Isaiah Lesson 8 Isaiah 40 Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering
Comfort for God’s People Isaiah 40:1-5, Jeremiah 29:10-13
It has been a rough 39 Chapters of prophecy throughout the book of Isaiah, but now the book moves towards a new theme—comfort for God’s people. Isaiah is a book in three sections. Chapters 1-35 are prophetic, with the theme of condemnation (judgment). Chapters 36-39 are historic, and the theme is confiscation (Having ones property seized by way of a penalty.) Chapters 40-66 are messianic (about the Messiah), and the theme is consolation (the bringing of comfort).
We concluded our last lesson with Isaiah announcing the coming Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, and the exile of the nation. “The announcement that the Babylonians would someday capture Jerusalem and take the people into exile was a bitter blow, but God had spoken and judgment was on the way. Yet, although God’s mighty hand of discipline was coming upon Jerusalem, He already had the plans laid out for their redemption and forgiveness. In the same way, take heart Christian, although you may be going through tough times in your life (and God may indeed allow you to go through them) He already knows your future and has laid out His plans for “good.”
28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? 31. If God is for us, who can be against us? 37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28, 31, 37-39
The Prophet Jeremiah would later come and speak to the Jews regarding the duration of their exile in Babylon. Seventy years was the decree and then God would bring them back to their land, and as history would prove— He did just that. This time is likely marked from 586 (when Solomon’s temple was destroyed) to 516 (when Zerubbabel’s temple was completed).
Isaiah prophesied that Comfort was coming to God’s people…comfort always comes to those who seek God through the hard times. Although we may be in the midst of trouble our faith in God’s promised hope will pull us through. As they waited for their exile to come to an end , we wait for a time when Christ will rule and reign.
The “double portion” of payment for Israel’s Sin that Isaiah speaks of is referring to the 1.) exile that they brought upon themselves through their disobedience to God and 2.) the payment in blood that Christ would make on behalf of all of mankind’s sin. Without Christ eternal judgment for sin would result. God’s grace to redeem mankind through Christ is a reflection of His ultimate grace and mercy.
Isaiah 40:3-5 is a reference to John the Baptist who would proclaim the coming of Christ. Matthew 3:1-3, John 122-23 He is our ultimate hope and redeemer:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– John 1:12
No One Is Like Our God Isaiah 40:6-27 (selected Passages)
Like all humans who go through trials, Israel groaned and complained. In these passages God speaks to remind them both of who He is and who they are:
Isaiah 40:6-8 People wither and fade/ God endures forever
Isaiah 40:9-24 People are as nothing and so are their gods/ God is enthroned above the circle of the earth. Yes, “circle” (lit. “Sphere”) Before Columbus set out to prove the world was not flat God already proclaimed it.
Isaiah 40:25-27 Why does man complain?/ None is God’s equal: Look to Him!
Soar Like an Eagle! Isaiah 40:28-31
In conclusion, the prophet speaks rhetorically to his people. “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” How about you? How can we complain, how can we fear, how can we doubt when God has made it so clear that He will take care of those who trust in Him? He urges His people once again to “hope in the Lord” and then we will “soar”, “run” and “walk”: Notice the order, because it seems strange. First we mount up with wings like eagles. Then we run. Finally we walk. Does it seem out of order? Not at all. First, we recognize that we soar up into heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Then we set ourselves on the course to run the race (Hebrews 12:1). Then we are in the good place to walk the walk (Colossians 2:6).
An Important Note on Soaring Zechariah 4:6
You need to know something about how eagles fly before you can truly understand what the basic gist of this analogy is all about. An eagle is able to soar without the tiring effort of flapping their wings. Eagles patiently wait for what are called wind thermals to come up on them. A wind thermal is a big gust of wind that will rise up from the atmosphere. As a result of being able to learn how to fly like this, eagles are considered master fliers. They can fly to heights that no other bird can. In a storm an eagle will fly far above the clouds.
Just like the eagle has to learn how to fly on the wind thermals – we, as born-again, Spirit-filled Christians, need to learn how to fly on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must hope, wait, pray, and move with His promptings. To flap our wings is to wear ourselves out. We can fly above the storms of life if we wait upon the Lord.
Remember…you’re an eagle so don’t flock with Turkeys…they live to die. We live to fly! (Soar)