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Comfort Comfort. Isaiah 40:1-11

29/10/2016

Comfort, Comfort.

Text . Isaiah 40:1-11
We have arrived at one of the sweetest chapters in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah is about to offer the comfort of the Gospel He must preach the law, to bring about conviction of sin, so that when he preaches the Gospel, the sinner can take comfort in the fact that all of their sins have been forgiven in Christ. Note:-

1. The Premise of Comfort. V1-2.
What is your only comfort? The reason we need God’s comfort us because of human failure. So it is in Isaiah 40. Israel has sinned and has paid the awful price. Yet look and see…
* THE PLACE OF THEIR COMFORT. Israel is in ‘a bad place.’ They have gone far away from him, but he has not deserted them!

  • Despite their rejection God is STILL their God!
  • They are STILL his people. He still calls them MY PEOPLE.
  • They are STILL Jerusalem (the centre of His worship) even though geographically they are many miles away. Even though they are no longer in the vicinity of the temple, God is still in their midst.

Isaiah makes this a frequent theme, Isaiah 43:1-2

* THE PROCEDURE OF THEIR COMFORT. How does God comfort his people? Listen to this declaration of the Gospel in Isaiah…
* Their Warfare has ended! He declares peace to them and they respond surrendering to him.
* Their Iniquity has been pardoned! That is the only way to true comfort is through the forgiveness of sins.
* Their sin has been atoned for. God makes a declaration that the punishment is sufficient! It’s pointing us to the declaration that Jesus made on the cross, IT IS FINISHED!
‘Comfort, comfort’ is deliberate repetition. When God says something with this kind of emphasis it is to make it stick in our minds and emphasis it strongly to us. We are in a bad place, but God is with us, and his gracious presence brings us comfort. Here is the basic premise of comfort. Sinners, tormented by their guilt and sin and shame can only obtain comfort through the knowledge and assurance that all our sins are forgiven and we have peace with God.

2. The Person of Comfort.
So, how will this great pardon of sins and peace with God be obtained? Who will pay this great debt for us?
a) The VOICE. 3 . Prepare the Way of the Lord! V3-5. A direct Messianic Prophesy, giving a preview of this section of the book. It’s ALL about Jesus. The fulfilment is in Matthew 3:1-2 Isaiah is prophesying directly about the birth of Christ, proclaimed by John! And he is 100% accurate!
b) The VALLEY. 4 RC Sproule notes that these descriptions of a rough dessert, a mountainous region, are metaphors for alienation at anguish. Isaiah 14:17 It is God alone who can change and transform the desert into a fruitful, blooming oasis, a figure for the fullness and joy of salvation. Isaiah 41: 18 .
c) The VISION. Isaiah has reached the point, and what a tremendous point it is, – it was worth waiting for! The glory of the Lord shall be revealed! 5 When was God’s Glory revealed to mankind? When a little baby was born in Bethlehem, when the Glory of the Lord came down and dwelt among us. John 1:14
Isaiah is pointing firmly to Christ, who is our Saviour, whose name will be called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.

3. The Purpose of Comfort.
What is the result of the applications of forgiveness and restoration with God in the life of the sinner?

1. We are reminded of our own frailty and dependence upon God. 6 – 7 Here’s some good news. None of us is here forever. We can stop relying on ourselves, on our own strength, we stop declaring our own independence, and we will cast ourselves upon him for mercy while we still have time on our side. Ecclesiastes 7:2
2. We are reminded of God’s permanence. 8 God is infinite. V8. His Word endures and stands for ever. Jesus is the Logos, the Word become flesh. He is the Eternal God!
3. We are reminded of the Gospel. 9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. There’s good news! Good news for the people of Israel enslaved in Babylon, good news for saints of every age. Look to the Lord, for our God reigns on high. He is omnipotent, and he shall come to reward his people.
4. We are reminded of God’s gracious tender care. 11 Although he is the omnipotent king of the universe, holy, perfect, spotless, transcendent, – he is with us, to care for us, to clothe us, to feed us, to nourish us, to enfold us in his love, and to lead us. The conquering king of verse 10 is the tender shepherd of verse 11!

So what have we learned from this passage? Isaiah is addressing those who have sinned and failed the Lord. They have endured punishment and chastening for their sin. But Human sin and failure is not the end. God loves his people, even though their love for him is so weak and sickly, and he redeemed them with a great price, and even in that far off, dark land of misery and despair and backsliding he never forsakes them, but reaches out to rescue them. That knowledge brings the sinner comfort, comfort that cannot be gained elsewhere, and with that comfort an appreciation of the greatness, and the grace and mercy and the love and care of Almighty God.

© Bob McEvoy

From → Isaiah

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