by Dave Miller
The times were tumultuous. Judah had seen the superpower Assyria miraculously defeated amid their fears during the reign of Hezekiah, only to be replaced by another superpower Babylon. With another enemy gaining power and moving towards war, God speaks to his people, showing them a season of discipline was on its way but would not be a permeant way of life. The moment would come when the Heavenly Father of the nation would bring comfort, healing, and the rule of an undefeatable eternal kingdom under the reign of the Messiah. Isaiah 40 is the call to announce the coming Kingdom. The pronouncement that fear must be overcome with courage through God’s promises among God’s people, regardless of the times.
Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of hard service is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
But who would harold the news? Who would announce such an unbelievable truth?
A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
The announcement would come from the one who believed the promise of God. The voice crying out would be the one who believed in the inevitability of what was spoken from the mouth of the Lord. But not everyone will believe. Not everyone sees the promise as inevitable. In fact, their eyes look around and their hearts melt wondering what can be done among men who scream silence. What can be said?
A voice was saying, “Cry out! ”
Another said, “What should I cry out? ”
So God gives the answer. This is what you should declare!
“All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass.The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”
Some see the Word of the Lord as the defining-life-changing reality regardless of the current events, others see the futility of the times and wonder what should I even say? Will what I say even make a difference? Can I even believe what I should say? The defining moment between the silent majority and the proclaiming minority is courage, not the lack of fear. This courage comes from a faith in the power of their God and His eternal Word.
Zion, herald of good news, go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice loudly. Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God! ”
See, the Lord God comes with strength, and his power establishes his rule. His wages are with him, and his reward accompanies him. He protects his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in the fold of his garment. He gently leads those that are nursing.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure or weighed the mountains on a balance and the hills on the scales?
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or who gave him counsel? Who did he consult? Who gave him understanding and taught him the paths of justice? Who taught him knowledge and showed him the way of understanding?
Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales; he lifts up the islands like fine dust. Lebanon’s cedars are not enough for fuel, or its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are considered by him as empty nothingness.
With whom will you compare God? What likeness will you set up for comparison with him? An idol? — something that a smelter casts and a metalworker plates with gold and makes silver chains for? A poor person contributes wood for a pedestal that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?Have you not considered the foundations of the earth?
God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He reduces princes to nothing and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland. They are barely planted, barely sown, their stem hardly takes root in the ground when he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.
“To whom will you compare me, or who is my equal? ” asks the Holy One.
Look up and see! Who created these? He brings out the stars by number; he calls all of them by name. Because of his great power and strength, not one of them is missing.
In other words, in comparison to our God, what is there to fear besides Him? When we look at the greatness of our God, the power and influence of men pales in comparison. God becomes big and people become small. What do I have to fear?
Then.... Courage has an open door.
Then... Unexplainable, but undeniable, boldness becomes the mark of the Spirit upon a believing people of God.
Then... Nothing can stop the declaration or the community of proclamation!
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding.
He gives strength to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Youths may become faint and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.
Until there's #NoPlaceLeft...