Summary: This text bring out some truths about God’s discipline
We all can think about times in our life when we went against God’s will.
Probably the most memorable part of being out of God’s will is the discipline
we encountered as a result of disobeying God. When it comes to being out of God’s will and discipline, I recognize discipline in two senses. The first sense of discipline is the “results” of that sin that we are dwelling in. That is, the hurts and inconveniences that are associated with sin. For instance, if a believer chooses to smoke and he gets cancer, the cancer is a result of the smoking and not necessarily God’s punishment. But then there is God’s punishment. There have been times in my life where I have been out of the will of God and things have happened to me and the Holy Spirit convicts me that they are a result of my sin against God. As we read our text we are going to discover that God’s people have sinned against God, they stepped out of His will therefore as a result of their sin He has allowed the enemy to exile God’s people to a foreign nation. Let us read our text.
(Isa 40:1 KJV) Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (3) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Because of Jerusalem’s disobedience, God has administered His discipline by allowing the nation Babylon to take Jerusalem captive to their land. Along with God’s people, they confiscated Jerusalem’s temple treasures. In these times when a nation came and confiscated another nation’s temple treasures it meant that they not only took that nation captive but they also defeated that nation’s God. This was a double insult to God’s people. Not only were they taken into slavery and treated like prisoners, but also day after day they had to listen to the enemy nation taunt them because their God was helpless in their defense. If we are to be honest with ourselves, sometimes we feel the same way. I have many times been going through trials and tribulations and wonder where God is in all of it.
In studying this passage, I asked the question, What lessons could I learn from this text pertaining to God’s discipline? So let us look together and discover these lessons.
[I] The first lesson we can learn is God’s discipline is sorrowful.
I used to get spankings as a child and from time to time my dad would tell me this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you. I would say sure, but not in the same place. When you and I are out of God’s will or dwelling in sin, His purpose for discipline is not to make us hurt, but His purpose is to make us repent. The prophet says “Comfort ye, comfort ye.” That word comfort is found 13 times in the book of Isaiah from chapter 40 to the end of the book. It is found twice here for emphasis. The word in Hebrew means “to ease, to pity, to be sorry, to give some relief. Indeed there is great sorrow involved in being exported to another nation and treated as slaves. I am reminded of God’s people in Egypt as they cried out in sorrow for God to send them a deliverer that would lead them out of bondage. Notice verse 2. The text says “speak ye comfortably to Jersalem, and cry unto her…” The sorrow was so intense that one goes from speaking comfort to crying out for it. Isaiah’s progression from speak to cry gives us a hint of the intensity of Jerusalem’s sorry and their great desire to be given some relief from the sorrows of their disobedience.
Notice that phrase, “cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished…” The word “warfare” in the NESV is supplemented for the words “served her time.” In the NIV it is “hard service.” Again the idea here is that the discipline we encounter, as a result of our disobedience is of great sorry and discomfort. This ought to stand as a warning for us the reader. The warning is this; if we are going to do the crime we are going to do the time. Our God loves us and His discipline is used to keep us from suffering everlasting hurt and irreversible consequences. I like to watch television shows about detective work. In our modern times forensics are almost flawless. I have seen where a criminal has been found and pronounced guilty for his crimes based on a single strand of hair. You would think that with forensics the way they are today many would be less tempted to commit a crime for fear of being caught. Beloved, this text should stand as a warning to us that if we fall to temptation or continue in the sin that we are in there are going to be disciplinary results as seen fit by the Father and the discipline of God bring about great sorrow. There is a second lesson we can learn from our text when we consider God’s discipline.