Sunday Sermon 12.19.20 The third of a four part series on Comfort from Isaiah 40
To quickly recap, as we approach Isaiah chapter 40 contextually remember, the nation of Israel had been facing the rigid edicts and judgments of the secular rulers surrounding them. For the previous thirty-nine chapters things were pretty grim and hopeless.
Then comes chapter 40, who’s first words resound, “COMFORT, COMFORT”. The tone and direction of the remainder of the book then shifts to promises of redemption, direction and purpose.
The whole shift starts with comfort, and that is the focus of this series.
Last week we were reminded of the comfort that comes amid the obstacles that we face, and the first week we saw how comfort comes in the midst of doom and gloom.
Today, we will look at comfort along side of good news. Yay, right?
Here’s the text:
” You who bring good news, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”Isaiah 40:9-11 NIV
Notice the theme in this portion is about good news and those who bring it.
It is interesting to note that twice in this passage the phrase “you who bring good news” is used. The Message paraphrase says it this way,
“Climb a high mountain, you’re the preacher of good news.“
“Raise your voice, you’re the preacher of good news.”Isaiah 40:9 The Message
What is Isaiah saying here?
First off, he is saying that there will be those who bring good news. He is declaring it. Could it be another people coming to bring good news? Could it be from within Israel herself? It could be argued for both.
Here’s the message though, those who do bring the good news get up to a high place, raise your voice, make it loud and clear, and don’t be timid in sharing it! Loud and proud shout out the good news for all to hear. It is much needed!
What is the good news that’s worth shouting from the high places for all to hear and find comfort in?
“Here is your God!“Isaiah 40:9
Look no further, lift up your eyes, God is here. God is present. You are not alone. He is with you. Here he is.
Fantastic good news to a hopeless and weary nation. Amazing reminder to a nation that God has not left them. Encouraging declaration in the midst of dark, confusing times. Israel and our nation, “take heart”, Isaiah is saying, the good news is “GOD IS HERE.”
We can declare “God is here” in our life, situation, family, job. We can bring that comforting good news to those around us. We can make it our passion and profession no matter what – “God is here!” We can be the ones who bring that good news into a situation and we can speak it to our weary and worn out hearts as often as we need.
When God shows up in a situation things change. When God shows up people change. When God is present (invited, chosen, & yielded to) look what he brings.
He comes in power, ready to take action. He is the creator of all and will come to take over, take charge, bring order back. He is the Master of the universe and all powers are subjected to Him, so when He comes, everything else must bow. (Isaiah 40:10)
He also comes bringing a couple of things with Him. He comes with payback and He comes with rewards. (Isaiah 40:10)
He is bringing with Him recompense or payback for his enemies. He will show up ready to make amends for the loss and harm suffered. When God is here, so is his promise of recompense. Don’t loose heart, God is faithful and is bringing payback for loss.
When he is present, he also brings rewards for those who love Him.
There are wages earned by those who love Him and the good news is that God’s presence is our payment. Him being with us, through it all, comforts us and is our reward.
But wait, there’s more. (that sounds like a commercial)
The comforting, good news is not only that he is here in power, but that he is here like a shepherd. He comes to his people tenderly, as a caring shepherd who would gather his lambs up in his arms and carry them close to his heart.
Note, the shepherd is hugging his sheep. Touching them, caring for them tenderly. There is no social distancing with Him. He is pulling them close and holding them tight. Speaking to them up close and personal. (without a mask on)
THAT IS GOOD NEWS and very comforting.
As powerful as God is, let’s never loose sight of His tender loving care and compassion for His people. God is love. All love, only love. Even His power is demonstrated because of love.
Today I pray you first of all hear the good news that “God is here” and then experience the comfort of His presence, care and powerful touch.
I trust too, that you will find opportunity to be the one who brings that much needed good news to others. Find that soapbox, be bold – “you’re the preacher of good news.”
Feel His warm embrace enfolding you, infilling you and rest in the assurance that He will take care of both payback and reward.
Find comfort and assurance in the good news today that, “God is here”.
Go with God.