Sacred Spaces 504 – “40”

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I spent some time reading Isaiah 40 this morning.
I was encouraged.
And thought I could share the piece of scripture with you and highlight some things:

“Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.
2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
and her sins are pardoned.
Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over
for all her sins.”
3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
for our God!
4 Fill in the valleys,
and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
and smooth out the rough places. (a)
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!”

6 A voice said, “Shout!”
I asked, “What should I shout?”
“Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly
as the flowers in a field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fade
beneath the breath of the Lord.
And so it is with people.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.” (b)
9 O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
The Lord Has No Equal

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? (c)
Who else knows the weight of the earth
or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
or show him the path of justice?
15 No, for all the nations of the world
are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
as though it were a grain of sand.
16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests
and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough
to make a burnt offering worthy of our God. (d)
17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him.
In his eyes they count for less than nothing—
mere emptiness and froth.

18 To whom can you compare God? (e)
What image can you find to resemble him?
19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
20 Or if people are too poor for that,
they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
to carve an image that won’t fall down!
21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?
Are you deaf to the words of God (f)
the words he gave before the world began?
Are you so ignorant?
22 God sits above the circle of the earth. (g)
The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
and makes his tent from them.
23 He judges the great people of the world
and brings them all to nothing.
24 They hardly get started, barely taking root,
when he blows on them and they wither.
The wind carries them off like chaff.
25 “To whom will you compare me?
Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name. (h)
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary. (i)
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. (j)
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40: 1 – 31)

31 verses packed with comfort and wisdom and good questions. Take heart, my friends. 10 brief observations for you:

(The letter below corresponds with the inserted passage above)

a) Perhaps, our role is to “make a way” for the Lord, for another person in our life.  What an honour it would be to set one up with a beautiful encounter with the very real and incredible God we have come to know.
b) Things fade and wither here on earth.  But there is something about God’s word… I take it further: God’s “voice” —> stands forever.  What do you think He wants to say to you on this day?
c) If Isaiah 40 was God’s CV… it would be an incredible one!  There is a BIGNESS to God we often neglect.  We’ve made his “small” like the apparent smart phone in our pockets.  But we have not even scratched upon the edges of all who God is…
d) I liked that imagery of Lebanon’s forests.  Perhaps our sacrifice (worship) is too small… Our words we offer are not accompanied with the devotion of our hearts.
e) God has no equal!  Enough said!  Take heart with that!
f) So often our understanding of God is limited.  We have acquired this sort of “spiritual deafness”.  Why is that?
g) I always think of what Louie Giglio once said with this passage. “The early explorers didn’t have to explore the earth to discover that the world is round.  They should have turned to Isaiah 40.  It says it right there.”  Now, that’s pretty darn cool, don’t you think?
h) People just don’t look up enough!  How can you not look up at the stars and be marveled? How can you not sense (or hear) the whisper of God?  The one that names ALL the stars… knows your name too.  That’s grace!
i)  God does not get tired!  He is not wearied or burdened by the things (issues) we bring to Him.  He is a deep well of grace and hope and comfort and understanding.  Perhaps, just believe it?!
j) “but those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.”  sit with that.  wait.  Let it soak it.  wait.  are you tired?  Are you drained?  wait.  There is His strength.  wait…

 

 

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