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The nation of Judah was facing exile, the destruction of their land, their community, their temple, and their religion. The critical question before them was: Have we forfeited the promises God made to Abraham and David? Into that despair and doubt, Isaiah announces the end of the exile, the birth of a new kingdom and the arrival of its King.
The Announcement of a New Kingdom: Comfort (40:1-2)
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.”- Isaiah 40:1:-2 NASB
- The nature of their comfort: restoration of a relationship & end of an exile.
- The basis of their comfort: their sins are forgiven.
- True comfort comes from facing your guilt and its consequences before a holy God.
The Birth of the New Kingdom: The King is Coming (40:3-5)
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4Let 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;
5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”- Isaiah 40:3-5 NASB
- Build a highway for the King by removing all obstacles.
- The highway is a metaphor for the place God will display His glory – divine intervention in history.
- Israel is to meet the King in the wilderness — where she is vulnerable.
- The Revelation of the King will be universal and certain.
The Establishment of the Kingdom (40:6-8)
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.- Isaiah 40:6-8 NASB
- The kingdom will not be established by flesh which is weak an temporary.
- The kingdom will be established by Word and Spirit which is eternal.
Welcoming the King (40:9-11)
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!”
10Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
11Like 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. – Isaiah 40:9-11 NASB
- The response to the King: Be a messenger of good news!
- The King is coming in power like a judge.
- The King is also coming in meekness like a shepherd to gather his own.
Listen to the song “Unsettled Scores” from Whistle Down the Wind