Was a tremendous opportunity to be at a woman’s seminar with a great mother and daughter speaker team. Basically, any gathering these days in post/mid covid is a blessed opportunity to be with people – and so I took it! The timing was nice, just 3 sessions plus an opportunity to see a real eagle from the zoo. And this eagle, raised in captivity with one eye is also a mascot (they have many) for the football team.
The scripture could not be more perfect for all of us (and me too). Isaiah 40. He was writing 100 years before Israelite people were returning home. It was a message to Judah to give them the courage to leave a place where they were captives and make a way to a new place.
Although I was familiar with the scripture sound bites, actually listening to the verses as whole, and to hear them spoken, spoke volumes. And I was pleased with the seminar sticking straight to the scripture, with a few heartwarming stories of comfort and love, and the experiences of both the mother and daughter made this scripture of comfort come alive.
Isaiah 40 is a scripture of comfort, it is a scripture to prepare the way for the Lord, it is a scripture that reminds us we are fragile and temporary but He, God and the Word of God is ETERNAL, FOREVER, TRUSTWORTHY. It is a scripture that says God is HERE and that He has a MIGHTY STRONG HAND. God is coming again, and He gathers us as a Shepherd. As a prophecy, Jesus is all over in and thru this verse.
Isaiah describes how God has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and has measured heaven with a span. He has calculated the dust of the Earth. We cannot know how He does this… God knows all.
Isaiah reminded the people that whenever they put God first and beheld His Ways and looked to Him, everything else would get put in perspective. We must trust God. No one is like Him. And we and they should not fall back into idolatry. Idolatry is sin and makes us captive to it. Instead we are to obey the Lord and be fruitful, to remember we have many blessings… None of our idols compare to God. We should not doubt God. We should not put our eyes and our energies into self-care either, we should focus on God.
God-created all these things and God reveals Himself to everyone. He calls the stars by name. He is the Good Shepherd, the Wonderful Counselor. He calls His sheep by name. He knows us, but STILL we MUST LOOK TO HIM.
The take home message, SO IMPORTANT, at the very end verse 31: “but those who WAIT on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles”…
The key here is WAITING. Not waiting for a bus, not waiting for an action, but WAITING UPON THE LORD, trusting Him the whole time and not becoming weary in wait. He wants us to FLY, to RUN and it’s His strength that He fills us with. He wants us to have HOPE which is side by side developed during our waiting. HIS strength IS our reward. HE IS WORTH WAITING FOR.
THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. [PS, receiving DOUBLE for sins, actually means debts, like on a paper that is doubled over and folded, are forgiven. Paid in full by the Lord]
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. [foretelling about John the Baptist]
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” – “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, 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 arm: and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.
With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.