2 Dec. Isaiah 40:1-11

2 Dec. Isaiah offers comfort to the exiles in Babylonia

“Your God says, ‘Comfort, comfort my people. Speak kindly to the people of Jerusalem and tell them their time of service is finished, that they have paid for their sins, that the LORD has punished Jerusalem twice for every sin they did.’”

“This is the voice of one who calls out, ‘Prepare in the desert the way for the LORD. Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God. Every valley should be raised up and every mountain and hill should be made flat. ‘”

“’The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth. Then the glory of the LORD will be shown, and all people together will see it. The LORD himself said these things.’”

“A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ Then I said, ‘What shall I cry out?’ ‘Say all people are like the grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass dies and the flowers fall when the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are like grass. The grass dies and the flowers fall, but the word of our God will live for ever.’”

“Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Shout out loud the good news. Shout it out and don’t be afraid. Say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’”

“Look, the Lord GOD is coming with power to rule all the people. Look, he will bring reward for his people; he will have their payment with him. He takes care of his people like a shepherd. He gathers them like lambs in his arms and carried them close to him. He gently leads the mothers of the lambs.”

          (Isaiah 40:1-11)

 

 

The second part of the Book of Isaiah (starting at Chapter 40) continues the earlier narrative after a gap of more than a hundred years. It must therefore be written by a different author, who is referred to by theologians as 'Deutero-Isaiah', meaning 'Second Isaiah'.

Some of the most memorable words in Isaiah are found in Chapter 40 where the writer offered comfort to the people of Jerusalem who had been carried off into exile by the Babylonians in 587BC:

“Your God says, ‘Comfort, comfort my people. Speak kindly to the people of Jerusalem and tell them that their time of service is finished, and they have paid for their sins.’ ” (Isaiah 40:1-2)

“This is the voice of one who calls out: ‘Prepare in the desert the way for the LORD! Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God!’ ” (Isaiah 40:3)

“Every valley should be raised up, and every mountain and hill should be made level." A smooth route should be prepared for the king's chariot: "The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth.” (Isaiah 40:4)

“Then the glory of the LORD will be shown, and all people together will see it.” (Isaiah 40:5)

In the midst of the horrors of exile, Isaiah repeated that God had not deserted his people, and he offered hope for the future for the remnant of Jews living on Mount Zion:

“Jerusalem, you have good news to tell… Say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God’.” (Isaiah 40:9)

“Look, the Lord GOD is coming with power to rule all the people... He takes care of his people like a shepherd. He gathers them like lambs in his arms and carries them close to him.” (Isaiah 40:10-11)

In the New Testament, the Gospel writers tell us that Isaiah’s prophesies were fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ.

Mark says that John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah’s prophesy when he preached in the desert, preparing the way for Jesus: “This is the beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the prophet Isaiah wrote… ‘This is the voice of one who calls out in the desert: Prepare the way for the Lord. Make the road straight for him.’ John was baptising people in the desert…" (Mark 1:1-4 & Isaiah 40:3)

Luke tells us that the ‘glory’ (the radiant presence) of God appeared to the shepherds when Jesus was born in Bethlehem: “That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened.”(Luke 2:9 & see Isaiah 40:5)

John reminds us that Jesus claimed to be the ‘good shepherd’ promised by Isaiah: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep…” (John 10:11-16 & see Isaiah 40:11).

The photo shows the Judaean Desert where John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.

You can read more from Isaiah Chapter 40 @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/40-isaiah-offers-comfort-to-those-in-exile/words-of-comfort-after-the-fall-of-jerusalem/


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