Isaiah

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If you’ve got a Bible with you this morning, we’ll invite you to turn to the Book of Isaiah. If you want to, just grab one from the front, if you don’t have one on you, you can grab one from behind the black chairs that you’re sitting in. There should be some Bibles made available there for you as well. As we discussed just from the book of Isaiah, if you want to turn to a particular chapter, we’re going to focus primarily on Isaiah chapter 40. The chapter 40. Um, you turn to the studying the book of Isaiah. We are entering into a topic of discussion related to the prophets of the Bible. I’m going to move this over so you guys can see my pretty self here. Um, the prophets of the Bible. And so when when we begin to discuss the topic of what is a prophet as it’s founded within Scripture, it’s important for us to ask the question, what exactly is a prophet? Right? And we’ve passed this out last week. This was a, uh, just an outline. You’ll get this again in your notes in the future. This was just an outline of the of the Old Testament, with books of the Bible going through a series on the Old Testament and on the very top right. And those itty bitty fine print is the is the, the topic of the prophets, and it is listed for us there. And according to when they wrote in history and Isaiah is about the sixth person over, he’s the, the the next little group of two there on the top.

I don’t know if you can tell here. I got a, I got a razor or a light here. Right. There he is. These things come in handy every once in a while. Right. Um, and so Isaiah falls in at the at the time that the northern tribe of Israel has left the southern tribes of Israel and have become their own kingdom. And they’re they’re about to go into captivity. That is when Isaiah is recording his scriptures. He’s he’s writing at the same time that Micah is also prophesying and writing the book of Micah, which takes place in the Bible. And so what exactly is a prophet? And so I’m going to give us this a little bit of an outline as far as the Bible explains what the office or idea of prophets about. And then we’ll dive into the book of Isaiah together. We’re going to look at a few prophets as we go through this Old Testament series together, and Isaiah being the first for us. But when you study the, the thought of, of a prophet, one of the things I want to point out to you first is when you look at the categories of the prophets that are up in this, this, these little off collar at the top of the screen that prophets were, were an office that was carried out by individuals at the same time, meaning there was never just one prophet who led Israel.

When God called the prophets, he often had multiple prophets speaking at the same time, for instance Isaiah speaking as the same time as Micah. Many of these prophets overlapped one another in ministry, and just because they have a book in the Bible doesn’t mean those are the only prophets that God used. Elijah and Elijah, for instance, are some of the famous prophets found in the in the Book of Kings. Elijah and Elisha don’t have a book of the Bible, but their stories as being prophets are written within Scripture. And so whenever there was a a prophet in the Old Testament, there were always multiple prophets prophesying at the same time. And the word prophet just really means, in the simplistic form to proclaim. And the idea in office of a prophet was this there was there was the job of foretelling and the job of forth telling. Most of what the prophet did was foretelling. They would they would proclaim God’s Word to the people. But sometimes the the prophet would foretell. He would predict what would happen in the future to as a warning sign to the people to turn back to the Lord. God used the prophets to represent him to the nation of Israel. And so it’s the opposite of the office of the priest.

We’ve seen the office of priest together. As we’ve gone through the series, the office of priests represented the people of Israel to God. And now the prophet represents God to the people. And when you read Deuteronomy chapter 18 and verse 18, it says this I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put my words in his mouth. This is talking about Moses, and Moses is saying this to the people, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And so the way that a prophet viewed what he was saying, both foretelling and foretelling for the Lord, was that it was God’s words in which he was sharing in the New Testament first Peter chapter one and verse 20 and 21 describes the the proclamation of God’s Word in the same sense that these are God’s words. And so when you see the prophet writing to the people, he they would often say, thus saith the Lord, meaning, hey, you’re going to want to listen to this. I’m not making this up. I’m not just pulling this out of the air. God told me this. The Office of prophecy, though, came with particular warnings for us as people. And if you read in the same chapter of Deuteronomy 18 and verse 20, it says this. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

That’s pretty harsh. We think of the sensitivity that God had directed towards the particularities of His Word. When God spoke, he wanted his prophets to understand and to communicate that exactly as he spoke it. To not make it up and just proclaim that God said it. Sometimes I like to think that people will often use this word in in religious backgrounds as calling themselves as prophets, just for the purpose of giving themselves elevated position among people. Um, but what it tells us in Deuteronomy 18 and verse 20 is that if someone were to do this and claim to have this office and speak on behalf of God, and it’s not true, Old Testament law was put them to death. God took his word in the proclamation of his word very seriously. In fact, he repeats the same command in Deuteronomy chapter 13, specifically in verse five, when you get to the New Testament, Jesus gives us this. Well, I didn’t write it down. You get to the New Testament. Jesus gives us warning in Matthew seven and verse 15, beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Jesus is saying, there are going to be people that come to you that proclaim to be prophets. They are not prophets, they are wolves. Let me tell you, when it comes to someone who claims to be a spokesman for God, many people who are spokesmen for God that aren’t really representing God are delusional in their position for the Lord.

Uh, it sounds rude, but just to be serious about God’s Word, it’s that way. And here’s here’s the case with people like that. The Bible calls them wolves, but they don’t understand themselves to be wolves. What they really understand themselves to be are misunderstood sheep. And so when someone is a false prophet, you’re not going to find them coming to you and saying, hey, I want to tell you something that God told me, and I’m a false prophet, right? Doesn’t work that way. They mix in among the sheeps and fool themselves into thinking that they’re just a misunderstood, understood sheep. The way that Jesus refers to them in Matthew chapter seven and verse 15 is that the ravening wolves, which means when someone comes into your life and they’re attempting to foretell or foretell what they want you to know about the Lord, the way that you determine that if someone is a false prophet is, is to determine what they’re saying and and see if it matches up God’s word. If it doesn’t align with God’s Word, then what they’re proclaiming is contrary to God, making them a false prophet. In first Thessalonians chapter five, Paul’s warning was prove all things and hold fast to that which is true or that which is good, depending on which translation you read.

Or in acts 17, Thessalonica, those in Thessalonica or Bri, or more noble than those in Thessalonica, because they received the Word of God with readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily to determine if it was true. So they are listening to the teaching of God’s Word. And then they were going back to God’s Word to validate that the two are aligned with one another. As you consider just the warning of being a false prophet. I would say that when people get to this position, I like to elevate themselves by qualifying themselves as a prophet in position. For me, it’s always seemed to be a scary place. It tells us in Hebrews 11 and verse 37 talking about prophets. They were stoned, they were sawn in two. They were tempted. They were put to death with the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted and ill treated, saying to me as an individual, if I claim to to share God’s Word and God’s message, and I elevate myself to a position of being a prophet, that that position should not be one that I readily want to desire. If there’s any way to avoid it, avoid it, right. Matter of fact, Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 37, when it says they were sawn in two. In this passage of Scripture, it’s in reference to a tradition taught about Isaiah.

It’s believed that Isaiah, whom we’re looking at today, when he was proclaiming God’s word, his his proclamation of God’s Word, lasted for decades into the reign of the King. King Manasseh. King Manasseh was a wicked king, and King Manasseh had Isaiah placed within a stump and sawn into. Claiming to be a prophet for the Lord meant that the message that you often shared with God’s people was one of rebuke and one of repentance. If I know anything about people is that our tendency is to live a little bit rebellious. And when you confront me to my face with the things that I’m doing contrary to God, and you proclaim that before me, my tendency is to not not thank you for that, but want to smack you for that, right? And if I’m king, maybe saw you in two over it. And so when the office of profit was was pronounced within the Bible and prophets represented God, the the reaction of the people towards the prophets was one that that would often persecute them. Jeremiah, another major prophet that takes place during this time period was referred to as the Weeping Prophet. And you look at Jeremiah’s ministry. There was nothing positive about the ministry that Jeremiah had to endure. He watched the kingdom of God being ripped into and wrote the Book of Lamentations, which means a book of Tears, describing all of this destruction that happens within the nation of Israel and the land of Judah.

Last. I would say this for us today according to the scriptures, um, you don’t need the prophetic office in the sense of foretelling. The reason I would say that to you this morning is this if you were to read the book of Ephesians in chapter two, it describes for us the office of apostle and prophet, and it says, so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household, having been built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Notice in verse 20 it describes what the purpose of the the position of apostle and prophet is. It says that the apostles and prophets God sent them for the purpose of laying a foundation. When you have a house built, the first thing that goes up is the foundation. After the foundation is laid, you don’t then lay another foundation. It’s finished. Right? And the description is this. When it comes to the office of apostles and prophets, God sent them before Christ to lay the foundation. And now we as people are building the household upon it. It tells us in verse 21, we are that temple being built together, the holy temple in the Lord.

Meaning what happened in the New Testament is God’s Spirit has now come to dwell within you. God’s Spirit is the one that convicts and moves within you. And so in Hebrews one and verse one and two, it says this God, after he spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets, in many portions and in many ways in these last days, has spoken to us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the world. Meaning the office of a prophet is fulfilled in Christ, and God’s Spirit now works within you, and Jesus moves within your life to convict you according to his truth. Jesus is your prophet. I would say. The Bible goes on to explain to us now, while it relates to foretelling that the purpose of the prophet was to warn of coming judgment and the coming of the Messiah, and the Messiah has now come, and I think all of Scripture will be fulfilled, and the message has been complete. That foretelling is not not necessary. But fourth, telling the proclamation of God’s Word is something that we all need to continue to sit up under for ourselves and the growth of our relationship with the Lord. We need to open God’s Word and share it and proclaim it with each other. This is odd, maybe to say out loud, but. But I preach Sunday’s message to me before I get up here on Sunday mornings.

Often several times, I talk to myself. If you ever passed me in the grocery store by by Monday, I tend to know what I’m already going to say. And if you see me in an aisle and you hear me saying something, you may be assuming I’m talking to someone, but I’m usually not foretelling not not only God’s Word on Sunday morning, but to myself proclaiming God’s words and the significance of God’s Word for my life. That that the Lord can use His Word to convict me and to challenge me and to strengthen me and empower me for what he has called me to do. Similar verses of Hebrews chapter one Matthew 1113. It’s in your notes. Luke 1616. It says the same thing in former times. God spoke to the prophets, to the time of the Apostle John in the last days comes to us through Jesus. If someone comes to you claiming this position. Now, I would say it’s an abused position today in society. I would say that for me on Sunday morning that we are prophetically proclaiming God’s Word. But what I simply mean by that is we’re forth telling God’s Word. We’re proclaiming it. We’re not predicting anything. We’re proclaiming what God has already shared for us. But any time anyone ever represents that position and speaks on behalf of God, however you could title that the. The point is for us to align it with God’s Word to determine that it is true.

And Isaiah. Claims to be a prophet of God. Isaiah wrote a book as a prophet of God, which is an incredible book for us to study. He begins under the king Uzziah and he. He continues to proclaim God’s word to the King of Manasseh. Isaiah’s message toward the end of this book predominantly goes to the southern tribes of Judah, and he warns them against the the sin in their lives and the conquering of an Assyrian kingdom. During Isaiah’s prophetic ministry to the nation of Israel. He’s warning of sin and the the northern tribes go into captivity in Assyria, and the southern tribes are about to be conquered as well. And Isaiah goes to the southern tribes of Judah and he proclaims God’s truth for them. He calls them to repentance in the nation of Israel moves back to the Lord. You can read about it in First Kings chapter 18 and 19. Excuse me, Second Kings chapter 18 and 19, and Chronicles chapter 32. Isaiah shares his message in those books with the nation of Israel. And as Isaiah preaches to Judah, Judah finds himself in deliverance from the Assyrian king Sennacherib. But then in chapter 39, Isaiah begins to warn the southern tribes of a future kingdom that may bring them into exile, which is the Babylonian Kingdom in chapter 39. And the theme of what the book of Isaiah is about is found within the name Isaiah.

Which literally means salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Isaiah’s intentions in everything that he proclaimed to the nation of Israel is to keep their eyes on Jesus and the coming of his kingdom for what God desires for his people. Knowing that the Messiah would bring a kingdom that would bring the greatness of the Lord for the nation of Israel, and setting them free. The impact of the Book of Isaiah is enormous to us as we come in studying, especially in the New Testament. Out of all the prophets in the Old Testament, Isaiah is quoted more than any of them. Isaiah is quoted more than 50 times in in the New Testament. It’s been dubbed the Little Bible. When you read the book of Isaiah, you’ll find out that the book of Isaiah has 66 chapters. Your Bible has 66 chapters. The first 39 chapters deal with the holiness of the Lord and his judgment. Your Old Testament has 39 books. The. The remaining 27 chapters of the Book of Isaiah deal with the salvation and the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament has 27 chapters talking about the grace of the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah’s book parallels the Bible. When you study the book of Isaiah, you find that that within the contents of this book contain powerful verses in the identification of who God is and our relationship to him.

It tells us in Isaiah 714 and thinking about the coming of Messiah, it says, therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and will call his name Emmanuel, which means God with us. This Messiah would be born of a virgin we seen in Isaiah nine six together over Christmas. The role of the Messiah will be a child will be born in the government, will rest upon his shoulders, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and the Prince of Peace. This Messiah will come, and he will rule and reign over his people with a sense of peace. The Bible identifies in the book of of Isaiah that there is only one God. When when Isaiah was watching the nation of Israel being taken into captivity under many gods, under a polytheistic system, he reminds them in this proclamation that there is only one God that is to be worshiped. In Isaiah 4310, you are my servants, declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was no God formed, neither will there be one after me. There is only one God. Isaiah 44 six thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts. I am the first, I am the last, and there is no God beside me.

There is there. Is there any other God beside me, or is there any other rock I know of? None. Isaiah reminds us of the existence of one God alone. Isaiah also reminds us of our idea of sin in relationship to religion. Our tendency is to live religious lives and proving to God our worth before him that he may embrace us. And Isaiah simply proclaims to people that there is in fact a separation between us and God. But your good works will never reconcile the distinction in that separation between you and your maker. He says in Isaiah 59 and verse two, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he does not hear you. And so the solution within our religious minds are, can we do something about it? And we tend to attempt to do good works to appeal to God. So Isaiah says this in in chapter 64, for all of us have become like one who is unclean. All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. All of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind, take us away. And so it’s even saying before the Lord, even our righteous deeds, even our good deeds, even the works that we would say religiously fit within our culture to be distinguished as good before God, as seen as unclean.

The only salvation. Comes to the Messiah. In the name of Isaiah reminds us that salvation is in the Lord. One of the most powerful chapters in all of the Bible. At the end of Isaiah chapter 52 and Isaiah 53. A description of what Jesus would do for us and offering himself for our sins. And it says in chapter 52 and verse 14, I think that Jesus movie is coming out this week, doesn’t it? Well, you’ll see this, I’m sure. The crucifixion. Right. And so it says. So his appearance was marred more than any man and his form more than the sons of men. In chapter 53 and verse five, he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening of our well-being fell upon him, and by his scourging we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. Each each of us have turned to his own way. But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to following him. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he didn’t open his mouth like a lamb led to the slaughter. And like a sheep that is silent before its shears. So he did not open his mouth. And the interesting thing about Isaiah 53, in the description of the crucifixion of Jesus, is that Isaiah is describing this crucifixion hundreds of years before Jesus goes to the cross and before the crucifixion even existed.

Isaiah’s ministry, Isaiah’s book and the theology it proclaims, and the power that it’s presented to the world, both Old Testament and new, has been incredible. One of the my favorite chapters in all of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, comes in Isaiah in chapter six. This is the calling of Isaiah, where God sets him apart for the ministry in which he is going to put him forth into the nation of Israel and to the land of Judah. Isaiah describes for us what it looks like in his calling, as he is called up before God. And it says this in the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of his robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above him, each having six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory. And that tells us based on the word of the Lord is is proclaimed in heaven, that the foundations of heaven shake before God. And the imagery of the description in which Isaiah gives us this passage of Scripture is just beautiful to us. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on it, because we’ve looked at it together as a church in detail recently, but I would say this just some markings for us.

If you’ve ever looked at this calling that before, God calls you anywhere in this world. It’s important for us to understand his authority above us and his holiness before us. And the power that he possesses us, as he calls us, calls us into the world to represent him. And Isaiah sees that. Isaiah sees him in his glory. The Bible records that when the angels proclaim the the beauty of God, that when you read about angels in heaven, the tendency of angels is to always cry out over the holiness of God. Holy is the Lord. And in this passage Isaiah mentions the name Holy three times, which in Hebrew tradition, any time a word is mentioned three times, it means over and above set apart unimaginable, unfathomable in our minds as to what it represents and what it’s saying about God and His holiness, is that God is so holy that he can’t even be compared to, and our minds can’t even begin to describe or grasp the way that God has displayed himself to Isaiah. As the Bible describes, Isaiah points out that it’s seraphim that are surrounded by God, which translates as literally angels of fire, and that God is the Lord of hosts, which means a king ready for battle. And so the description of Isaiah as he comes before this throne, the heavens are shaking before the power of the words that are just proclaimed before this God who is so holy, he can’t even be compared to these angels on fire around his throne.

As he looks at God, God is prepared for battle and his battle is coming against sin. And so Isaiah’s response within this passage is to say, woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips, and I am a dead man before you. God. When Isaiah confesses his sin before the Lord, the Lord sends an angel to touch Isaiah’s lips with a cold from off the altar, signifying his forgiveness in the Lord. And and as God does that he then calls Isaiah to represent him in this world. By his power. The Book of Isaiah. Theologically and Imagery and Purpose and Meaning is a wonderful book for us to value. And throughout the centuries, people have highly valued Isaiah and what he has represented. As a matter of fact, at the turn of the last century BC into the first century A.D., there were a group of people known as the Essenes. The scenes were a people group that had lived and moved into the desert. They we know about them through archaeological finds. They’re not really described within the Bible, but they existed at the time of Jesus and just before the coming of Christ. They lived in small houses on the mountains, secluded from the culture and society.

They they oftentimes walked in white robes where where they were found. Sometimes they intermingled within towns and cities, but for the most part, they were segregated from most lifestyles left to themselves. They would build these stone huts on top of mountains. And these individuals, the Essenes, were dedicated to know God’s Word. And they loved the book of Isaiah. And they lived very modestly at the top of these mountains. They would build these homes, and just below the mountains you would find there was a school that they would build in dedication to God’s Word within the schools. The the scenes would just study God’s Word and record God’s Word and read from the scrolls of God’s Word, wanting to know God’s Word more and more. The the thought within their lives of Deuteronomy eight three was this he might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. The duty that the assigns understand that God had called them to in this world, was to preserve God’s Word, to understand God’s Word, and to proclaim God’s Word. You know the interesting thing about the lifestyle of the assassins? They’re so dedicated to God’s Word that they would write it on scrolls and preserve it and protect it. The Isaiah chapter 53, which we studied or looked at together just a minute ago. The proclamation of Jesus, who was going to die on the cross, what was going to be like when the Messiah came, and how he was going to suffer for our sins? Do you know that the argument for that passage of Scripture used to be in Isaiah 53, that Isaiah had to have been written sometime far after Jesus came, or at least at some period after Jesus had come.

In Isaiah chapter seven and verse 14, the Bible says he’s born of a virgin, and nine six representing what he’s going to be in this world. And in Isaiah chapter 53, he’s dying on a cross for your sins and for mine. There’s no way Isaiah could have predicted that Jesus would have done those things. So the book of Isaiah had to have been written after Jesus had come. Even though Isaiah existed in the eighth century BC, that was the argument made against the book. In 1946, a little shepherd boy was wandering in the hills of Israel. He stumbled upon a cave. In fact, it wasn’t just one cave. It was several caves. Little boy threw a rock inside. He heard a pot break. He then goes into the cave and he discovers what we refer to today as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Within that cave and over a dozen other caves. Over the next few years, archaeology was able to uncover an entire library that the assassins had recorded. Found the Old Testament. In fact, they had found the Old Testament, some copies of it hundreds of years older than Jesus.

And within those copies, the Book of Isaiah. Matter of fact, I think until Easter you can go up to Salt Lake City, to the museum in Salt Lake City and tour what the Essenes had written and placed within those caves. Their contribution to society at this point. Came in incomparable in archaeological discovery. The Bible that Jesus would have carried. A Bible older than Jesus himself. Validating that what Isaiah wrote existed hundreds of years before Jesus came. These are scenes. Loved God’s word. You know, one of the things that I’ve noticed is I’ve studied this group of people is I’ve asked this question, why, why, why? They live in a desert. And then I asked myself that question. Why am I living in a desert? I can’t fault them. But when you study them and I would tell you this morning, you don’t want to be exactly like the scenes in everywhere, because these people are a little off. They’re kind of like the Jewish Amish people, right? I need my telephone or whatever. Electricity or, you know, but but their dedication to God’s Word just speaks with into our lives. But why in the world would these people live in a desert? You know, one of the strange things about them is while they they lived in the desert, one of the things they believed is that God wanted them to drink living water.

They were very literal in the way they interpreted God’s word. And so they felt that God wanted them to drink living water. So in a desert, they build this huge channel system all the way back to their little huts where they lived. And it was coming from a pool of water, and it flowed into their town. And so it made living water that they could drink from. As an example of Jesus who would come and being that living water. Some even believe that John the Baptist, if you study his background and way of thinking that he himself wasn’t a scene. You think about John the Baptist and how simplistic he lived his life as one who was in the wilderness, right? Isolated from society, the tendency of the a-scene’s was to believe in a baptism of repentance. They pushed that heavily upon people who wanted to join their community. And John, out in the wilderness, is calling society to a baptism of repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In a matter of fact, I’ll share a verse with you in just a moment that the Essenes held to that John the Baptist would often proclaim. But the reason the assassins lived in the desert. Was because of the book of Isaiah, of Isaiah. You turn to Isaiah in chapter 40. The scenes held chapter 40 of Isaiah as the foundation of their society and the purpose for which they felt the Lord had called them to in this world.

You read in chapter 40? If you start with verse three, it says this A voice is calling, clear the way of the Lord in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. You see? Why do these scenes live in the desert? Well, it says clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Do you know where we’ve heard this said before? If you were to open the Gospels and turn to the beginning of every gospel, you would find that John the Baptist quotes Isaiah chapter 40 and verse three in preparation of the Messiah. John the Baptist is looking for his coming. And so were the scenes. And it says in verse four, let every valley be lifted high. If you ask the question, why did the Assyrians live in the desert? But not only the desert, why did they live on the mountain? It says, let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough ground become plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. So the assassins had this idea that salvation was in the Lord and that Jesus was returning.

And as close as they could get to the coming of that Messiah, that’s where they desired to be. It’s like the the equivalent today. If we said this, I think the Oscars or Grammys are coming soon, right? And we all well, I don’t do this, but the red carpet. Right. That’s important to some people. I could care less, but they roll out the red carpet and the red carpet signifies, man, that person is important. If we could just walk down that red carpet. We’re to bring someone important here. You think about a bride walking within a church for marriage. They like to have the aisle way and sometimes pave the way for her coming, rolling out the carpet or the white carpet or whatever it is that she walks up on. That’s what they’re saying here about the coming of the Messiah. Whenever a ruler or dignitary would come into a society, they would level the ground to make his travel easy. And what Isaiah is saying in this passage of Scripture, from desert to mountain, from to to the valleys, the Lord is coming in. This coming will be so great that the expanse of his coming needs to be paved. And it’s it’s enormous in its size. Story goes on like this. The grass withers in chapter 40 and verse eight and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord our God stands forever. Get yourself up on a high mountain.

O Zion, bearer of good news. Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news. Lift it up. Do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, here is your God. Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with his arms ruling for him. Behold, his rewards is with his. Excuse me. His reward is with him and his recompense before him. Let a shepherd, he will tend his flock in his arms. He will gather the lambs and will carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes. In your scenes. This coming will be so great. Get on the mountains and just proclaim it. God’s word lives forever. Live in light of that word. And they did. God will make schools to learn it. God will build our our houses on the rooftops of mountains and just just pronounce your coming. And they did it. And so he concludes the chapter with this. Isaiah in chapter 39 is just warned the nation of Judah, or excuse me, of Israel in the southern tribes of Judah. That Babylon will take them into captivity. And so he reminds them in chapter 40. But the Lord is powerful and the Lord is coming, and the Lord will make his great, his way great, and the Lord will rescue you. And so after he ends 39 on a negative note, he ends chapter 40 on a positive note and he says this.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired. His understanding no one can fathom, is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, he increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired under captivity, and vigorous young men stumble badly. Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow tired. They will not walk and not become weary. As scenes get on the mountains and proclaim this John the Baptist, go through the wilderness and proclaim this. He turned to the New Testament. And you understand that Isaiah is quoted more than any other prophet. Having an understanding of Isaiah’s message becomes important to understanding the New Testament. John the Baptist was excited about the coming of Jesus. John the Baptist preach the name of Christ and called people to look for the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist couldn’t wait for this kingdom that was to arrive. What can I tell you? John the Baptist also didn’t fully understand what Jesus wanted to do. Bible tells us that when Jesus came the first time, what Jesus did was to set us free spiritually to him, to give us new life. But the Bible also promises that Jesus is going to return a second time physically to this earth and finishing establishing the kingdom for which he promised to bring to us.

Jesus would walk around and tell us the kingdom of God as at hand, but he also taught us to pray, God, thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Meaning Jesus initiated and brought forth the kingdom, but the kingdom to his fullest will be brought to us fully. When Jesus returns physically and establishes his kingdom on earth. John the Baptist didn’t understand. In fact, many of the Jews didn’t understand. They thought when Jesus came, they couldn’t distinguish between the prophetic coming of Jesus, between the suffering of Christ and Isaiah 53 and the promising of the kingdom that he would establish in Isaiah nine and verse six. Before Jesus established his kingdom, Jesus had to come as the ultimate sacrifice for sins that we may trust in him and enter into his kingdom together. John the Baptist didn’t understand it. And in Matthew 11 and verse two, it says this. Now when John, while imprisoned John the Baptist, was taken to prison, he said he heard of the works of Christ. He sent word by his disciples and said to him, are you the expected one, or shall we look for someone else? Meaning John the Baptist had this expectation of what Jesus was to accomplish, and here he finds himself in prison. He’s thinking, Jesus, if you’re coming to build this kingdom, just start it already so I can get out of this jail and enjoy your presence forever.

I don’t get it. Then Jesus responded and said this. Jesus answered and said to them, go and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at me. Do you know what Jesus is quoting? Jesus’s answer to John was an answer for the Essenes. He pulled from the Book of Isaiah. He knew. John saw himself as the proclamation of Isaiah, chapter 40 and verse three. And so Jesus goes to Isaiah in chapter 35. And he says to John. John. Thy kingdom is here. You may not understand it fully, but that kingdom has come. Isaiah 35 and verse four. Jesus quotes Isaiah and the proclamation of what the kingdom will represent. And it says, say to those who have an anxious heart, be strong and fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance and recompense of God. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf stopped. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy, for waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

John. The kingdom is here. It’s why in Matthew chapter six and Luke chapter 12, when Jesus comes forth proclaiming his message, he says to the people, seek fourth the kingdom of God. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all of these things will be added to you. By living on the mountaintops and by John making that proclamation in the wilderness. Do you know what they’re saying to us as people? They’re saying this, that God’s kingdom is my priority, that God, whatever your kingdom is and whatever that kingdom is coming? God, my desire is to be present for that kingdom. I want to experience it, Lord. I want to be close to it. God, I want to give everything that I am for this kingdom that you proclaim. God, let me be a part. Isaiah’s book for us. The proclamation of a kingdom. It’s a proclamation for us of the testing of our hearts to determine if it rests with the kingdoms of this world. Or the kingdom of our God. You can hear the echo. Of Isaiah chapter 40. These people you can imagine within your minds as they just think through their desire for this kingdom. Their society is falling apart. They’ve been pushed out and isolated. They’ve segregated themselves in a sense of hopelessness, but in a desire to dedicate to God’s Word. You know, I think when you consider the lifestyle, the scenes and look at what they’ve done, I wonder, as they isolated themselves as a society and simplified their living, if they considered the contribution they would make to Christianity centuries after they were gone? Their faithfulness.

2000 years later, I can drive to Salt Lake City into a museum and appreciate the sacrifice of these people who loved God’s kingdom so much that they didn’t allow their desire for him to fade, but proclaimed it and loved His word. Make straight the paths upon the mountaintops. Shout the coming of this kingdom and the rival which it’s to bring that that the young may grow strong, not weary. And the deaf may may hear. And the lame may walk. And the goodness of the Lord made known in our lives. So I guess this is the request from Isaiah this morning. I’m not asking you to become an Amish Jew. What I’m asking you to do is to seek his kingdom first. We don’t know the full contribution that God would use us to make within our lives time. But what God has called us to do is to be faithful to him and to put our eyes upon that kingdom. To look for the return of that Messiah and celebrate what God is going to do in the future through this kingdom that is to come. We seek it first. That as we consider the proclamation of his kingdom and appreciation of the kingdom which is to be represented, we value the Word of God.

Isaiah 40 tells us it endures forever in verse eight. It’s a matter of fact. If you were to read Isaiah nine six, which we’ve seen, and move on to verse seven, it says this there will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace on the throne of David over his kingdom. And sometimes we talk about salvation in the Lord and we just think about ourselves, right? Like I would say to you today, Jesus died for your sins. Jesus wants you to stop trusting in yourself and our self-made religion. Jesus already paid for everything for you on the cross, and Jesus desires a relationship with you. He created you for that, that you may reflect his glory in this world. God wants you to know him and enjoy him forever. And so the challenge for us would be to surrender ourselves and turn to Christ and embrace what Jesus has done for us. Jesus desires that relationship with you. That is the gospel. It’s it’s me centric. This is what Jesus has done for me. Jesus demonstrates his love. And while I’m yet sinners, Christ died for me. While I’m in my ugliest state. Jesus loves me. Jesus dies for me. Jesus forgives me because Jesus desires a relationship for me, with me. And he created me for that purpose that I might enjoy his goodness forever and reflect his glory always.

But I will also say this. The gospel is much bigger than that. The gospel is a message of peace. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their sin devastated the world. And we know it within our spirit. Within our soul. There is a part of us that looks into the world and sees the magnitude of God’s glory. As you visit the beaches and the Grand Canyons and and the Rocky Mountains and all of those things. And you say to yourself, wow, God is incredible. And there’s worship within ourselves as we look at something just greater than us. But on the back end of that, we also recognize and things just aren’t right. Looking within society today at at death and loss and and warring in Ukraine and whatever else is happening, we lose loved ones and there’s tragedy within our relationships. And at the same time you’re thinking, I just want peace. I mean, have you ever done this? You you go on vacation for some peace and you come back from vacation. You’re thinking, I need a vacation from my vacation. That was not peaceful. Where is the peace? Our world. It just needs a piece. And the brokenness within us needs peace. And the grief that we experience and the heartache that we share, and the way that our souls tear apart are the things that happen. We just. We just need peace. And we talk about the coming of this kingdom.

It’s not just about us. It’s this king whose reign will be so great that it says in Isaiah nine seven, there will be no end to the increase of his government or of the peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom. This king, when he comes, we make his name known greatly, and we level out this past because what our hearts desire is the peace of this kingdom which Jesus represents. We long for this peace. Can I tell you this morning? The reason we seek after this kingdom is one is God’s glory is so great. But also, no matter what we crave in this world, and no matter what we desire to satisfy ourselves with, there is no peace that can compare to the coming of the King who will establish his rule. And reign and peace will be experienced throughout all of the land. That seems. Why are you on that mountain? Because I want that kingdom. John, why are you in the wilderness looking like Chewbacca, man? I want the kingdom. Church. Why are you here this morning? Because I want that kingdom. I’ll look at this world that’s broken and falling apart. And my soul just aches. For what tears at us. And I say, man, God, bring your kingdom. Your kingdom come and your will be done. And I seek first the kingdom. How far will you go? Just to make that name great. Seek first the Kingdom of God in all of these things will be added to you.

Ruth Following God

Hosea