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All That Glitters is Not God (Isaiah 40)

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Theme:
Only in Christ can we find everything that we need and desire
The abundance of online resources - the need to be discerning.
God does not share his glory, he alone is great, he alone can give comfort

Of all the writing prophets, Isaiah is justly accounted the greatest. His prophecy is one of the longest, is quoted more frequently than any other in the New Testament, and he more often than any other prophet tells of the coming Messiah. Isaiah prophesied for about fifty years (see Chart 80) during very critical times of both kingdoms, Israel and Judah. He was greatly responsible for the sweeping reforms introduced by Hezekiah, who was one of Judah’s righteous kings. Merrill Unger says this of Isaiah: “Isaiah … is the great messianic prophet and prince of OT seers. For splendor of diction, brilliance of imagery, versatility and beauty of style, profundity and breadth of prophetic vision, he is without peer.

The nations divide and go into captivity
Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament B. The Term “Prophesy”

The primary task of the Old Testament prophets was not to foretell future events but to forthtell the will of God which He had revealed to His prophets. Concerning the verb “prophesy,” Gleason Archer writes:

The Hebrew word is nibbaʾ … a word whose etymology is much disputed. The best founded explanation, however, seems to relate this root to the Akkadian verb nabu, which means “to summon, announce, call.…” Thus the verb nibbaʾ would doubtless signify one who has been called or appointed to proclaim as a herald the message of God Himself. From this verb comes the characteristic word for prophet, nabiʾ, one who has been called. On this interpretation the prophet was … one called by God to proclaim as a herald from the court of heaven the message to be transmitted from God to man.

C. OTHER TITLES APPLIED TO THE PROPHETS

The prophets of the Old Testament were sometimes designated by other titles. Of these, the three most frequently used were:

1. “man of God”—suggesting an intimate spiritual relationship

2. “seer”—suggesting perception of the true, and insight into the invisible things of God (cf. 1 Sam 9:9)

3. “servant” of Jehovah

The prophets were also known as messengers of Jehovah, men of the Spirit (cf. Hos 9:7), interpreters and spokesmen for God.

The oral and written prophets
Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament E. The Oral and Writing Prophets

All of God’s prophets shared the same purpose for which they were divinely called. Their primary ministry was to deliver a message from God to an unbelieving and apostate Israel (cf. Deut 18:18–19). Some of these, now referred to as the writing (or literary) prophets, were chosen of God not only to a public-speaking ministry, but also to be the authors of the inspired canonical books of prophecy. The others, now referred to as the oral prophets, ministered mostly by the spoken word.

Isaiah prophesied mainly to Judah He lived from 760 until the reign of Hezekiah’s son Manasseh - Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah
The four prophetic points
Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament F. Message of the Prophet

Two Messianic themes. When a prophet speaks of Christ, he refers to Him in either of His two comings—either in the first coming, as the suffering Messiah (e.g., Isa 53), or in the second coming, as the reigning Messiah (e.g., Isa 11). The prophets were apparently not aware that a long interval of time would transpire between Christ’s manifestation in suffering (first advent) and Christ’s revelation in glory (second advent). His suffering and His reigning appeared to them to be very close in time. The student of prophecy must keep this in mind when he studies the predictive sections of the prophetic books.

Judgment of God 1-39 with some hope
Comfort of God 40-66 with some warnings
40-48 redemption promised
49-57 redemption provided
58-66 redemption realized

(1) The personal God who comforts

Isaiah 40:1–2 ESV
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
Isaiah 40:

(2) The glorious God who is revealed

Isaiah 40:3–5 ESV
3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isiah 40:3-5

(3) The speaking God who stands forever

Isaiah 40:6–8 ESV
6 A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Is 40:

(4) The mighty God who is a shepherd

4)
Isaiah 40:9–11 ESV
9 Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

(5) The creator God who is beyond compare

Isaiah 40:12–26 ESV
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19 An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20 He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25 To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.
4 questions about God - 7 questions about you
the sovereignty of God

(6) The unchanging God who empowers his children

Isaiah 40:27–31 ESV
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Is 40:
I can do nothing apart from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
The father loves, the son redeems, the Spirit empowers.
All the glitter in the world, all the motivational speeches in the world, all the showmanship cannot do what God alone can do - comfort the soul, strengthen the weak, forgive the sinful
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