is a bit of anxiety maybe. That they have gone through some trials and are at the end of their ropes. I’m not sure I am explaining this, but they are tired and just need to know that God is there for them and want to feel his presence in their lives. That maybe they are a little afraid to approach the King.
     
    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment? – I can see where speaking tenderly to someone will get a lot more attention and yelling. If I was the one who was being spoken to and someone came at me harshly, I would probably look at them, thinking are you talking to me that way. I become more calm when someone speaks tenderly and my attitude will change because of that. I don’t become defensive.

    C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you. – For me the times when I have felt the Lord speaking tenderly to me was in my time of struggles. As hard as it was to lose my dad and my sister at different times of my life, I can say that God gave me a vision for both of them showing me that they would not be suffering any more. I didn’t want to lose either one of them, but I also was praying to God to not let them suffer, so He took them home with him but the visions I think helped to prepare me for the day that they left us.
     
    D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2? – That the hard times are over, the struggles are no more and he sees their faithfulness and their reward will be plenty.
     
    E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you? – That there is no need for me to worry, to fear or to try and figure out what happened. I just need to release all of it that I have been carrying around to God and he will give me comfort and rest.
     

  23. Oh my gosh, for some reason (?) I checked The Shack out from the library this past weekend. I had totally forgotten about that movie. No one told me I would CRY throughout the entire thing!! SO SAD, but fairly good as well. I haven’t had time to debrief other than being a bit taken back that God is a woman at first… love the idea of the three in One though; thought that was cool.

    1. Oh Laura – The Shack is a conversation starter for SURE!  🙂  I read the book at the recommendation of one of my co-laborers in jail ministry back when it was first published.  To be frank, I was appalled.  Since that time I’ve seen the value of great discussions about the nature of God that the book was a “launcher” (William Wilberforce’s term!) for.  I believe it was in 2016 that the author, Wm Paul Young released a non-fiction book entitled “Lies We Believe About God”.  Oh my.  In a sense I was THRILLED to read this book, for it made Mr. Young’s theological convictions crystal clear – though heartbreaking.  Here is as good article by Randy Alcorn on The Shack:  https://www.epm.org/blog/2017/Feb/20/shack-movie-book-discernment      Mr. Alcorn actually sat down with Mr. Young on two occasions to discuss in detail the book.  The whole tone of Randy Alcorn’s article seems tender.  There is a ten minute video clip by a pastor named Todd Wagner that is EXCELLENT that you can access from Alcorn’s article.  I hope you can find a few minutes to take a look!  It was very helpful to me.  🙂  Love you Laura!

      1. Jackie thanks so much for chiming in! I watched the video and see what you mean. I didn’t catch that in the movie though (about universalism). Do you think (no disrespect) that they are overthinking it though?

         

        I do agree about putting words in Gods mouth. That was bothersome to me after they mentioned it and I agree with the pastor.

         

        Regarding the Trinity, I find this concept difficult and I am a believer who has somewhat studied the Bible! I thought it helped me understand the 3 in One concept better for some reason. I liked that they “switched” God to a man when the lead character “needed a man for this job.” However it was unsettling the entire time that “Papa” was a woman (although I love that actress). At least they referred to her as Him and as being male. Weird though….I guess God is more motherly at times and fatherly at other times? Or Fatherly always with motherly tendencies? You are so right! A conversation starter to say the least!

         

        My favorite part was the scene where Mack talks to “Wisdom.” She is compelling with her argument about forgiveness. I cried the whole time! I can’t see too much wrong with that scene, but then again I wasn’t looking for things. I tend to be gullible too.

         

        I guess my thought is this; these pastors keep saying to go to the source (the Bible) to get the truth. I get that. But sometimes the Bible is so hard to understand for me where a movie like this makes things more clear (like the Trinity). I suppose if you understand that it’s just Hollywood and isn’t bound to the truth…? Anyway, I see your point of discernment. I will try to remember that in the future. Thanks for caring! I miss our bantering thoughts…. 😘😘😘

        1. Oh Laura – you are so humble in your response and when I was so blessed to meet you (and worship together !) a few years ago my biggest take away from that day was how GENTLE you are!  God has dealt severely (in mercy) with me over my pride so many times – and I can continue to learn so much from your heart’s openness to Him in everything.  🙂  I don’t think you are gullible!  We ALL need to pray for discernment each and every day don’t we?  You are so right that sometimes the Bible can be so hard to understand – just last night we finished a study of Daniel and even though I have studied Daniel before….last night as I walked out my head was spinning!  I commented to a friend that I felt like I could just go right back and do the entire study over again – really!  Those last five chapters….whoa!!  🙂  But it is SO GOOD to dig and dig and dig….and to mine those golden truths about our unfathomable God.  I think you are perhaps the most long time faithful student on this blog(ok I shouldn’t neglect Lizzy and Rebecca and Susan and others…)……….and this is a beautiful and safe place to wrestle with these truths under Dee’s godly leadership.  To God be the glory!!

        2. I just had another thought…each of the different translations of the Bible (ESV, NIV, MSG, KJV) have various authenticity, right? The Message seems to be more of the translators interpretation, and I have heard some say the NIV isn’t as “good” a translation as the ESV or KJV versions. So, perhaps the discernment of these can be related to the discernment of these Christian fiction movies?

    2. oops – sorry about the link below…..not working!  you can google this instead:”Randy Alcorn The Shack: Biblical Discernment is Key in Evaluating Any Book or Movie, Plus Concerns about Paul Young’s New Book Lies We Believe About God”.  Hope that helps!

  24. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

     

    All the opening words about comfort this morning….came on here just after some unkind, verbal words were said to me in anger and frustration. “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.” A concerning thing, for me, is that instead of hot anger, I am beginning to feel an attitude of indifference. Then, the words of Albert Motyer, “And the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” I can’t just point to the other person – see his sin, Lord! “US ALL” includes me.

    1. Dear Susan, I’m afraid I had a similar situation Sun night & desperately needed comfort from the Lord. I pray that He comforts u & leads u tenderly & clearly & restores your soul.

    2. Susan – “….instead of hot anger, I am beginning to feel an attitude of indifference…”  I lived your words there for years….refusing to name it as sin and repent.  How merciful of our Father to bring you, through His TIMELY Word here in Isaiah, to that place of agreement with God.  🙂  It blesses my heart so to read your words here.  Our marriage was a place of agony for years upon years.  Through the horrible purging fire of death, disease, addiction, loss and so much more in our children’s lives….He turned our lives upside down and inside out and set our feet upon a new path.  I have no explanation for this other than what I found in Job 42…..”I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted….I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” What has followed has been, in many ways, the sweetest season of our lives.   I don’t believe we can ever “know” another’s sorrow.  But I have seen that you have had a difficult road to walk in so many ways.  But how I love the way you keep looking for Him, even in the sorrows.  It seems to me that conviction and comfort often go hand in hand and I see that in your testimony here.  🙂  Lovely.

      1. Wow Jackie, you pulled out more from my short answer than I even thought of!! I know, because you’ve shared, that you know what you speak of, firsthand. I rejoice with you that He has “set our feet upon a new path”! You have lived out Job 42. Always good to see you here, too!

  25. Second 3.A.  Can I see the three peaks? It is easy to see John the Baptist, because those verses are quoted in the New Testament in connection with him. Other than context, I don’t see the captives return. The second coming of Christ is in verse5, the glory of the Lord revealed and all mankind seeing it together.

    B.  John the Baptist told the people to prepare for the Lord by repenting of their sin and showing it with baptism and changed behavior. It makes me think about in the OT, the people would be told to ‘consecrate’ themselves. That seemed to involve getting cleaned up, both physically and mentally.

    C.  Progress during Lent. Twice now I have prayed against the infant form of my appetite, and each time saw an evening of victory and peace. I am much encouraged!

    D.  Thoughts about the day when the glory of the Lord is revealed….  I used to think of it in terms of the clouds moving apart and Jesus descending in splendor and light, and angels and saints following Him. Everything rosy and gold and wonderful. Lately, I’ve been more convinced from the prophet proclaimations about the great AND terrible or dreadful day of the Lord. With the sky rolled away, the earth melted in heat, and everything laid bare. Maybe for those who know Jesus, we will experience it like the first scenario, while those who have rejected Him will experience it as the second.

  26. 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?

    Boaz had compassion for Ruth knowing her and Naomi’s situation but I really believe that was who he was! He was such a gentle-man and his actions revealed that!   I think of Colossians 4:6…”Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

    B.  It is also used in Genesis 34:3.  Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing is”. Comment?

    I struggled with this because AFTER Shechem raped Dinah he fell in love and tried to win her by “wooing her”?!!!  Really?  His actions didn’t match what he was saying!

    C.  Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and soothed you.

    When we lost our first child to SIDS, God in His sovereignty spoke to me.  I still (35 years later) treasure His soothing and healing words!  I came to learn He is in control – not me!

    D.  What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2?

    Her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.

    E.  These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare.  What does this mean to you?

    That He is faithful and I can put my hope and trust in Him!

     

     

     

     

     

    1. oh Sharon! I am so glad God spoke to you when you lost your baby. To know He was near means everything. I can’t imagine the pain; I’m sorry for your loss. I remember how God spoke to me when I was 13 standing by my dying dads bedside at the hospital. It was a comfort. Hugs (( ))

      1. Thank you so much Laura!  Losing a loved one is not easy and can not imagine your pain of losing your Dad so young.  So thankful for a God who cares and loves us!!

  27. 2. The rendition of the Messiah is lovely! Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem is so sweetly sung. Yes, the iniquity of us all is laid on him. Such love is given through these words. “Oh, how  great the Father’s love to us.”

    A. Boaz showed such graciousness to Ruth, a Moabite woman, as she gleaned in his field. She was drawn to him and he to her because he had given her comfort.

    B. like an ardent lover, speaking tenderly to Dinah, yet he violated her…

    C. When God spoke tenderly to me- At a time I was struggling a lot I took comfort in Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, He will shelter you with his wings, His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

    D. Promises to Judah:  Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low, rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

    E. The promises to us: Our struggles will eventually come to an end as God supplies our need; as he comes alongside to give comfort and hope of a glorious future.

    Progress in overcoming my idols of worry(control) and of approval- I am becoming aware of each time they start to appear…and I see God’s faithfulness as his word teaches me. I know that God is good all the time. Psalm 37: 4,5 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Commit everything you do to the Lord, Trust him and he will help you.
    He is my all in all!

    My worry often appears regarding family issues. I am seeing that there is nothing I can do to change anyone and I only need to glorify God in my relationships. I heard a great sermon and listened twice!

  28. B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord?
    They needed to make way for the Lord; the Amplified version adds (remove the obstacles). That really struck me today. Removing obstacles – removing idols. Anything that gets in the way of my connecting to God with my whole heart is an obstacle. God showed me that I was spending too much time playing games on Facebook.

    C. Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent. 
    I have never celebrated Lent or even thought about what it means until I started this study. Since idols cannot be removed only replaced; God asked me (through a question my 23 year old son asked me) “What are you going to do instead?” I didn’t know what to say when out of my mouth came the words, “I will take the time I used to spend on games to focus on Him, on His word, and prayer.” Son’s response “Cool.”  The first two weeks were hard. It was so automatic to check email or Facebook and then drift away in computer games. Now I don’t feel the pull to veg out on those games. The time spent with the Lord has been amazing? – really there are no words to express all that He has and is speaking to me about. There is a closeness in our relationship I didn’t think was possible. A big bonus: I have time to really think through these studies and not just read them or save them for a later time that never seems to come.

    Isaiah 40:4 jumped out at me as well. I realize that every valley or low place where I am getting stuck will be raised up and those mountains: the things that seem impossible will be brought low. Those idols that drag us down and keep us from a life of freedom and the idols that seem way too big to conquer will ALL be done away with by the One we have made a way for in our hearts!

    1. I am on vacation this week, but had a few minutes to read along…

      I love this from you, Tanya P.

      They needed to make way for the Lord; the Amplified version adds (remove the obstacles). That really struck me today. Removing obstacles – removing idols. Anything that gets in the way of my connecting to God with my whole heart is an obstacle.

      I have read those passages about “making straight a highway for our God” many times but had never thought about removing idols. I was reading a devotional this morning Truth for Life Daily Devotional for March 14. It had a picture of rock debris that had fallen on to a mountain roadway at a bend. We have to be so watchful of the rocks (idols) that come on us suddenly and be careful to remove them with God’s help.  See link: https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/3/14/0/

       

    2. Your answer to “C” is awesome!!

  29. I love & appreciate this from Shirley Meadow:

    “My worry often appears regarding family issues. I am seeing that there is nothing I can do to change anyone and I only need to glorify God in my relationships”…… And I need to trust Him to work in His good time.

    Also this from Tanya P. “I realize that every valley or low place where I am getting stuck will be raised up and those mountains: the things that seem impossible will be brought low”. Thank you!!

    3A. When we belong to the Lord & are about His business, He comforts us & speaks tenderly to us.

    B. The rape then the wooing didn’t sit well with me 🙁

    I Loved the picture of Edrena speaking to the heart of Pam! How beautiful, tender & sincere. How healing it must’ve been for dear Pam.

    C. A time I was comforted…so many…yesterday my dear friend & sister in the Lord, came over to speak Truth to my soul & pray for me after a devastating verbal attack by someone close to me. It was so healing & restorative; the Lord was truly there & is at work.

    D. Promise made that warfare is ended (I can’t wait!!) , our sins are forgiven, Praise God.

    E. It comforts me to know that the Lord is fighting for me & will never leave me alone. He is my Defender & Protector & He has already won the battle. I need to rest in Him & trust Him & pray to walk in victory.

  30. I started late on this study so haven’t been working on an idol in particular. I s’pose one of mine would be worry over my daughter’s finding a job & getting settled. I need to release all my cares to the Lord & trust the outcomes with Him. I will try not to interfere & to run to the Lord in prayer every time I feel drawn to step in.

    3 A, I’m not sure about the mountain peaks, but I like the ones you pointed out Dee, especially the Return of Christ.

    B. John the Baptist told the people to repent & believe & be baptized.

    D. ALL FLESH will see the Glory of the Lord! That means everyone, including all those who have rejected Him & ridiculed believers for believing a “Fairy Tale” or for being “brainwashed”!All will see that He is real & all He said He was. I think that Day will be beyond amazing. We will see the desire of our hearts & be swept up in love & adoration & JOY to finally see Jesus coming in power & taking His rightful place!! Come Lord Jesus come. The only reason I want Him to wait is for my family & millions of others to come to faith in Him  🙂

  31. Love this Surgeon quote from Lizzy:     “ Faith, which seems so difficult, after all, is nothing better than sanctified common-sense. It is the most common-sense thing in all the world to trust in Omnipotence — in infinite, unchanging love — in infallible truth. To trust anywhere else needs a great deal of justification, but to trust in God needs no apology. He well deserves it. O my soul, trust thou in him.”

    This was a balm to my soul 🙂

  32. 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.)
    13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
    God speaks to Jerusalem
    Boaz speaks kindly to Ruth
    God’s love is reflected in human love like Boaz.
    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us.” Comment?
    He loved Dinah and spoke tenderly to her. I do not like the story of Shechem defiling Dinah.
     

    C. Share a time when God or one of His own spoke tenderly to your heart and it soothed you.
    A text from a very good friend of mine when I was struggling through a difficult time at school. It lifted my spirit and reminded me of who God is. She also told me that nothing is wasted because God is in control and His thoughts as higher than ours.
    D. What promises does God make to Judah in verse 2?
    Her hard service will be completed and her sins paid for.
    E. These promises are for us as well, whatever our warfare. What does this mean to you?
    The promise of relief in the here and now and the thereafter.

  33.   3. 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?

     

    I definitely see John the Baptist and the second coming of Christ. I am not sure what “other” mountain or valley I am supposed to see here. I don’t think I even see the captives coming from Babylonia. I do see that mountains will be lowered and valleys raised so that all are on the same plain. Could that mean, of those who believe, we will be all be put on the same “playing field” of sorts before judgment? Maybe the highway in the desert leads to Jerusalem?

     

    The verse about the mountains and valleys reminds me of topography in geology. Maps are called contour maps and each contour has the same elevation at that height. Maps are scaled to 25’, 50’, or 100’ depending on the resolution you want to view. If the mountains and valleys are all “corrected” to zero then there is no elevation at all; a straight flat area. Here is what a topographic map looks like if you are interested:

    https://goo.gl/images/n9unRP

    https://goo.gl/images/6jxFFX
     

     

        B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord? 

    He wandered about in the wilderness and shouted out this statement.

     

    “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'””

    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/mat.3.1-3.esv

     
        C. Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent.

    Hmmmm….well, I have found myself thinking of God prior to running to my husband or a friend on at least one occasion when I was down and needed an answer.

     
             D. Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5? 
     

    “…all flesh…”

     
                 What thoughts do you have about this day?
     

    I guess this scripture makes me think that God may arrive at any time and I should be prepared. This idea really hit me several years ago when I woke up and realized that I needed to know more about the Bible and God in general. I would say it happened about 10 years ago. I have strived to learn more over that time, but still feel like a baby when it comes to truly understanding the entire picture. Sometimes I find the Bible a very difficult read that makes me want to put it down. I think taking it in small bits works best for me but then putting it all together is hard. I forget things easily.

  34. 4. How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8? 
     

    The Word stands forever.

     
    5. Read Isaiah 40:9-20
    A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9? 
     

    Shout the name of the Lord from a high mountain.

     
    B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?
     

    Is it really verse 10? I think we behold His protectiveness over us.

     

    What this means to me is that He will come for me and fight off any evil that tries to overpower me.

     

  35. 3.(Tuesday) Read Isaiah 40:3-5

    A.  Isaiah may be seeing 3 mountain peeks here-the captives home from Babylon, John the Baptist announcing that the Messiah has come, and perhaps, the 2nd coming of Christ as well.  How can you see 2 or 3 mountain peaks  here?

    I definitely see John the Baptist in it saying “clear the way through the wilderness…”.  And the 2nd coming in verse 5, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and ALL FLESH shall see it together”.  Maybe the captives/remnant by removing obstacles from the coming Messiah’s path through repentance from their sins?

    B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord?

    Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord.

    C.  Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent.

    I’ve been replacing Facebook time with reading and studying the Word and prayer.  I’m not going to say it’s been easy as I do miss connecting with people but I’m seeing how important it is to put God First.  I found this quote from Calvin…”The evil in our desire typically doesn’t lie in what we want, but that we want it too much.”

    D.  Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5?

    All people will see it together.

  36. C. What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you?

     

    Gods handiwork is amazing! I use measurement in school every day and try to teach my students to be oh so careful in their experimenting. Just a little off and they will undervalue or overvalue a measurement. This leads me to think how God made everything good (in Genesis). One tiny difference in our orbit about the Sun might fry or freeze us. He is a perfect God!

     
    D. Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20. How do your idols fail you? 
     

    My idols can’t hold a candle to my God. My idols are fleeting and trivial. I think they will make me feel good, and they do for a little while. However they are not helpful or caring in times of trial, they can’t forgive my sins, they can’t save me.

     
        6.  Read Colossians 3:1-4. How does this relate to what Isaiah is preaching?
     

    We are to put away earthly cares and focus on heavenly things; on Christ. He is the stable One in our lives. He will always be with us and help us through our trials. He is not fleeting. He loves us. Isaiah is telling us that we have the master as our true love and we should not care about earthly idols.

  37. 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)

     

    In Isaiah 40:2, God tells Isaiah to “speak tenderly to Jerusalem”. The context here is that good news is coming….God’s people have endured His judgment and discipline for their idolatry, and God wants them to know that “her hard service has been completed and her sin has been paid for.” I read one commentary that “speak tenderly” in this passage is saying, literally, “speak to the heart of.” To speak to the heart of another is to soothe, persuade, or comfort. God’s people were in desperate need of comfort; they needed to know that God still loved and cared for them. To speak to the heart, I would think, means to speak to the emotions; God’s hurting people didn’t need factual information, they needed soothing. The context in Ruth 2 is that Ruth most likely believes she is a “nobody” as far as Boaz is concerned, as she says in verse 10, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner?” Boaz replies that he’s heard about how she has cared for Naomi and had left her homeland. Ruth replies, “You have spoken kindly to your servant.” Boaz’s words touched her heart; his words gave her significance, worth.

     

    B. It is also used in Genesis 34:3. Motyer says it is “like an ardent lover wooing us”. Comment?

     

    This is the story of Shechem, being attracted to Dinah, raped her and then afterwards, “he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her”. Literally, “spoke to the heart of the girl….such things as tended to comfort her, she being sad and sorrowful, or to soften her mind towards him because of the injury he had done her.” So, I am confused: did Motyer comment on THIS passage in Genesis, saying it is “like an ardent lover wooing us?” If Motyer is making a comparison between this passage and Isaiah 40, then it would seem that God is also speaking tenderly to Israel after inflicting harm and injury upon her, punishing her for her idolatry. I understand it is the same Hebrew word used, but the contexts are confusing me as to how to apply this. I could not compare the Lord with Shechem? Shechem, instead of “ardent”, I would use the word “lustful”….maybe I can give him credit for not throwing Dinah away like a used rag, and wanting instead to do the right thing now and marry her, but….

     

    I’ve read others’ answers to this one, and this question is confusing me a bit.

     

     

  38. 3. 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?
    Having a challenge seeing the mountain peaks here. I am thinking mountains more as great difficulties in our lives that the Lord will “level” for us.
     
    B.  How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord?
    By repenting for the kingdom of Heaven is near.
     
    C.  Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent.
    3/14/18 The Lord surely knows His timing. I have been seeing more clearly that one of my idols is approval. Really been convicted about my motivation in doing things, trying to be “perfect” although I know no one is perfect except Jesus.
    Today, one of my students got upset with me because of a last minute change on her assignment and she made a scene in front of the staff at the nursing home. I was taken aback by her anger and accusatory tone. I was shaking and realized I need to take control because some of my students need to be in their assigned areas. After I did that I called her into a vacant office and talked with her. I let her rant and cry and while she did that, I was praying for God to give me the wisdom to handle the situation. To make a long story short, I tried to gently clarified her point of view with her, apologize for the part I played in the confusion and we both went back to finish the clinical time. She was conciliatory in her responses to me afterwards. And the big thing was I felt like my idol was stumped as through the conversation, I did not allow approval to color my firm decision about how things should be handled in the clinical area. I also will not allow this situation to rock my calling to be a teacher. She did say some hurtful words but I realized when somebody is hurting, they say words they later wish they shouldn’t have. I know I need Jesus compassion to shine through me.
     
    D.  Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5?
    All,us, me!
                 What thoughts do you have about this day?
    It will be an awesome day because it is a long awaited day-no more war, injustice, sin and death.

    1. Bing, reading your answer to “C”….you did a great job handling the situation. I guess I am a bit shocked, though; I remember being a nursing student, and not always agreeing with my clinical instructor’s way of doing things, and even being uncomfortable in some assignments, but I would never have thought of “making a scene” in the clinical area or verbally expressing anger at my instructor. I had one or two instructors that just plain weren’t nice, but I did what I was told to do and acted respectfully to them. I guess I am taken aback as well, but it is more about why a student would do what she did. I hear teachers complain a lot about not having control in their classrooms  in elementary, junior, and high school….I guess these kids are growing up and behaving the same in higher education? I find this disturbing. If anything, she could have asked to speak to you privately and asked you to explain why her assignment was being changed, but with respect for you as her instructor.

      1. I agree Bing, you handled it well. You have also made me realize that I may have an approval idol within the scope of teaching also. It’s not a constant thing, but sometimes does come out.  Students can be disrespectful more these days; I believe it’s a case of the adults not standing up and being adults. It is sad.

  39. 4. How sure is the word, promises of God according to Isaiah 40:8?

    The Word of God stands forever!

    5.  Read Isaiah 40:9-20

    A.  What is the news and what are we to do according to verse 9? God is coming.  Shout it from the mountain tops! Shout it louder…Shout, and do not be afraid.

    B.  What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?  He is my Shepherd.  Feeding His flock, gathering lambs, and gently leads the mother sheep with their young.  Psalms 23 comes to mind…He’s ALL I need.  He’ll take care of my needs and how much He loves me!

        C.  What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you?  His greatness!  There’s no god like Him…He holds the oceans in His hands, measures off the heavens with His fingers, knows the weight of the earth and has weighted the mountains and hills on a scale!!  Wow!!

     

  40. 4. How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8?
    It is forever sure. God said it and I believe it and that settles it for me.
    5. Read Isaiah 40:9-20
    A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9?
    We are to lift up our voices and point people to God.
    B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?
    He is my Shepherd. From the flock, to the lambs to the mothers. Lambs are vulnerable and an image of me as a lamb in the safety of my Shepherd’s arms, close to His heart is a very tender one-comforting, reassuring, caring, protecting.
    C. What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you?
     
    His omnipotence. The questions in v.12 is rhetorical-it is obvious that no one is like God. All the answers here speaks of the God of the impossible. It translates to all that I experience-if my God is the only One who can hold the ocean in His hands, can He not take care of my own needs and concerns? If He is the only one whose breadth of hands can mark off the heavens, is there anything too hard for Him? No!
     

  41. 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? – When I read these verses from the Message, I can see that everyone is excited that God is coming. I also see that the trials will be gone and the rough roads that may have been travelled will be made smooth.

     
         B. How did John the Baptist tell people to prepare for the Lord? – To make the road straight, fill in the valleys, smooth out the ruts and clear out the rocks.
     
        C. Share any progress you see with your idol this Lent. – There has been  no change as far as our son reaching out to us goes, but I have let the issue go and given it to God. I feel a peace about it and continue to pray for them for things to be right again and for eyes to be open. I have to say though I’m not sure how I will react if that time does come. I just don’t like being treated this way and then just forget about what was said. I know I need to and the judgement will come from the Lord, but this part is still hard for me and I pray for me as well.
     
              D. Who will one day see the glory of the Lord according to verse 5? – Everyone will see the glory of God. But I’m a little confused by this, so does this mean that when that time comes everyone will have been saved or that everyone will see the glory but only those that have a relationship with Jesus will reap the benefits of His glory?
     
                 What thoughts do you have about this day? – I can’t wait! To have no more pain or sorrow, no more anger to deal with will be so wonderful. Everyone will be pleasant and all will get along, like the lion and the lamb.
     

  42. Alex Motyer at his best again! I took notes and saw God in His true essence and my puny doctrine of Him. How small do I make God at times. I encourage everybody to listen. Isaiah 40 is very rich. I will try to share notes later.

  43. D.  Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20.  How do your idols fail you?  There is no comparison…my idols can’t resemble Him!  My idol may look/feel good but it’s only temporary.  My idol can’t take care of me like the great Shepherd or love me like He does.  My idol is nothing compared to His greatness or power!  This sure puts my idols into perspective – they will always fail me!

    7.  Read Colossians 3:1-4.  How does this relate to what Isaiah is preaching?  Since I’ve been raised to a new life with Christ my sight should be on the realities of heaven.  Heavenly thinking – dying to self.  Idols are all about self-reliance taking my focus inward rather than upward.

  44. 5.How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8?
    His Word endures forever. It won’t fade, die, or wither and isn’t dependent on the changing seasons or man’s shifting opinions.
    6. Read Isaiah 40:9-20
    A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9?
    That our redeemer has come, and because we are in relationship with Him and have experienced His Love, His care- out of the overflow and joy of our hearts we will tell others.
    B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you?
    This is Him-so beautiful! His Love and care for me; of Him holding me close, shepherding me-picking me up when I stray, comforting me close against His chest.

  45. I had to cut quite a bit from my notes but it still came out long. I hope these notes are not too fractured. I may not have done justice to Motyer’s sermon here. It is a wonderful listen and very filled with the awesomeness of our God.
    I God is marching to the desert to save His people.
    A.    Behold your God
                 See the sovereign Lord come with power
                Through His creative power
                 God the Redeemer starting from the God the Creator
                 Saving power of the Creator
    B.     The ministry of encouragement
                 Nature
                 Glories in the Godhead
     
    II What we need more than anything is beholding our God
    1.      Uniqueness within creation v. 12 He is above the creation
     
    2.      Independence of God of His creation v. 13
               Where did he get all this? What university? You cannot ask this of God. He depends on nobody. He is the original untaught mind of the universe. He is the only independent intellectual.
    God does not need you but He loves you and pour outs His grace through Christ Jesus
    Distortion:
    a.       God is helpless without human instrumentality
    b.      We make God dependent on us
     
    3.      the pre-eminence and supremacy of God above creation 15-18
     
    Sovereign Lord, thy majesty leaves us speechless
    We can never fathom your greatness
    Be thou exalted above all. John Calvin
     
    We don’t want to replace God with an idol  v.18
    There is no image that can be representative of God;
    Jesus Christ is the Only image that can represent God v.19
    It is blasphemy when we make an idol of him.
     
    4.      He is sovereign over creation v. 22
    The Lord sits enthroned above the earth. He encircles the universe.
    We need to eplace our man centered thinking with God centered thinking.
    We look to powerful nations and seek alliances with them and find disaster.
    Blessed is the nation that trusts in the Lord.
    Our confidence is placed in things rather than God.
     
    v.27 the significance
    Not one of His people will be missing when He calls.
    Your name will not be forgotten because your name is graven in His heart
     
     
    It produces
    a.       Humility (just like grasshoppers)   not by looking into ourselves by looking at ourselves and make ourselves small
    Seeing the greatness of God is true humility
    Pride fractures church and can make us useless to God
    God gives grace to the humble I Peter
    b.      Hope   v. 28-30 in God not in things He will not fail because He is God.
    Jim Packer
    “The daily need of Christian is a large bucket of the doctrine of God.”
     

      1. Oh, thanks, Dee for correcting me. I caught some short sermonettes from Motyer and must have gotten confused in the process. Both men have so much depth. I pray that age will not dim my love for the Word as shown by the example of these 2 men. From glory to glory, He’s changing me, changing me, changing me! Hallelujah!

        Praying for a God blessed time in WA-you will be a blessing no matter what and where and when. Please say a prayer for my daughter, Ruth. She lives in Seattle, WA.

  46. 5.How sure is the word, the promises of God according to Isaiah 40:6-8?  – These verses show that things around us will wither and fall, but God’s Word will stand tall forever.
     
    6. Read Isaiah 40:9-20
     
    A. What is the news and what are we to do, according to verse 9? – We are to go to the high places and shout about who God is and the good news he brings. 
     
    B. What do you behold in verse 11 about your God and what does this mean to you? – I can see that God will guide me and take care of me. He will be stern when needed and gentle as well. Just like my own parents, they were there for me know matter what I did but they responded in the way that I needed them at that specific time. If I needed correction they gave it, if I needed love they were there with open arms. This is what God does for us too. He is with at all times in the form that we need.
    C. What do you behold about your God in Isaiah 40:12, and what does this mean to you? – He can do anything and take care of all things. This helps me to know that know matter what situation comes up in my life, He will be there AND take care of the issue.
    D. Compare this God to your idols according to Isaiah 40:18-20. How do your idols fail you? – Our God is EVERYTHING, he is there for us when we need him and he can do all things. Our idols are only as good as the person who makes them. One ingredient left out of the mix and make that idol weak and fall apart. God will never leave us and will never fall under pressure. He IS ALWAYS THERE.
     
        7.  Read Colossians 3:1-4. How does this relate to what Isaiah is preaching? – Colossians is saying to set our sights on higher things, to focus on what is true and who will always be there for us and not on our earthly pleasure as they will come and go, and leave us empty in the end.
     

  47. 8. Share your notes and comments. – God has no needs. Love this. He doesn’t even need us, but he chooses to give us grace. He chooses to use instruments down here on earth, which are his people. The comparison to the surgeon who was needed but didn’t have the tools he needed to help was great. I also think that since God has no needs, nothing gets in his way of helping us. He has no idols to think they can help him better. He is GOD! and needs nothing in order to be who he is. Our Almighty Father.

  48. 8.  Share your notes and comments.  Wonderful sermon…so much meat!  There are 4 principals…

    1.  Uniqueness of God in creation(verse 12).  God the creator coming to be God the redeemer and with the same mighty power which brought the universe to being and holds it in existence.

    2.  God’s independence of creation.(verses 13,14).  He depends on NOBODY – the original untaught mind in the universe.  God doesn’t need us…we need God!

    3.  His preeminence or supremacy above creation (verses 15-20).  There is nothing in the creation that can be compared to God!

    4.  God is sovereign over creation (verses 21-29?).  He sits on a throne that encircles the universe.

    A.  Calls for humility.  True Biblical humility is born by seeing the greatness of God.

    B.   Gives us hope (verses 30-31).  He will not fail for He is God!