God Restoring the World — Isaiah 40

We return to the book of Isaiah for the first time since April 29th. When we broke from Isaiah we had finished the “Book of Judgments” where we spent the winter and spring learning that God’s judgment, primarily focused on His own wayward people, was part of His plan of restoration and renewal of all people. Paul reminded us…”All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…” (2 Cor.5:18). We were reminded that God expects absolute holiness from His people, but that they (and us), are simply unfaithful, and we began to hear echos, some louder than others, that God’s “Servant”, revealed in the New Testament to be Jesus Christ, would be the solution to this seemingly unsolvable dilemma. (Is.7:14, 9:6–7, 11:1–5, 16:5). The book of judgment ends with a most universal picture of God’s wrath, (Is.34), and judgment followed by an equally dynamic picture of His final restoration of all things, (Is.35), in a mirror image that we looked at over Easter weekend-“The Great Reversal”. After a short four-chapter narrative section chronicling God’s deliverance of Jerusalem from the invading Assyrians, the primary enemy referenced in chapters 1–35, the Book of Comfort is over. We now come to Isaiah’s Book of Comfort.

Before considering the Book of Comfort it is important to acknowledge that having a grasp on the book of judgment has tremendous value in helping us to understand who God is, and why we are in need before a Holy God at all. That being said, we turn with great enthusiasm to this latter third of Isaiah.

Herein we will find some of the most beloved and known Scriptures in the Old Testament, and the most quoted section of the Old Testament by the New Testament authors themselves.

Use the following devotional meditations to prepare for our first message on “God Restoring the World”.

Monday- READ- Isaiah 34:1–10 Shudder to Remember

Isaiah 34 is hyperbolic, vivid, and shocking. It pictures universal judgment and God’s wrath fully engaged. We considered on Good Friday, that it is this imagery, this wrath of God, that we must never forget befell the Son of God, Jesus Christ instead of us, we who deserved this judgment. Chapter 34, serves to set the context for us, summarizing chapters 1–35, and helping us to consider chapter 40 and following with this backdrop. Spend some time meditating on God’s holiness, His justice, and His wrath.

Tuesday- READ- Isaiah 40 Famous Passages

Reading Isaiah 40 in its entirety gives us a full, sweeping view of Isaiah’s turning-the-page. We still see God’s majesty, Sovereignty, and power, but now we see distinct comfort, mercy, and tenderness. which verse(s) stand out to you most? Write down a key verse or two and put it where you can see it this week.

Wednesday- READ- Isaiah 40:1–2 Comfort

Isaiah 1 in particular not only introduces the Book of Comfort, but also serves as the thesis statement for the latter third of the book of Isaiah. How do you need the comfort of God this month, this week, today?

Thursday- READ- Isaiah 40:3–5 Voice #1

There are three “voices” in Isaiah 40 that develop further how the comfort of God will come about. This first voice, we know from the Gospels (Mt.3:3,Lk.3:4,Jn.1:23), is John the Baptist, who served in an ambassadorial way for the Messiah, the Lord Himself, (vs.3). How can we, in our friendships with those who don’t yet know Christ, serve a similar role, paving the way, so to speak, for the coming of the Lord by speaking comfort to those we know who are hurting?

Friday- READ- Isaiah 40:6–11 Voices 2&3

In these verses we hear two other voices, who in the immediate context speak of the people’s of Jerusalem being redeemed, (at the hand of Cyrus the Persian we will learn very soon), from Babylon. But also both Christ’s first and second Advents are alluded to, (vs.10–11), as is often seen in prophetic passages in the Old Testament. How does the promise of God’s deliverance, His reward, and His love, (vs.11), bring you hope in the midst of trial today? Are there other brothers and sister’s in Christ who need this encouragement today?

Saturday- READ- Isaiah 40:12–26 Job Reprise?

This middle section of Isaiah 40 is very reminiscent of Job 38–40, (take a few minutes to read these chapters), where God brings Job, (and his friends), us short. Here the function is slightly different, where Isaiah wants to remind those under the trial of Babylonian exile that God is still in control, (Sovereign), despite their dire circumstances. Where do you need this reminder today?

Sunday- READ- Isaiah 1:40:27–31 Beyond Comfort: The Gospel in Isaiah

As you prepare for worship this morning consider the comfort of God, a comfort that goes far beyond mere consolation, and pursues triumphs and victories of soaring magnitude for His people, (vs.29–31). Where do you need to believe God for more? Where have you been satisfied with only forgiveness from sin, and need to live in the triumph that you are God’s chosen, dearly loved, prepared for great things! (1 Pet. 2:4, Col. 3:12, Eph.2:10)

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