The Lord Returns

The God Who Restores, a Love God Greatly Advent Study

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

Today’s SOAP: Isaiah 40:10-11

9bSay to the towns of Judah,
“[Behold] your God!”
10 Look, the Sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior;
his military power establishes his rule.
Look, his reward is with him;
his prize goes before him.
11 Like a shepherd he tends his flock;
he gathers up the lambs with his arm;
he carries them close to his heart;
he leads the ewes along.

Isaiah 40:9b-11
Observations: Behold Your God!

From the first words of this chapter, Isaiah’s message changed from one of coming doom to one of comfort and peace and the coming of the LORD, the God of Israel. The message becomes one of hope and preparation for His return – a message of making a way, removing obstacles, and getting ready to see God’s work. Israel had known hills and valleys and mountain top experiences in their life time – but they were not to let them stand in the way of seeing God and what He would do. -They were to make a way for “all people to see” when His splendor that would one day be revealed (5)

The people of Judah are called to “behold [their] God”. Behold has such a different connotation than glancing or noticing, it is more like gazing or fixing your eyes on something. It was an invitation to take a lingering look, to look intently – as if to study God for who He is and how He is. For instance, as Isaiah points out- God and His Word are eternal and unfailing! He can forever be trusted!

Isaiah doesn’t just present the message/invitation for the people to Behold their God, but he gets specific, pointing out the mightiness and yet the tenderness of God:

  • The LORD our God will come
  • He will come as a victorious warrior
  • He is strong and mighty
  • He comes prepared to reward His people
  • He is like a shepherd
  • He cares for His flock
  • He is tender and protective with the lambs
  • He keeps them close and carefully, knowingly, tenderly leads the vulnerable
Application: So what does this mean for God’s people today?

Of course, this message was first given to the people of “Israel”, – but in light of the fact that we have been adopted into God’s family, as sons and daughters – we too are called to “Behold our God”. To look at Him, gaze upon Him, study His life, know His love, and pour it back out on others. In this there is both comfort and peace. I believe for the full scope and application of this passage we must not miss or hesitate to look at the full message of Isaiah in these eleven verses, namely verses three and four, where we read:

  • Clear a way for the LORD – (in other words, remove the obstacles)
    • level the road
    • elevate the valleys
    • level the mountains and hills
    • where there is rough terrain needs to be a level plain
    • the rugged landscape a wide valley

Why? Because if they don’t, if we don’t, we will miss what God is doing and is going to do.

Finally, we must not be afraid to present our God to others – boldly drawing their attention to who He is “the Sovereign LORD, coming as a victorious warrior, a powerful ruler, who will reward those who belong to Him”; and also how He is – “A [tender] shepherd, who tends his flock, gathering up the lambs with his arm, carrying them close to his heart, leading the ewes along.”

Is there anything better to occupy a believer’s mind than to focus on God and then pour Him out to others?

Mefromtheinsideout –
Prayer: Response to God’s Word

Father, today’s passage calls us to look to come and behold You – to gaze upon You and see You not only in power and might like a warrior but as a shepherd who tenderly and lovingly leads Your sheep — keeping them close to Your heart and protectively leading those who are vulnerable. I’m so thankful to know You as a God of comfort and peace who will come in power and might! Admittedly, I rely on both.

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