Summary: God spoke to the people in exile through Isaiah. In the midst of their darkness, they heard the voice of grace, the voice of hope and the voice of truth.
The book of Isaiah is a remarkably long book, divided into two parts.
• The first 39 chapters talk about condemnation, God’s judgement for the sin of Israel. The people had abandoned God.
• The last 27 chapters talk about redemption, God’s forgiveness for the people, and the deliverance by a Saviour He will send.
• And chapter 40 is the turning point.
66 chapters in all - many people see Isaiah as a small Bible - 39 chapters in the OT and 27 in the NT.
• The OT telling us man has fallen short of God’s glory; we have sinned and deserved punishment.
• And the NT tells us a Saviour has come. There is hope for mankind.
The first part is a warning to the people of the coming disaster because of their sin.
• But now in Chapter 40 Isaiah was told to prophesy (in the 2nd part) to the people who would be exiled because of the fall of Israel.
• The people would be hearing this message as captives in Babylon.
God came with a message of hope:
“Comfort, comfort MY people, says YOUR God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (40:1-2).
• It is a prophesy, not in respond to man’s goodness.
• It’s God’s initiative – to show mercy and love. We love because God first loved us.
We heard the VOICE OF GRACE. God has good news for His people.
• The word comfort is said not just once, but twice.
• The voice of God speaks tenderly of “my people” and He isn’t afraid to refer to himself as “Your God.”
• This is the language of relationship. There is nothing worse than feeling abandoned and alone.
We can imagine the joy of the Jews in Babylon who heard these words, who felt as though they had been abandoned.
• They were hostages in a strange place. But now, freedom was on the way.
• Not only that, “her sin has been paid for” in the light of the coming Saviour!
• It’s a pardon granted by grace, unmerited and unearned.
The people were like prisoners serving time in Babylon, but serving time does not take away their guilt.
• That can only happen with forgiveness, and God give them that.
• God grants us the forgiveness of sin, and frees us forever from the guilt of sin!
God’s intention is not for man to live under the judgement of their sin.
• They might have made a mistake, a big one. But God’s desire is to see all men repent and be saved.
• God’s comfort is coming. He is going to provide salvation.
• This was the work of God. It was an undeserved, unmerited favour.
Forgiveness (Rolls Royce)
The great British carmaker Rolls Royce, takes great pride in the reliability of their handcrafted cars. A very wealthy owner of a Rolls Royce took it to Europe on an extended trip. While travelling in France the car had some mechanical problem. He called the Rolls Royce factory and asked that they send out a mechanic immediately to fix the problem.
The company responded in royal fashion. They put a mechanic on a private jet with all of the necessary tools and flew him over to France to make the repairs. The owner was so wealthy that he wasn’t at all concerned about the cost, and would spare no expense to make sure that his beloved Rolls Royce was properly repaired.
However, after several months he realized that he had not received a bill. He had his secretary contact the Rolls Royce factory to inquire about the bill.
He received this reply from the Rolls Royce Company and it said simply, “We have no recollection or record of any Rolls Royce having ever had a breakdown or being in need of repair anywhere in France.”
That is how God treats us when he forgives us of sin.
• Jer 31:34 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
• Whatever you have done wrong, Jesus can take care of it.
• Your spiritual needs can be met. And your past can truly be your past! Forgiven!
We heard next the VOICE OF HOPE – the Lord provides!
• In his vision, Isaiah heard a voice calling and saying, “A voice of one calling:
"In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”