「But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;」‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭‬‬

Pastor Ino

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 This is the eighth message from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. From today, we will learn the fifth part of the book of Isaiah. It is written in chapters 40-55. The main content is prophecies about salvation by Jesus, the servant of the Lord. Before these prophecies, there is the 4th part (Chapter 36-39), which is about historical records, so I would like to briefly explain about its content before talking about today’s passage. In chapter 36, it is written that Assyrian king, Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem. He speaks to the people of Judah, “Any gods in any nation could not rescue their people from the Assyrian attack.” He continued to say that even the Lord cannot deliver them. Let us remind ourselves that all authority on this world is only for a temporary. Unfortunately, there are always those leaders who put themselves in the position of God. But the message of the Bible is very clear, that any authority on this earth is given by God. God gives temporary permission to these leaders. These authorities are given to serve God with humble heart, to love their people, and to serve for the welfare of the people. The King of Assyria, who didn’t have such humble attitude, was going to be judged by God, which is written in Isaiah 37: 36-38. At the same time, the prayer of Hezekiah, the king of Judah and the answer of God are written in this historical record. Although Hezekiah was a believer, it didn’t mean that he was perfect. In Chapter 39, when the King of Babylon asked for an alliance, Hezekiah showed everything he had (39: 2). He chose to depend on people, instead of God. Then, Isaiah spoke to Hezekiah,「The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord.」(Isaiah‬ ‭39:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬) Just as Isaiah prophesied, about 115 years later, the Southern kingdom of Judah was taken captive to Babylon. From this passage, we are encouraged to come to God for His help first, instead of coming to people for their help. It might be quite challenging for us to do that, but let us come to God for His help and for His guidance, before coming to people.
So today, we will start reading Chapter 40, which talks about the message of liberation.
It can be understood as a liberation from the Babylonian captivity, or as a message of liberation from sin by Christ. Not only that, it can be understood as the work of God’s perfect liberation that He gives in the last days. Now, please read Chapter 40.

Isaiah 40:1 says,「Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.」The new era has come when the message of comfort is spoken. Verse 2 says,「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.」No matter how miserable and sad the experience of the Babylonian captivity was, the time of liberation has come. It is said that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for. This message is not limited to Jewish people. It is also a message to us, Christians who are invited to the new Jerusalem. No matter how miserable our previous life may be, we will be free from trouble, our sins will be paid, and the time of liberation will come. This message of comfort comes from Jesus Christ. Verse 3 says,「A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.」This prophetic word refers to John the Baptist in the New Testament. He shouted in the wilderness. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”(‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NIV)‬‬
We also want to establish a long-awaited attitude for the Savior. By faith, we can receive a message of comfort.

In verses 6-8, It talks about human fraility. That is why we need to believe in God’s Word and trust Him. Our life is like grass. Its glory is like a wild flower, but it says,「The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”」(‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭NIV)‬‬
I imagine this message brought hope to these people who were about to experience the Babylonian captivity. At the same time, I believe that this message speaks to us that if we do not know the frailty of life, we cannot fully understand the value of the gospel.
From verses 9 to 11, the closing words of the message of comfort are written. We believers need to convey this message of comfort. We speak as long as we can that Jesus Christ is my savior, my shepherd, and the one who carries me close to his heart. (11)
Verses 12-26 clarifies to the reader who God is. Using the words “with whom” and “to what” (18), it clarifies the existence of the Creator, God. Verse 26 says,「Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name…」‬‬(Reference; Psalm 147: 4. ) The one who created us calls the names of each of us.

 Verses 27-31 are the passage of the invitation to faith. As you can see in verse 27, people are easy to get lost. There are times when we could close our hearts saying “No one cares to listen to my complain!” However, we should live in response to the invitation from verse 28. Our God wants to give us comfort. He is the one who can give us redemption of our sins. He has great power and mighty strength. (26) And He is the one who created everything and He knows each of us. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (29)
Let us read Isaiah 40:30-31.「Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.」
Together, Let us look up at the eternal God, our Creator. Let’s wait for Him, as our strength will be renewed, we will soar on wings like eagles. Instead of being caught in the small world, let us take a look at the world from the perspective of God. Together, I would like to respond to this invitation to faith.

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