Isaiah Chapter 40
Lessons from the text
I Have to Be Right to Be Saved, Right?
Will the Lord accept me if I come to Him now? Surely I am too messed up right now to be saved. When I clean up, then I’ll come to church and get saved.
If you’ve ever thought these thoughts, you are not alone. We all feel unworthy of salvation, and rightfully so. God calls our righteousness filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Nothing we can say or do would ever be good enough to get us into heaven. That is precisely why Jesus came.
When Jesus died on the cross, He did not die for the righteous; He came for sinners (Lk 5:32). What does that mean for you and me?
When I desire to come to God, I don’t have to feel ashamed. He wants me to come to Him. He does not care about my current condition. He just wants my heart. Once I accept Him, then He begins to work in my life.
Consider Zacchaeus. He had cheated people of their money, squarely putting him in sin. But when he heard Jesus was coming to town, he sought for Him. The Lord saw this and accept him into His company. As Zacchaeus spent time with Jesus, his heart was changed and he chose to give away half of his possessions to the poor and restore fourfold anything he had stolen. The change came after Jesus had accepted him. (Lk 19:1-10)
We, too, are accepted by Jesus in whatever condition were are in. After He saves us and indwells us with the Holy Spirit, then our desires and character begin to change. We repent of our sins, asking God to save us, and then He begins to make straight our crooked ways. Don’t wait to be straight to be saved; just come as you are, surrender to Him, and let Him conform you into the likeness of His son.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-5 After Jerusalem endures judgment for its sins, God will comfort His people. He will send a messenger to call people to repent of their ways and prepare their hearts for God. Once they repent, then all the crocked ways will be straightened and the glory of God will be revealed. This was fulfilled in three stages:
6-7 This messenger of the wilderness is faithful to God, speaking only that which God tells him to speak. Anyone who proclaims the word of God has to take extra caution to ensure that his words are God’s words.
7-8 Whatever godliness one can perform on earth will not last. Man’s righteousness may have an effect for a while, but it will fade away. Only God’s righteousness will endure forever, which is why one must trust in His ways.
9 Jerusalem housed the temple of God where the Lord has a physical presence in the holy of holies (I Ki 8:10-11), and later was the city where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. The disciples spread the Gospel to all the Jewish people from Jerusalem, saying that Jesus is God. Now, the world has knowledge of the Gospel because of the message they shared from Jerusalem.
10 God’s might is not to be underestimated, and His presence brings joy and blessing to His children. God is not slack in His work, keeping it before Him.
11 God’s work is to feed His flock. The born again believers are His flock, and God promises to take care of, lead, and provide for them. The nonbeliever does not have this promise.
12-15 Compared to the nations, God has so much more wisdom and resources. The point is that no one can measure the quantity of blessings God is able to give out by His hand because it is so vast.
16 One cannot burn enough burnt offerings to appease God, even if one uses up all the wood in the earth’s greatest forest.
17-26 All the glory and riches of the world pale in comparison to the glory and riches of God. It is a joke to think that a tree or statue which changes and rots could ever have created the world. God is so superior to humanity that man is like a grasshopper in His sight. God is sovereign over all creation, even the princes and rulers of man. To accredit God’s power and authority to any created work is a great folly.
27-28 God calls out to the Jews, reminding them that He will never change, will not cease to be, and will not be stooped down to the level of human understanding. It is pointless to say that one has hidden oneself from the Lord and that He will not judge one for one’s actions. God is just. God is holy. God sees all. These facts will never change.
29-31 Those who foolishly believe they have escaped God’s judgment will be stripped of their strength and fall, but those who believe in God and trust in His ways have a promise of everlasting strength and rejuvenation. On the earth, God performs this through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost who gives believers the strength to press on towards the goal of serving God even when one’s physical strength has run out. After death, the believer has everlasting life and a glorified body that will never tire. The sinner, however, has none of this.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God's word.
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