GOD SPEAKS AND WE ARE TO LISTEN.
GOD SPEAKS AND WE ARE TO LISTEN. WE ARE TO RESPOND TO GOD’S REVELATION.
GOD HAS NO NEED TO SPEAK TO US. WE SHOULD BE SEEKING HIM, ASKING HIS FORGIVENESS, ENQUIRING FROM HIM KNOWLEDGE TO LIVE HOLY IN A SINFULL WORLD. MAN IS LOST IN SIN, HAS OFFENDED GOD AND STANDS TO BE JUDGED AND PUNISHED FOR HIS SINS. BUT IT IS GOD WHO SPEAKS TO MAN; AND HE SPEAKS SALVATION TO HIM. GOD WILLS NO ONE TO PERISH BUT ALL TO COME TO REPENTANCE, 2PETER 3:9.
ISAIAH 40 NEW KING JAMES VERSION (NKJV)
GOD’S PEOPLE ARE COMFORTED
40 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. 2 “Speak [a]comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight [b]in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made [c]straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
If God speaks, what is His message? Who is He speaking to? And, how should they respond?
God speaks to Jerusalem and He speaks comfort to them. What or who is distressing Jerusalem? It is God who is distressing Jerusalem. In verse two it says: she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
Jerusalem is God’s city and the citizens of Jerusalem are His people. God has judged His people and found that they have sinned. Judgement has been exacted upon them and they have been harshly punished for their sins. However, God does not wish to destroy them but to save them. He speaks comfort to them. Comfort, relief, good news is spoken to them.
God has ended His war with Jerusalem. Think about this. God seeks reconciliation with His people. This is good news. Even if Jerusalem sought reconciliation with God, God has no obligation to respond to it. However, it is God’s love for His people that moves Him to reconcile with the guilty. He pardons her sin. He is the only one that can outright do this. What could His people offer in exchange for their forgiveness? There is nothing that man could offer that would satisfy God’s justice. Grace is the only way.
God shows grace towards Jerusalem by pardoning Jerusalem’s unpayable debt with God. Comfort, relief, peace has come to Jerusalem without deserving it. Not only is Jerusalem forgiven but it must get ready for God’s coming to her. The Lord is on His way to Jerusalem and Jerusalem must prepare to receive Him.
Let us all imagine the fact that we are guilty before God of our sin. We deserve judgement and punishment from God for our sin. But instead God pardons us and brings peace to us. Yes, he has brought upon us punishment, the consequences of our sin. But destruction He has halted. And now, rather than walking away from us, rather than rejecting us, He is coming to us. How should we respond?
God tells us how to receive Him. Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for the Lord. Yes, in the wilderness we are to make a way to receive the Lord. In this world we are to live right. In a world of sin, we are to live holy. In order to live holy lives, we must reject sin. We must stop practicing sin. Even when this is a world of sin, we must walk away from sin. We must stop disobeying God and we must begin to obey His commandments. We must live to honor God in our lives.
How can we not? He has forgiven us when we deserved death. He has given us life when we were destined for death. Those who live in obedience to God make a way for the Lord in their lives. Have you made a way for God in your life? He is coming to you whether you repent from sin or not. Should you not repent, God’s visit to your life will not be for life but for death. God’s visit to the lives of those who repent brings comfort. God’s visit to the life that does not repent brings discomfort.
Every valley must be filled, and every mountain must be brought low. The obstacles in the way between you and God must be removed. A straight path to God must be made in every life. Is this the way we are living? Or, do we lose focus of God in our lives? Is God in our sights for a few moments and then we put Him out of sight in the ups and downs of our lives? Isaiah tells us to get rid of the valleys and hills of our lives and to keep God clearly in our path of vision as we live our lives at home, at work, with our friends and in the world. To look for Him only when need is at hand and to put God out of our lives is an offence to the majesty of who God is.
Therefore, make the crooked straight and make smooth that which is rough. Introspection is required if we are to receive the Lord. He has come to us and we must be right with Him. We all have sinned; let us repent from our past sins. We are all tempted by sin; let us resist temptations. Walk away from sin. It may be a person, a group of friends, it may be the internet, social media, the things we read, the things we watch, the things we do when no one is watching. God is offering comfort to us and has granted us a pardon for our sins. Let us therefore make our lives right with God.
Examine yourself. What is still crooked in your lives. What is still rough with God. God’s Holy Spirit has been speaking to you about this things. Listen to His voice and make things right with God. Embrace God’s comfort. Come into the rest that Jesus offers:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Let us remember this Christmas that God’s speech came true in the person of Jesus Christ. He died for our sins so that we would not have to die for our sins, instead He died so that we would live. The war between us and God is over, we now have peace with God through Jesus Christ. As Romans 5:1-2 says,
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
God reconciled us with Him in Jesus Christ:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
We have been offered repentance, take it:
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
Those who have received repentance are forever grateful for His grace and worship Him for it as Isaiah 40:5 says:
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Jesus witnessed of the woman that worshipped Him:
44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:44-48
God speaks to us and calls us to peace with Him. Not because we are winning or because we are straining His resources, that would be ludicrous. God cannot be defeated, and His resources cannot be depleted. But because he loves us, and He would not have us die but He would have us live. Repent, receive His pardon, be comforted, come into His rest.