Isaiah 40 is an incredible passage of Scripture that caught my attention a few years ago. Verses 12-31 so beautifully explore God’s character—His incredible power and His great love toward us. But the first part of the chapter is really like a challenge, a call to action for Israel to consider her God and proclaim His works. Let’s look at verses 9-10:
“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength;
lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him:
behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”
Zion and Jerusalem bring good news of our God! The Bible references Zion and Jerusalem numerous times; here’s a Psalm about Mt. Zion:
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion in the far north,
The city of the great King.
God, in her palaces,
Has made Himself known as a stronghold.”
We serve a holy and majestic King, a strong and powerful God, who has made Himself known. This holy mountain and city of God are even identified with His intense love for His people (“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings…” Matt. 23:37). These are just a few aspects of the character of God. Verse 10 expresses God’s strength and how He rules with authority (“the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him”); that He acts as judge, rewarding and recompensing (“his reward is with him, and his work [or recompense] before him”). A list describing God would be infinite, because God is infinite! But what I really want you to think about is who God has shown Himself to be in your life. Look at the last phrase of verse 9: “Behold your God.” What can you say about your God? Take some time to think about it and to praise Him just for who He is.
In addition to praising God for who He is, we can praise Him for what He has done. His actions are a direct result of His character. We recently celebrated Christmas—the incarnation of the resplendent God that we’re talking about. This incredible God came to rescue all of mankind from its depravity. This is the good news that we have! The Creator of the Universe redeemed you and me and lives in us today. Our God gives strength; He casts out fear and gives courage: “…lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid…”
The Living God is at work in your life. Do you see it? Seeing God in my life is one of the biggest things I’ve been learning over the last couple of years. The end of verse 9 says, “Behold your God,” or in the NASB, “Here is your God!” God has come; He is here for us to behold. We all know that God is with us, around us all the time. But one of the things that has helped me the most is choosing to recognize God’s presence and involvement in my life, any moment, anywhere, in any situation. God is present, but I learn so much more about Him and draw so much closer to Him when I take a moment to think about (meditate on) God in my situation. Choose to recognize Him in your life.
So what has God done for you? Take some time to think about it and praise Him for it. The Bible talks about intentionally remembering God’s works. Several times God warns the Israelites not to forget what He has done. Sometimes He even told them to set up stones and other markers to remind them, and to create opportunities to tell the stories to their children. Sharing testimonies of God’s work in our lives builds up faith in others…
….which we will talk about more in the next post. 🙂