"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Cor 1:3-4
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 112
Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah Day 112
We are reading the words of the prophet Isaiah, spoken about a hundred years before the Babylonian captivity, which will be a comfort to God's people when in exile there. They are not forgotten. God's covenant with them stands forever. And better yet, a King is coming, the King of glory.
"A voice says, 'Cry out.' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' 'All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.'" (Isaiah 40:6-8) Life is fleeting. Generation after generation passes out of this world but the word of God still stands. It's just as relevant in our times as it ever was. We need His word just as much in our day as the captive people of Judah needed it in Babylon and as much as Israel needed it in Assyria. His laws are still holy. His promises are still certain. His covenant is still unbreakable.
"You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God!'" (Isaiah 40:9) The promise of a Redeemer still stands, no matter what the people of Zion have endured throughout the centuries at the hands of their enemies, no matter how many times they've been conquered and taken captive. We've all heard the Christmas song, "Go Tell It On The Mountain", and that's what the Lord is urging His people to do. The good news of the gospel is coming to Zion. Shout it from the mountaintops! Shout it from the rooftops! Shout it so loud that every ear will hear the message that hearts have longed to hear through the ages, "Here is your God!"
The following passage appears to have more application to the second advent of Christ, when He will return to claim the throne of David and rule the world in righteousness. "See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and He rules with a mighty arm. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him." (Isaiah 40:10) While receiving the prophecies of the end times from the risen Lord on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John heard the Lord reasserting this promise, "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Revelation 22:12)
This mighty God, awesome in power, loves and cares for the lowly. "He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11) David, the shepherd king, understood the loving tenderness of our Shepherd King. How patient the Lord is with our weakness. How kind and longsuffering in the face of our doubts and discouragement. How loving in spite of our tendency to stray like errant lambs. He tends us like a shepherd tends his flock, giving us rest in the green pastures, leading us beside the still waters, carrying those who feel faint on the journey, walking slowly for the sake of those who are weak.
Prophets other than Isaiah predicted that the Lord would regather His people Israel like a shepherd gathers his flock: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, and Zechariah. The Lord Jesus also referred to Himself as a shepherd. Is it any wonder that the good news of His birth first came to shepherds, men with whose occupation the Lord identifies? His birth wasn't proclaimed by angels in the king's palace, but in a field to lowly shepherds, men who knew what it meant to love and guard the sheep. They could understand the character of the Shepherd of Israel, the One whose coming their shepherd king David and the prophets foresaw. These men, watching over their flocks by night, could comprehend what Jesus means when He later says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11)
In our own day, over two thousand years after the advent of Christ, we now know what the Lord meant when He said, "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16) This refers to the gospel being received by the Gentiles, making these believers one family with the believing descendants of Abraham. We are one flock and we have one Shepherd: Jesus Christ the Lord.
Life is fragile and fleeting. Like the grass, we wither. Like the flowers of the field, we fall. The urgency of telling the good news of the gospel cannot be stressed enough. We must go tell it on the mountain! We are commanded to share the gospel to our fellow men and women, to point them to the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim, "Here is your God!"