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Logo of Talking Points, 1st Quarter 2021: Isaiah

08 Isaiah: Comfort My People

Mark Howard Kameron DeVasher
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  • February 12, 2021
    12:45 PM
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I'm Karen dovey sure and I'm Mark Howard and this is talking points we're on the 8th lesson of our eyes a study of the order of 2021 it's been a great rich study thus far and one thing that's unique about this week's lesson study is that it covers drum roll please the one chapter one single chapter Isaiah Chapter 40 now Previously we've last we look at a narrative overarching story line which was nice before that we've seen. Multiple chapters up through I think 1215 if I'm mistaken in one shot so this one is going to be simple in its structure in fact I don't want to go to all too long on about this once you give us a brief overview of Cherwell text her now so this is limited to one chapter because it's a transition point in the in the prophecies of Isaiah Ok most scholars recognize that as they begin to shift gears here now a little bit of background history from the center they have his vital commentary their comments on Isaiah Chapter one Verse one they say in many ways chapters 40 to 66 chapter 40 verse one. When I say Chapter one chapter 40 verse one you're right you're right pardon me so the f.d.a. by the commentary comments on Isaiah Chapter 40 verse 1 may go in many ways chapters 40 to 66 constitute the most important part of Isaiah's prophecy pronouncements of judgment and doom are largely in the past and the remainder of the book deals with promises of the outpouring of God's grace upon the righteous it is largely chapters 40 to $66.00 that have earned for Isaiah the name of gospel prophet sister if you would just read up to this point you'd be like where is the this is a tough book so far in the earlier part of the book well we've talked talked about this even so even the even so interspersed throughout the Clintons area like that there was a lot of promise there's definitely a shift in emphasis here Roger continues now in the earlier part of the book proclaims a message of rebuke now he says before them one of comfort and hope the previous section deals largely with the unrighteousness of the people this is where the righteousness of God is 139 are concerned largely with the success of the enemy and drawing us people away from their high ideals chapters 40 to 66 with the Lord success in drawing Israel back to its ideal position as the light and hope of the world so there's a transition a shift here in Chapter 40 launches us into that thus the title comfort my people yes I'll get back to Sunday's lesson paragraph 4. Makes this point now where we're looking at Chapter 40 and the Court of the last paragraph on Sunday's page says the 39 serves as a transition to the following chapters by predicting a Babylonian captivity at least for some of Hezekiah his descendants Furthermore the oracles of as if 131421 predict the fall of Babylon and the Liberty this would bring to God's people course we already have people who have been taken captive by Assyria right but there's also the prediction of the coming Babylonian right and so this seems to sit in the position. Of you know they've heard the judgments they've actually seen them start to come but there's no light at the other end of the tunnel that well let's let's just be clear like what it says does it make if you're sitting. On a sunny beach sipping a mind well you know version of birds or whatever that thing is from sport and somebody say hey be comforted Yeah like I am the message of comfort is that people who are not comfortable right so the context is one like they need this message come there you go Well before we get into our talking points and that is us distinction and studying through them each let's start with a word of prayer and we'll go over those one by one Heavenly Father thank you so much for another day to worship you and to live it all and to study your word Lord in these passages which were written so long ago we find such practical and relevant ministry to our souls male so bless us as we study bless us as we commune together and send your Holy Spirit to bless us for it prayed in Jesus' name amen amen so are talking points that we've drawn out of this week's lesson is our 1st and foremost lesson are those who mourn we draw on that from Sunday and Monday to quarterly now. Kind of ironically Number 2 our Talking point number 2 is that the scriptures are our only safeguard and we really not drawn that out of the lesson as a bonus this week well you draw it well I do because last week we made this whole point about there are there are things in the scripture that are are we drop out of the quarter Exactly so the quarterly doesn't explicitly bring this up but the material to Courtney's goes over in the Bible definitely has this theme in it about the importance of Scripture and the insurance right power of the Word of God but and then finally. Our work is not yet finished that's our last talking point and we've drawn that from Tuesday through Thursday as lesson the 1st Friday access summary and Ok So that's those are our talking points Lester those who mourn. In the scriptures are only safeguards and our work is not yet fair enough Ok let's dive in the talking point number one Blessed are those who mourn Well it's the lesson come for my people you know the concept of that and behold your god and all of that. I don't know where our viewers are I've heard a lot of discussion on these things and mostly positive but sometimes we we've already talked about this when we're dealing with the judgments of God even as in the comment that you made it's like the earlier part of Isaiah may sound real harsh and mean in that's the way we tend to like to toss judgment there's no love in it but there's nothing God does that doesn't have love it because he is love and so when it comes to the idea of comfort that context is that he has just. Reproved him rebuked them and punish them for their sins and now he is bringing the comforter in we might ask the question why did he rebuke them in the 1st place and course my mind goes to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says in Matthew chapter 5 blessin are those who mourn for they shall be comforted in the whole concept of the spiritual comfort the whole concept is that when we own. Only when we see our need of Christ can we appreciate. And so in the context here it's interesting in the passage so we start there Isaiah Chapter 40 when you read there Isaiah 40 wrote you version. Comfort Yes comfort my people says that says your god speak comfort to Jerusalem and cry out to her but her warfare is ended that her iniquity is pardoned for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins the voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord make straight in the desert a highway for God every valley should be exalted in every mountain and Hill brought low the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken no most of our viewers I think when you hear these words your mind probably goes to the New Testament That's right because these words are applied to the ministry of John the Baptist and it's interesting the language here prepare the way of Lord make straight away in the desert valleys exulted mountains brought low crooked places made straight the imagery is actually oh in rough places made smooth as the imagery is actually very literal that when a king would come through an area or any important official in Bible times they would smooth the road out and you know you don't have paved highways so that you feel in potholes the valleys had to be brought up the mountains the high parts had to be brought low and everything had to be leveled out and so the Bible is taking this imagery and ironically or maybe not so ironically using it to apply foreword to the work of well the word of the guy Joe they are tissue but then we know the work of John the Baptist in Luke chapter 3 Luke chapter 3 start with Verse 3 and he went on the speaking of John the Baptist course he went into all the region around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins comma as it is. In the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet in the now quotes what we just read in Isaiah Chapter 40 there is so the point to your trying to make is that whatever John the Baptist was preaching he was fulfilling this prophecy of Isaiah which your horse Isaiah would have had speaking to his original audience but there is a prophetic element if you're John the Baptist's is that voice crying in the wilderness and what is his goal in crying out is to bring the people to repentance and baptism from the remission of sins so clearly and what's interesting is says in Luke he's preaching a baptism of repentance as it is written while I read in USA where Israel is written centers it talks about speaking comfort but that's the point is it gives this clarity that this fear are not smoothing the road out that's what repentance does repentance takes the person who's high or low rich or poor puts them all on the same level we are all sinners in need of the saving grace of Christ so put you on the same level and if you don't receive it if I don't receive it I'm not ready to receive Christ so to prepare the way for a pretty heart for the recess exactly real think about this pastor Howard I think this is fascinating Luke chapter 3 when that yes prophecy of that is found its fulfillment in John the Baptist's right verse 7 the very next verse says then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him brood of vipers who warned you to flee from around therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance and so he his message prophetically is supposed to be a message of comfort right but what does he say to them he called out there since he is dealing with them straightly he's having a message that unfiltered right and I'm thinking also of for instance Acts chapter 2 when Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost his message is scathing it's built on but but the people were cut to the heart says but what happened they repented their battery was in there ready for the reception go to your point there's never a place in the Bible where the Gospel wasn't a come. Need by a call to repentance exactly the 2 go hand in hand because the one prepares the way for good that's the whole point of this passable how many times today do we see people preach a comforting message and they take out all the difficult straight parts and I think that's comforting when the reality is the comfort comes from knowing the truth and I think we've shared in a previous talking point the statement from great controversy where it says that the tendency of the modern pope is to string out the Divine just yes the divine but never once or love us I won't preach about love but not about justice right and then Anyway same concept here so it's interesting when you go to Luke Chapter 7 and Jesus is giving a pretty eulogy if you will to John the Baptist he's in prison languishing in prison where he's going to be beheaded and Jesus knows that it says in verse 29 that when Jesus finishes up in fact I'll start verse 28 Jesus says for I say to you among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist but he was least in the Kingdom of Great of God is greater than he and when all the people heard him even the tax collectors justified God which we don't use talk about justifying God I just need somebody right that God was right in sending John the Baptist notice just by God having been baptized with the baptism of John 1st 30 but the fairest season the lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves not having been baptized by him so notice that those who received the call to repentance from John the way was prepared for them to receive Christ but those who didn't receive John didn't receive Christ and then again Isaiah 40 is talking about preparing making the way plain to receive the Lord and that comfort comes to those who mourn over their sins that was with Jesus when so is given to them the Sermon on the Mount the idea of blessing and you brought up a point like those who. Who don't mourn are blessed with the blessing you homes in the reception of the truth in allowing the Lord to do his will so sometimes there's a tendency to think that proclaiming the love of God. Excludes preaching against sin and that kind of thing God forbid we separate the law from the Gospel or the reading of repentance from the gospel because the one prepares the way for the other. That moves us into talking point number 2 and that is the Scriptures are our only safeguard Now we said this is a bonus it isn't in the quarterly doesn't it isn't where early in the passage if you just want to continue right where we were starting with verse 678 The voice said cry out and he said What shall I cry all flash all flesh is grass and all that's lovely This is like the flower of the field the grass withers the flower fades because the breath of the Lord blows upon it surely the people are grass the grass withers the flower fades but the Word of God stands for ever. So I couldn't when I read through the passage I couldn't pass that up in the in the very context it's as if the Lord is trying to say that of all the transitory things of life when I say something oh he's speaking through his prophet here so part of this is that his word is coming to his prophet and he's promising them comfort he's promising them hope but what does a promise of comfort and hope do from an untrustworthy person like a person is a liar and they promise me something the big deal so God is trying to say that just as my judgments have been trustworthy instead fast and you can avert so my promises of comfort and hope and deliverance the word of the Lord shall stand forever and it isn't that you know from a Christian perspective I mean that's where our hope like the word of God anchors us it doesn't matter what anything else says we know that God can be trusted in so that in especially in the times that we're living in I think of a statement from. The great controversy where it says on page $595.00 but God will have a people up on the earth to maintain the Bible in the Bible only as a standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms the opinions of learned men the deductions of science the creeds the decisions of ecclesiastical councils as numerous and discordant as they are as the churches which they represent the voice of the majority which is to me. Not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith before accepting any doctrine or precept we should demand a plain dust saith the Lord and his support because we know the Word of God is trustworthy. And there's another statement here that I think when you share what it says there for sure he cited 76671 says there is comfort and peace in the truth but no real peace or comfort can be found in false hood that you think about the logic of that if my minister only as good as it comes to mind people like house God going to bring that how do you cover it and so you think just saying this move thing is that the no people want the truth that brings comfort she goes on it is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind through the scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind and impress this truth upon the heart thus he exposes error and expels it from the soul used by the Spirit of Truth working through the Word of God Christ subdues his chosen people to himself so she talks about the comfort is brought by the truth and then ties that to the Scriptures the Word of God and this is exactly what this passage God brings comfort to the hearts of His people through his promises there in his trustworthy word and we can depend on that word and without that word we have theories and opinions we have nothing in this world full of theories and opinions and spec of things but right of this standard that does not blow away that so it's not by accident that he puts that there right as he launches into what he is like and that moves us into this last little segment and much of what the chapter is you know come from my people and then he comes into verse 9 and says Oh Zion you bring good tidings get up into the high mountain oh you Jerusalem who you bring in tidings lift up your voice with strength lift it up and be not afraid say to the city of Judah be hold your God Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong hand and so now you're moving into God you know in his steadfastness of the Word of God stands for ever. Tell what this is what God is like and it begins to numerate things basically is lifting listing out all of the rhetorical lists it's a lot of it's well written it reminds me of job right over the lord starts describing himself or you really are you with it and now here is talking about the power of God and the sovereignty of God the wisdom of God talks about holding his people like a shepherd see what you just tenderness and what have you then he talks about how he weighs the Melton's in scales and the hills and balances just talked about his mighty powers creator so you got the power of God and then versus 1314 you know who's directed the spear Lord or as his counselor is taught him with whom did you take counsel who instructed him in other words you can destroy God He knows he knows everything is all powerful he's all knowing it he's kind in general he's sovereign because it says in verse 15 the nations are as a drop in the bucket and counted as small dust in the scales like he is kingdom is the all powerful the everlasting kind of the upshot is verse 18 To whom then will you like in God like this when you compare it is like you're trying to and this is expecting to it idolatrous as you area of time in the world's history and he's like you sticks and stones and gold and are you kidding me it's incomparable think the lesson even mentions that word write that incomparable you can't compare And verse 25 To whom then shall you like me or whom I know equal says basically God ish through is talking about the. The qualities and characteristics the character of God write it in his wisdom in his power in his care is so unlike anything else it can be compared That's right it is in a league of its own and yet And yet people don't understand it and that's the still hold like so he's proclaiming that right and then it's interesting that you talk you brought up the idea of idolatry like it says to him sure you like me and they talk of the work when you molds and images and you like you know those even people but we have to remember that this time God's own people had begun to draw some of these practices into their own faith in what began to happen is no less and in fact the lesson says on Thursday the very 1st paragraph idolatry destroys a unique intimate relationship with God by replacing him with something else in other words. These idols represented and I think I always think of the Greek gods you know Zeus and Apollo and all these stories that you know that that are fantasy of these guys and like I've asked people what are the Greek gods like I mean what are they like what are they like they're like us they get angry like us and they have adulterous affairs and they have. They kill each other and so it's so. This is an understatement I don't know how to say it it's so unlike who God is and so this proclamation that comes here in Isaiah 40 God is for the benefit of his people and the nations beyond proclaiming this dark difference so much so and this is why I'm having a hard time with it just like to whom show you like and let me know how what comparison can you even draw that God is so much more loving and mighty in all knowing in all the attributes of God even thinking of this is a little off topic slightly bit but you know in an ad been a sister you have the Kellogg apostasy where he was the living temple in. In it he was trying to describe God to closely writing messages like say you know Con is like they were God is like this in this White writes this rebuke is like you cannot compare God to the things that he has made that you automatically no matter how big a bad idea I think it lowers the God and it will it will lower your estimation of him and make him something less than he is well I think back when the lesson quarterly was talking about interpretation of scripture and stuff I think we talked about some of this that if we could explain every detail about God he would be God he would he said he wouldn't be diviners because the whole idea is he defied is. Human Ability to explain that's what like you know in some people so I don't believe in God because it's just too farfetched. You know those in other words there are things I can explain that is some of the evidence that he is higher than us anyway the lesson one of the things that brings out in Friday is this quote is great quote prophets kings page 311 says in Isaiah's day the spiritual understanding of mankind was dark through misapprehension of God That is a misunderstanding and that's that's what we're talking about here long had Satan sought to lead men to look upon their creator is the author of sin and suffering and death and these are some of the answer you find in these false gods and gods. They regarded him as watching to denounce and condemn unwilling to receive the sinner so long as there was a legal excuse for not helping him think about the heathen gods in the worship where you like you had to appease the God even. Right and these kinds of things are superimposed upon the God of heaven is what she's saying the Law of Love by which Heaven is ruled had been misrepresented by the r.c.c. for as a restriction upon man's happiness burdensome yoke from which they should be glad to escape he declared that its precepts could not be obeyed and that the penalties of transgression were bestowed arbitrary arbitrarily so the devil tried to put these things on God and one of the ways he was most successful is through false worship and give this distortion of what God was like and so the quarterly makes this asks this question on Tuesday very 1st question in. The title gives it away the birth of evangelism what kind of event is described in Isaiah 49 to 11 well as if 49 through 11 just to repeat and you who bring good tidings get into the Drew Sloan you who bring good tidings lift up your voice was straight lifted up be not afraid say to the cities of Juda behold your God Behold the Lord God shall come with a strong head in his arm show rule for him. And behold his reward is with him and his work before him he will feed his flock like a shepherd he will gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom and gently lead those who are with you oh so look at the language there and a lot of times I have heard people comment on it we read on behold you God let's just all behold in Baskin the love of god has ever said that's not what the passage is saying you know and what I mean from that is the basking point is like I'm just taking it in for me you don't so just let it go better so many of you know he loves me so much of a 1000000 but what it says is. Ironically or not so much as I've said before Ozai on you who bring good tidings and that guy doesn't use who receive this good because they received they were supposed to receive in the 1st 2 verses but no Israeli got this you got to be a giver you bring good news and good tidings is just another expression because gospel as well gospel good news good news good tidings notice get up into the higher mountains why because you want to get somewhere where you can shout it out and everybody can hear it oh Jerusalem you who bring good tidings lift up your voice with strength why you know when I think of the loud voice the 3 allowed private India right so this is you know the question is asked what kind of event and again the chapter heading for Tuesday is the birth of evangelism this is this is soul winning evangelist effort right so this is why our talking point with all this is like so far the talk of the whole of your god god so awesome he's powerful he's kind loving gentle Why is a talking point our work is not yet finished because it's not just a bask in the love of God we're to proclaim that which we know about God and the image of God has been distorted in God People are called to stand up and get on the high mountain and lift up your voice with strength and in it says say to the cities of Juda behold your goal. Think of a revelation where exactly as exact was mirrored in the Bride say Come in Let him who hears say come and I can't tell you how many but I've ad taught classes and asked people have leave that out in the spirit the bride say Come and let him who hears and there was I Come know it says Say come oh yes we're to repeat that invitation this is exactly what this is speaking to so this is clearly a call to a gospel commission you ever lose oh no that's right now let's dig just in a few couple minutes left here when it says Behold your god yes because obviously they're not just to be holding themselves they're to say to people go behold your god how do people be whole their God I mean do we want to jump right into this statement here from Christ object lessons or talk about because when I hear that phrase I think back to this state and you find a paper we talked about it I guess I'm going to talk about it either way. The collection has writing object lessons paid for 15. She writes those who wait for the bridegroom is coming are to say to the people behold your God and by the way this is not just an aside to this is are direct commentary on as a chapter 40 verses 9 and 10. To say the people behold your god the last rays of merciful light the last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of His character of love now the important distinction here thus far I mean that's that's what we're seeing in this chapter this proclamation this revelation and who's gone and who you like him to and he says just you know all this stuff but there's a it's not just a proclamation or a declaration it's a revelation of the character of God Yes. Character revelation of His character of love and the sheikhs further explains the children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life in character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them as for how I think there is too much theoretical Gospel being have recently our church as a whole lot of like oh don't look to me Look to the word or look to you which of course we should look at us of course we should study the word what people need to do what the people need is to see the word lived out and see that it actually has the power to change lives that there's a there's a capacity in more than just theory it's practical and this is what directly makes that application of the people who are comforted need to in turn share that testimony share the good news with other people that Frank this isn't about the comfort of God is not just a feeling that we yet Yeah it's a transformation Yes of the excess of experiencing the presence of God you don't experience the presence of God and not end up change what I think about all the things that let's go he's this creator has this one well I can see that I can't even comprehend that here but let me show you what it's like in daily living and surviving God's grace you know it's not a haughty kind of like look at me I'm like but as we lead people they're going to see Christ. Knew that according to Paul that's the hope of glory but I still remember an illustration that one preacher gave where he's like if I came in this room and I was all wrong on closer all rubbled up and I was like yeah I'm sorry I just I was cross the road got hit by a Mack truck but here I am you know you'd be like you're ridiculous you know you'd never believe it and he said the point the reason you'd never believe it is you know nobody would have an encounter with something that big and powerful and remain the same. And of course is what we got you were like oh yeah I'm a Christian but I did nothing change in my life I'm not transforming it can't come in contact with the kind of God described here and not be able to able exactly right and so yeah this brings us kind of full circle where it talks about covering the people in preparing the way to receive the Lord that preparation that takes place part of that preparation is leading to repentance and acceptance of the Gospel part of the preparations that transformation that comes by embracing the Gospel Well our concluding thought they were on Fridays less than our contributor here has summarized nicely saying through Isaiah God brought comfort to those who had been suffering their time of trouble had ended and God was returning to them rather than being discouraged and confused they could trust God to use his creative power on their behalf and so got it not giving up those people he's going to change them if they were going to see more of that as we launch into this whole new section as if they may want to give us a closing or a prayer let's pray Father in heaven Oh father we thank you for your word that endures forever and we can trust its promises as well as its threatenings and Lord we thank you for those things that you do to lead us to repentance and we thank you Lord that when we are led there there is that promise of comfort and mercy and transformation father I just pray that you help us to believe in your word more fully and to proclaim it with that conviction and power and that our own lives would bear witness to the Drews we profess to believe we ask. For this for Cameron eyes were leading out into all of our viewers be they students or teachers that we all would be a part of helping the world be hold the God that they maybe have never met to this point and that they would be saved in your kingdom we all would be saved and you can we thank you for hearing an answer record printed in Jesus' name.

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