He is Coming! Are You Ready?
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Isaiah 40:1-11, 27-31
1 "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. 2 "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
3 A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4 "Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 6 A voice says, "Call out." then he answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
9 Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" 10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. 11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. NASB
These words from Isaiah 40 have become well known to many because of their use in Handel's “Messiah”. They were also quoted by the New Testament writers of the gospels. They believed these words foretold of the coming of the Christ, The Anointed One. Prepare the way of the Lord. John the Baptist come to prepare the people of his day for the coming of the one whose shoes John did not feel qualified to lace for Him.
“O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
In Isaiah's time, Assyria had come in to the land of Judah and subdued them. But God, had stopped them at the walls of Jerusalem. God had spared them from complete defeat. Isaiah was leading his people in worship as he wrote about God coming with “might, with His arm ruling for Him”. God had saved them. The armies of Sennacherib left them alone. God promised Hezekiah fifteen more years of life on the throne in Jerusalem.
When Jesus came to Palestine, His followers saw another fulfillment of these words in the teachings of their Master. God had come to save them from their sin, to destroy the enemy that had plagued mankind from the beginning. God had come in power and might to demonstrate His love for us.
He sent His followers out with the message of the Good News. We are to proclaim to the world that God loves them and that He is still on the throne. His arm is not shortened by the noisy unbelief of the atheists, the agnostics, and followers of other religions. He is coming with this reward and we need to be ready. We need to help others to be ready as well. We are called to take God's love to the world and to warn them of His judgment against those who refuse to bow before Him and call Him Lord.
We do not bring this judgment. God is the judge. Our job is to warn others that God will not relent. He is just and all will kneel before Him and give Him the honor He is due.
We know that He loves us, and He is Lord and that is good. We obey Him because we know that He loves us. As John put it we love Him because He first loved us. If we know Him and love Him we will want to obey and take this message to the rest of the world.
Today, we may see a further fulfillment of these words of Isaiah as we look for the second coming of Our Lord and Savior. Prepare the way for the Lord. We are to go and make disciples of all nations. We are to reach out and share His love where He leads us to go. As John called his people to repentance in preparation for the first coming of Christ, we are called to share the good news and call the world to accept Jesus as God's Only Begotten Son. We call them to repent of their refusal to believe that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them. We call them to seek God.
Heb 11:6 says:
6 without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. NASB
We receive the reward when we receive God. He brings it with Him. He is the reward. Emmanuel, God is with us. The very name of Jesus proclaims to us the truth of God's love. Jehovah Saves is the meaning of the name Jesus. God saves. Have you accepted His love? Do you believe He wants to save you? Are you walking in fellowship with Him today?
Look at the last part of Isaiah 40. Pick up with verse 27 and read with me:
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. NASB
Does the enemy of our faith have you weary and tired? Does it seem to you that God does not know your circumstances? Does it seem like your way is hidden from God? Do you feel like life is not fair and no one cares about you?
The good news is, God does care. And He knows you better than you know yourself. He will not leave you. Reach out to Him, seek Him and He will reward you with His grace, with His presence.
He never slumbers or sleeps. He does not grow weary, but He understands when we do. And He sends us a message. He gives strength to the weary. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. Are you waiting for the Lord? Or perhaps you are running out ahead of Him and facing life on your own terms. Perhaps you think that you know best how your life should be run.
I say to you, slow down. Wait for the Lord. Seek Him and He will reward You with His grace, His mercy, His strength. We have the promise of God that He wants to have a relationship with us. Wait for Him to lead you. Trust Him to take you where He wants you to go.
Those in Jerusalem had been under siege for a long time. They had been all but defeated by the Assyrians. They were shut up inside the city walls and hope was depleted. Hezekiah, the king, was ill. Hezekiah turned to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayers and God stepped in and suddenly Hezekiah was well and the armies that had kept them shut up were no longer waiting at the gates.
Comfort, Comfort my people. God's prophet brought this message of hope to them. “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
Are you ready for His coming? Do you believe His reward is with Him? Are you waiting on Him?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. This is the first commandment, the greatest commandment. Loving Him means we give Him the honor and respect due Him. HE is Creator of All Things. He is Lord of all lords. He is King of all kings. There is no one in all the universe that deserves our praise, our worship, our honor, our love, as He does.
If you would please God, you must believe that He exists. You must believe that He will reward you when you seek Him. If you seek Him He will be found. Trust Him as Lord and Savior. Wait on Him. Bowing at His feet. Trust Him to give you the strength He desires to give you as you wait for Him.
He is coming. Are you ready?