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Isaiah 40

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Be Not Afraid....yet, Behold your God

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On May 22, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke these words at the University of Michigan:
“In your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society but upward to the Great Society.”
How would you perceive those words today? A rich society? A powerful society? A great society? President Trump says that he’s going to make America great again. When we consider what’s going in and around the world’s anything but great. There seems to be kaoce in every nation today.
Pastor Stevens preached a message on last Sunday about trusting in God’s word.
There’s a lot going on in the world today…the bombings.....the stabbings....the shootings.....the wiki leaks....Russia’s enough to make your head spin around (if it could).
Aside from what’s going on in the world....we have our own situations and circumstances that we have to deal with. Sometimes we’re faced with difficult tasks and decisions to make. Sometimes the pressures of life.....causes our today to seem dark.....and our tomorrow seems even darker......and the stress and weight of it all....weighs us down.....way down......and we wonder at times.....”Where is God?” “Why does He seem so far from me....when I need Him so near to me?” “Why does He allow all of this turmoil to go on?”
Sometimes our tomorrows......seem so We have the situations of our loved ones and other family matters....that can weigh us down......way down.
As Believers in Christ....we are called to put our trust in Him....and not in the political power of our president....our armed forces, not in ourselves, not in our bank account....not in our pastor.....401k....not in our stocks.....but in God and in His word. Because all will pass away....but God and His word will forever remain.
God’s chosen people....consistently failed at this ....and they imitated the nations.....rather than imitating God. This is not what we want to find ourselves in error of.
We’re going to look at a passage of scripture today.....that describes what Israel experienced as a result of their rebellion against God.....Israel also experienced great humiliation and chastening.....and I believe that we are already experiencing great humiliation and we will also experience chastening.
Pastor Stevens preached a message on last Sunday about trusting in God’s word.
In spite of it all.....I want to encourage you today......with the Word of God....”Be not afraid!.....behold your God!” ()
No matter what’s going on in the world today....or in our personal lives.....our God is greater.
The voice of pardon (vv. 1-2)
The nation has sinned against God, with their idolatry....injustices....immorality and their insensitivity to His messengers () But they were still His people....and He loved them....and He promised to never forsake them.
v. 1 - Begins with “Comfort, comfort my people....says your God”. Isaiah recorded this great declaration of God.....and praise be to God....because the promise of comfort has come.....through Jesus Christ.....this is good news.... “LET US DECLARE HIM TO ALL THE NATIONS…LET US FIRST BELIEVE IT.....AND REST IN IT!!!”
Our comfort is not in man....but in God
We forget that God can use unconverted world leaders for the good of His people and the progress of His work.
He raised up Pharaoh in that he could demonstrate His power ()
He used wicked Herod.....and Pontius Pilate to accomplish His plan in the crucifixion of Christ ().
2) The Voice of Providence (vv. 3-5)
Here we see the care of God for His people.
The Jews had a rough road ahead of them as they returned to rebuild Jerusalem.....but the God would go before them to prepare the way.
The ministry of John the Baptist is the fulfillment.... of the image of the highway he prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus ().
3) The Voice of Promise (vv. 6-8)
Be Comforted 1. God Is Greater than Our Circumstances (Isa. 40:1–31)

“All flesh is grass!” Assyria was gone, and now Babylon was gone. Like the grass, nations and their leaders fulfill their purposes and then fade away, but the Word of God abides forever (Pss. 37:1–2; 90:1–6; 103:15–18; 1 Peter 1:24–25.)

“All flesh is grass” Like the grass, nations and leaders fulfill their purposes and and then fade away.....but the Word of God abides forever.
Psalm 37:1–2 KJV 1900
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb.
Psalm 37:1-2
1 Peter 1:24–25 KJV 1900
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Peter
4) The Voice of Peace (vv. 9-11)
Be Comforted 1. God Is Greater than Our Circumstances (Isa. 40:1–31)

To “bring good tidings” means “to preach the Good News.” The good news in that day was the defeat of Babylon and the release of the captive Jews (52:7–9). The Good News today is the defeat of sin and Satan by Jesus Christ and the salvation of all who will trust in Him (61:1–3; Luke 4:18–19). God’s arm is a mighty arm for winning the battle (Isa. 40:10), but it is also a loving arm for carrying His weary lambs (v. 11).

v.9 -

9  O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain;

O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength;

Lift it up, be not afraid;

Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

When we “behold” the greatness of God....then we will see everything else in its proper perspective!!
Our God is greater than anything on earth (vv. 12-20) .........or anything in heaven (vv. 21-26).
Creation shows His wisdom....and power.....and His immensity. He founded the earth and sits on the throne of heaven.....and nothing is equal to Him......and nothing is greater than Him.
Sometimes when we’re going through trials or situations......we act as though they’re bigger than God. We need to remember the “drop of a bucket” (v.15) and “grasshoppers” (v.22).
Sometimes we think so negative of ourselves....that we wonder if God really cares about us.
Remember this.....He knows the name of every star (v.26) ....and He knows our name as well.....He says that our name is written in the palm of His hand.
Someone defined “circumstances” as “those nasty things you see when you get your eyes of of God.”
If we look as God through our circumstances, He will seem small....and very far away.....but if by faith we look at our circumstances through God.....we’ll see just how near He really is to us.....and we’ll see just how great He is.
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