Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters forty-four through forty-eight of this Old Testament book. FEAR NOT! I’M DOING A NEW THING! THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME! IDOLS AND IMAGES ARE NO GODS! SING UNTO THE LORD! MY SERVANT! I HAVE BLOTTED OUT THINE INIQUITIES! I HAVE CALLED THEE! I HAVE CHOSEN THEE! THE ETERNAL GOD OF CREATION! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find an incredible amount of language being written concerning Israel as the chosen servant of the LORD—and not only Israel as the chosen servant of the LORD, but you will also find Cyrus being prophesied of and raised up as the servant of the LORD. What’s more, is that as you read the words found in these chapters you will encounter and come face to face with the ultimate servant of the LORD whom the prophet Isaiah saw and foretold of His coming—namely, the coming Messiah and Christ. The words and language that is found within these chapters beginning with chapter forty are tremendous words of language that surrounds the future hope, the future restoration, the future redemption, and the future salvation of the people of God in the midst of the earth. Moreover, there is within this section of Scripture a tremendous emphasis that is placed upon the coming Messiah—a reality which is manifested in the opening verses and words found in the fortieth chapter. The latter portion of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah contains a tremendous amount of language concerning the Messiah and Christ who was to come, as the prophet Isaiah would continue to speak concerning this One who would come according to the word, will, time and plan of the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words found within this passage of Scripture, for the words we find here are meant to bring tremendous joy, comfort and hope into the hearts of those who were found in the midst of the nation and land of Israel. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the opening verses of the fortieth chapter of this prophetic book you will not only find the prophet being instructed to comfort the people of God, but the prophet was also to speak comfortably and cry unto her. The prophet Isaiah was to proclaim a very specific message—a message that would have at the very heart of it the words which are found in the second verse of the fortieth chapter. If you do in fact read the second verse of this particular chapter you will find the following words which were spoken of by the prophet Isaiah concerning and unto the people of God:
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith you rGod. 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” (Isaiah 40:1-2).
HER WARFARE IS ACCOMPLISHED! HER INIQUITY IS PARDONED! SHE HATH RECEIVED OF THE LORD’S HAND DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS! Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found here, for when the prophet begins to transition the language that is found within this prophetic book you will find him being instructed of the LORD to not only comfort, but also to speak comfortably unto the people of the living God. What was the foundation and heart of the message the prophet was to proclaim unto the people of God? The words and message which are found in the opening verses of this chapter were not only that her warfare or “appointed time” is accomplished, but also that her iniquity is pardoned, as she had received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. What an absolutely wonderful and powerful declaration this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for with and through these words the prophet Isaiah would shift the prophetic message he would proclaim unto the children of Israel in the city of Jerusalem and within the land of Judah. What’s more, is that immediately after the prophet Isaiah was instructed to comfort and speak comfortably unto the people of God, he would begin speaking unto them of the Messiah and His messenger—that one who would go before the face of the Messiah, and would prepare the way of the LORD. Immediately after the prophet declared that the warfare of the people of God had been accomplished, and that her iniquity had been pardoned, the prophet then transitions to speak unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, as the prophet sought to set forth this Messianic hope and expectation in the midst of the people of God. It is absolutely unmistakable when reading the words found in this prophetic book that the prophet Isaiah sought to prepare the people of God for the coming, the manifestation and the appearing of the Messiah who would and could come and appear at any time. It’s worth noting, however, that when Isaiah the son of Amoz, or any other Hebrew prophet prophesied concerning the Messiah—although they would in fact make powerful declarations concerning the coming of the Messiah, they would never reveal the specific date and time of the arrival of the Messiah.
Pause for a moment and consider this reality—the reality that although the ancient Hebrew prophets would prophesy concerning the coming of the Messiah, they would never reveal, nor would they be given the specific time of the arrival of the Messiah. Prophets such as Micah, and Isaiah, and Zechariah, and others would prophesy of the coming of the Messiah, however, they would never be given the specific day and time in which the Messiah would come. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, while the prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and yet neither prophet actually proclaimed and prophesied when the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and when the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This is actually something that is worth considering and paying close attention to, for although the ancient Hebrew prophets spoke of and prophesied concerning the coming of the Messiah, while never revealing the specific date and time of His appearing and manifestation within the earth, there would be this underlying hope and expectation of the coming of the Messiah within the earth among the people of God. What makes this expectation so incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about and consider it is that although there would be this expectation and hope that would be found within the hearts and minds of the people of God throughout the generations from the time of Isaiah the son of Amoz, there was not a single individual who knew the exact date and time of the coming of the Messiah. Although the ancient Hebrew prophets prophesied concerning the Messiah and His appearing in the midst of the earth, none of them would actually know the day or hour of His coming. With this in mind the generations which were alive at the time of the prophets, as well as the generations which would come thereafter—including those generations during the four-hundred years of silence—would need to live and move with the expectation of the Messiah who would be manifested in the midst of the earth. The generations of the prophets, as well as the generations which would come after the prophets would live with the expectation that the Messiah could appear and could be manifested at any time. With this in mind I am sure that there were those within each generation who abandoned all hope and the expectation of the coming of the Messiah altogether, for although there were the words and declarations of the prophets, the actual appearing of the Messiah would take several generations to actually be manifested. In fact, it would be the apostle Matthew in his gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ who would reveal that there would be fourteen generations from the time of the Babylonian captivity until the time of the appearance of the Messiah.
Assuming a generation is a total of forty years, and there were fourteen generations from the time of the Babylonian captivity until the actual appearance of the Messiah, one might be able to logically deduce that there were a total of five-hundred and sixty years that had passed with the expectation of the Messiah and yet no appearance of manifestation. This isn’t even to consider the fact that there were prophets who prophesied well before the Babylonian captivity and exile, which would add an even greater length of time to those five-hundred and sixty years. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that there would be at least five-hundred and sixty years between the Babylonian captivity and exile and the appearance and manifestation of the Messiah. With that in mind, consider the fact that of those five-hundred and sixty years seventy were spent in captivity and exile, while four-hundred were spent in silence. This would mean that there was quite possibly ninety years between the return of captivity and exile and the begin of the four-hundred years of silence where there would be instruction from the LORD through Ezra the priest, and through Nehemiah the governor of Judah. What’s more, is that there would be three Hebrew prophets who would prophesy during those times—namely, Haggai and Zechariah who would prophesy during the days and time of the rebuilding of the house of the LORD, and the rebuilding and repairing of the wall and gates, as well as Malachi who would be the final prophetic voice in the midst of the land and people of God. What a truly astonishing reality it is to think about and consider the fact that there might very well have been a minimum of five-hundred and sixty years that would pass from the time of the Babylonian captivity to the time of the the actual appearance of the Messiah. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about the fact that not only during the seventy years of captivity and exile, but also during the four hundred years of silence the Messianic expectation would continue to be present and manifested in the midst of the hearts and minds of the people of God. It is truly something worth pointing out that during a period of captivity and during a period of silence there would continue to be this Messianic hope and expectation in the midst of the people of God, and upon their departure from that captivity and exile there would be further declaration and proclamation concerning the Messiah, as not only would Zechariah prophesy concerning the Messiah, but so also would Malachi prophesy concerning the coming of the Messiah—and not only concerning the coming of the Messiah, but concerning His messenger who would come before His face to prepare the way and make ready a people prepared for the LORD.
As I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and wonderful reality of this Messianic expectation, I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that throughout the generations from the time of the prophet Isaiah all the way through the time of John the Baptist there was this Messianic hope and expectation that was present in the midst of the earth. What made the appearance of John the Baptist so incredibly captivating is when you think about the fact that when he appeared and was manifested on the scene there were those who asked themselves and wondered whether or not he would and could in fact be the Messiah who had long been foretold and spoken of. We know from Scripture that John the Baptist boldly, unreservedly, unashamedly, and without hesitation proclaimed and declared that he was not the Messiah, and that there was still one to come who would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. It would be when John the Baptist emerged on to the scene that men and women would begin asking and wondering whether or not the Messiah could in fact be among them in their midst. This is something that is quite captivating when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it would be the appearance and manifestation of John the Baptist that would actually cause the people of Judaea, Jerusalem, Galilee, and the surrounding area to wonder if the Messiah would and could in fact be among them. John the Baptist would emphatically and boldly declare that he was not the Messiah, but even with his declaration that he was not the Messiah, he would continue proclaiming and speaking of the Messianic expectation by speaking of one who was among them who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. John the Baptist proclaimed that he was not the Messiah, and yet even with his words during those days and time, he would fan the flames of the Messianic expectation that would be manifested within the earth. For more than five-hundred and sixty years the people of God would live with the Messianic hope and expectation, and would not only experience seventy years of Babylonian captivity, but they would also experience four-hundred years of silence. What’s more, is that during those years they would witness the collapse of the Babylonian Empire, the rise and emergence of the Medo-Persian Empire, the rise of the Grecian Empire, and even the rise of the Roman Empire. It would be during the days of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ that the Roman Empire would be the dominant super power and empire in the midst of the earth, and would rule, reign and govern over all the nations of the earth during that time. Seventy years of captivity, the rise of four different world empires, and four-hundred years of silence would ensue before the Messiah would actually appear and be manifested in the midst of the earth.
It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when thinking about the Messianic hope and expectation, for what you will find in this Messianic hope and expectation is a people who were looking for, waiting for, and hoping for a Messiah. When John the Baptist appeared on the scene, and when he began baptizing men and women in the waters of the Jordan River, and when he began preaching and speaking concerning the kingdom of heaven men and women would ask themselves and begin wondering whether or not the Messiah could in fact be among them. I happen to find this reality and concept to be absolutely remarkable and captivating when you take the time to think about it, for it would be at that time men and women would begin to truly wonder if the Messiah was in fact, and could in fact be present among them and in their midst. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truly wonderful and awesome reality, for although John the Baptist was not the Messiah, his presence in the midst of the earth would signal and signify the joyous reality that the Messiah was in fact present among them in their midst. The manifestation and appearance of John the Baptist would in fact signify and suggest the wonderful reality that the Messiah was indeed present among them in their midst, and it would be John the Baptist who would make ready and prepare a people for the coming of the Messiah. It would be John the baptist who would step on the scene—almost out of nowhere—and being baptizing men and women, and preaching the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. It would be the appearance and manifestation of John the Baptist that would signal unto the people during that time and during those days that what the prophets had prophesied and spoken of, and what generations had been waiting for was actually upon them. The appearance of John the baptist would in fact signal and reveal the awesome reality that the Messiah was indeed among them, and that the people should indeed make themselves ready and prepare themselves for the appearance and manifestation of the Messiah. What a truly captivating thought it is to think about the fact that John the Baptist would prepare a people for the appearance and manifestation of the Messiah, and yet the people would still wait for the appointed time when the Messiah would actually be manifested among them in their midst. We know that John the Baptist proclaimed twice concerning the Messiah that He was the Lamb of God, and that He was the Lamb of God which took away the sin of the world. We also know that Jesus would come unto John the Baptist while he was baptizing at the Jordan River that He might be baptized of him. It would be as Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River after being baptized the heavens were opened, the Spirit descended upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, and the voice of the Father spoke declaring that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Forty days and forty nights after that, however, Jesus would be driven into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil before He would officially begin to be manifested among men in the midst of the earth.
With this all being said, we must realize and recognize that through the ancient Hebrew prophets the Messianic hope and expectation would be fostered and created within the hearts and minds of the people of God, as they would live wondering if the Messiah could appear and be manifested in their generation. Those who paid attention to, heard and listened to the words and voices of the prophets would live their lives wondering if they could be alive during the generation that would see and experience the manifestation of the Messiah. There is not a doubt in my mind that there were a number of men and women during those generations who perhaps lived their lives wondering whether or not they were going to be the generation that would see and experience the manifestation of the Messiah who was prophesied and spoken of by the Law and the prophets. We must understand that although the prophets never prophesied of, nor revealed the specific day and time of the appearing and coming of the Messiah, they presented—according to the word of the LORD—signs that would reveal the appearance and manifestation of the Messiah among them in their midst. The ancient Hebrew prophets would indeed and would in fact prophesy and reveal signs unto those who were watching, those who were hopping, and those who were waiting for the Messiah. It is this reality that is emphasized in the gospels as the very fact that the Pharisees and priests sent unto John the Baptist to inquire whether or not he was the Messiah, the very fact that men and women would come unto John the Baptist to be b a prized by him and to hear him preach, as well as the description of Anna and Simeon suggests that there were those who were indeed living with the Messianic hope and expectation. We might very well say that the Pharisees, the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of Israel, and those who were a part of the religious community weren’t in fact looking for the coming of the Messiah, however, when John the Baptist emerged on to the scene they thought that the Messiah might indeed and might in fact be present among them in their midst. Simeon and Anna, however, were entirely and altogether different, for they both moved and operated according to the working of the Spirit of the living God within their hearts and lives. Simeon and Anna would come to see the Messiah in their lifetime because of their obedience and faithfulness before the living God, and their willingness and ability to be led by the Spirit of Almighty God. There is not a doubt in my mind that there were indeed, and there were in fact men and women who spent their days wondering whether or not they would and could in fact be the generation of the Messiah, as no one knew the exact day, or hour, or month, or year, or generation in which the Messiah would be manifested among them in their midst.
Before I transition back to the message which is found in these chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah, I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fact that there were those who lived during the times of the prophets, those who lived during the time of the Babylonian captivity, and those who lived during the time of the four-hundred years of silence who heard the words and voices of the prophets that there was a Messiah who was to come, and yet not a single one of them knew the exact time appointed by the living God when the Messiah would in fact appear among them in their generation. None of the ancient Hebrew prophets spoke of, nor did they reveal the exact time when the Messiah would be manifested among them in their midst and in their generation, and there were men and women who would live their days and spend their time watching, hoping and waiting for the Messiah. What is true of the second coming of the Messiah is and was just as true concerning the first coming and appearing of the Messiah, for just as Jesus declared that no man knows the hour when He will return once more, so also no man knew the hour in which the Messiah would appear for the first time. Although the ancient Hebrew prophets prophesied concerning the coming, the appearing and the manifestation of the Messiah, there was not a single one of them who revealed the precise day, time and hour in which the Messiah would indeed and would in fact appear among them in their midst. Despite this reality and fact, however, it was indeed possible for men and women to discern the season of the Messiah, for through the ancient Hebrew prophets the LORD would give unto them various signs that would reveal the Messiah was present among them. For those who were watching, for those who were waiting, and for those who knew the Scriptures and understood the words and message of the Law and the prophets, they would in fact have known the hour of the manifestation of the Messiah, for those things which the prophets spoke of would be in alignment with each other. The wise men from the east saw a star in the heavens and followed that star to ultimately come find the Messiah, while the shepherds witnessed a great choir of angels appearing in the heavens proclaiming the birth of the Messiah. Even without the star which the wise men from the east saw and followed, and even without the choir of angels which appeared in the night sky unto the shepherds, it was possible to discern the generation of the Messiah if you were watching, if you were waiting, and if you knew and understood that which the Law and the prophets spoke of and revealed according to the word of the LORD. Although no man know the day or the hour in which the Messiah would indeed appear and be manifested among them in their midst, it was possible that men and women through understanding the words of the prophets could understand the season of His appearing.
I am convinced that although no man knows the hour in which the Messiah is going to appear and return, it is possible that men and women can indeed understand and discern the season of His return if they are watching and waiting. I firmly believe that just as Anna and Simeon were those who were watching and waiting during their generation for the appearing of the Messiah, so also there are and there will be those in our generation who are watching and waiting for the appearing of the Messiah. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who emphatically declared that one of the greatest necessities when considering His appearing and His coming was indeed that of watching and waiting. It would be Jesus who would speak of the season and time in which He would return, and provided men and women with signs that would point to the hour of His coming drawing near. The ancient Hebrew prophets would speak of and foretell of those days that would lead to the appearance and manifestation of the Messiah a second time, as well as the apostles who would also speak concerning this second coming and appearance of the Messiah. Even Jesus Himself would speak of His return and His second coming while He was still here among us within the earth. When speaking concerning His appearing and second coming Jesus would speak of the days of Noah, as well as the days of Lot as means of understanding the social and ethical climate of the days leading up to His return and appearance once more unto men and women in the earth. While it is in fact true that no man knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Lord, it is absolutely true that we have been given everything we need to discern the season in which He will appear once more in like manner in which He ascended unto the right hand of the Father. Not even Jesus knew the hour of His return and second coming, however, He revealed certain signs that would point to His coming and His appearing once more in like manner as He ascended and returned unto the right hand of the Father. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for in all reality we have been given absolutely everything we need to discern the appearing and coming of the Messiah. We might not have been that generation which was alive and present upon the earth during the first coming of the Messiah, however, we might very well be that generation which witnesses and experiences His return to the earth in like manner as He departed and ascended. How absolutely powerful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that not only did the apostles, and not only did the prophets, but also Christ Himself gave us everything we need to discern the season of His return. The underlying question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are a people who are watching and waiting for that time when the Messiah can and will return. Are we going to be a generation of Anna’s and Simeon’s who are watching and waiting, and who are following the prompting of the Holy Spirit that we might be ready when the Messiah does in fact appear as Scripture foretold and declared He would?
With all of this being said, it’s worth noting and pointing out the words and language that is found in these chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah, for the words we find within these chapters not only speak to the coming and manifestation of the Messiah, but they also provide a tremendous amount of hope and encouragement unto a people who were watching and waiting for the Messiah. If and as you read the words which Isaiah the son of Amoz spoke and prophesied in these chapters you will find an absolutely wonderful message of encouragement that was delivered unto the people of God who were not only alive during the days and time of Isaiah himself, but also those generations which would be alive after his death, and in each and every generation that would come thereafter. The more you read the words which the prophet prophesied and foretold in these chapters the more you will encounter and come face to face with this awesome invitation not to fear. In fact, you cannot read these chapters without encountering on more than one occasion the powerful invitation not to fear, as the word of the LORD spoken through the prophet Isaiah would instruct and invite the people unto whom he was prophesying not to fear. Beginning to read within the fortieth chapter you will find example after example of the prophet inviting the people whom he was speaking not to fear, and to be a people of courage, a people of bravery, a people of fortitude, a people of strength, and a people who fully trusted and relied upon the LORD. You can act read the words of the prophet found in this passage of Scripture without coming to terms with the truth that Isaiah sought to instill courage within the hearts of his hearers and within the hearts of those who would read his words. What we must recognize is that these words were prophesied unto the Jewish people who were living in the city of Jerusalem and the land of Judah during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. We know the greatest threat and danger during those days was Sennacherib king of Assyria when he invaded the southern kingdom of Judah, took and captured the defenced cities, and attempted to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem. Of course we know that Sennacherib would ultimately flee from Judah and Jerusalem according to the word of the LORD as a direct result of Hezekiah’s resistance through prayer, and the word of the LORD which was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. With that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand this tremendous invitation to courage, and this tremendous invitation to strength spoken and given by the prophet Isaiah according to the word of the LORD. Consider if you will the following invitations which were given unto the people of God to stand in their courage, to stand in their strength, and to “fear not”:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will trend then thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall e as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:10-13).
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou s h alt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it” (Isaiah 41:14-20).
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD that God, The Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life” (Isaiah 43:1-4).
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:5-7).
“Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring us as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall. Say, I am the LORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel” (Isaiah 44:1-5).
“Fear ye not, neither be afraid: Have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed” (Isaiah 44:8-9).
Six different portions of these chapters we find Isaiah the son of Amoz speaking unto Judah and Jerusalem according to the word of the LORD—and not only speaking unto them, but also instructing and inviting them not to fear. Go back and reread each of these passages and consider just how serious the living and eternal God was when speaking unto His people, for He called and invited them not to fear, and to be a people of great courage, great strength, great boldness, and great fortitude in the midst of the earth. Despite the fact that they would walk through the fire and despite the fact they would walk through the flood, the LORD instructed and invited them not to fear, but to instead trust in Him fully and completely. Through the prophet Isaiah the living and eternal God instructed and invited His people not to fear, but to instead trust in Him. It is important that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for in the New Testament the apostle Paul would write unto Timothy who was his spiritual son in the faith declaring unto him that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. What’s more, is that it was the apostle John when writing unto the Ephesian saints that declared that there was no fear in love, for perfect love casts out all fear. Even more than this, you will find throughout Scripture the wonderful and powerful invitation not to fear, and to instead trust wholly, fully and completely in the living and eternal God. All throughout Scripture you will find the LORD instructing and inviting His people not to fear, but to instead trust in Him fully and completely with their whole heart. In fact, it would be the apostle Paul who would declare that the opposite of fear is power, is love, and is a sound mind, and it would be the apostle John who would declare that perfect love casts out all fear, for there is no fear in love. Within these words found in the prophetic book of Isaiah you will find this ancient Hebrew prophet encouraging the people to remain strong and to remain steadfast in their faith and their trust in the LORD, and to allow that strength to keep them from fearing. Despite and regardless of what the people of God would walk through and face—whether it be the threat of Sennacherib king of Assyria, or whether it would be the threat of the Chaldeans and the Babylonians later on down the line—they were not to fear, but were to place their full trust, their full confidence, and their full faith in the LORD their God. It would be the LORD their God who would uphold them, would lead them, would guide them and would protect them. You cannot read the words found within the prophetic book of Isaiah and not encounter the absolutely wonderful promise the LORD made through His servant Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning His promise to always be with His people—despite and regardless of what they faced.
I have to admit that I absolutely love the words and language that is found within these chapters, for what we find within these chapters is a truly wonderful and awesome promise given and spoken by the prophet Isaiah concerning and unto the people of God that He would be with them—and not only that He would be with them, but also that there was none like Him in the earth. You cannot read the words which are found within these chapters and not encounter the declaration of the LORD that there was none like Him, and that none of the gods, nor any of the idols which were formed and fashioned by men would and could compare to Him. In addition to the prophet inviting the people not to fear and to remain courageous and steadfast within their hearts and lives, the prophet would also bring them to the point and place where they would recognize that there was none like unto the LORD their God. If there is one truth that is found within these chapters, and if there is one reality we must realize and recognize when reading the words which the prophet prophesied and foretold, it’s that absolutely nothing in the heavens above, nor anything in the earth below, nor anything man could make could compare to the living and eternal God. In fact, I would dare say that this is at the very heart and foundation of the invitation and instruction not to fear, for the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel stood above the rest, and there was none who could compare to Him. Through these words the prophet Isaiah sought to set apart the living and eternal God as altogether separate, as altogether holy, as altogether distinct from the false gods and images of the nations round about them—even the false gods and images which certain among them formed, fashioned and worshipped. The prophet Isaiah spoke unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem concerning the LORD their God, and sought to bring them into the place where they realized that there was truly none who could compare to Him. You cannot read the words found in these chapters and not be brought face to face with the awesome and wonderful reality that the people of God were being brought into a place much like Isaiah the son of Amoz experienced when he saw the LORD seated on a throne high and lifted up in the year king Uzziah died. The prophet Isaiah saw the glory of the LORD, saw the LORD seated on the throne, and saw the train of His robe filling the temple, and it would forever alter and transform his life. As a direct result of his encounter with the glory of the LORD and His throne which was in heaven above all other thrones, the prophet would seek to set apart the glorious and living God in the hearts and minds of those to whom he was speaking. With this in mind, I invite you to consider some of the language Isaiah used to describe the tremendous truth that there was indeed none like unto the living and eternal God:
“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counseller hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity” (Isaiah 40:12-17).
“To whom then will ye liken God? OR what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble” (Isaiah 40:18-24).
“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? Saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heart, that the everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:25-31).
It is absolutely clear from the words which are found within these verses that through His servant Isaiah the son of Amoz the LORD was revealing the absolutely wonderful reality that there was absolutely none like Him, and that he alone was the God of heaven and earth who created both. As surely as the prophet Isaiah sought to invite and instruct the people of God not to fear, he also sought to separate and set apart the living and eternal God as holy and altogether different from the false gods, images and idols which were found in the midst of the earth, and even within the hearts of men, the prophet Isaiah sought to set apart the eternal God as being altogether separate from the false gods which the nations of the earth worshipped and bowed down before. What’s more, is the prophet Isaiah sought to speak unto the children of Israel and bring them into the place where they realized and recognized that there was absolutely none who could compare, and there was none who would or could be equal to the living and eternal God, for He was and still is altogether holy, and altogether separate from the gods we have formed and fashioned within our hearts and minds. As we read these words we must realize and recognize that it is incredibly difficult to place our trust, to place our hope, to place our faith and our confidence in the Holy One of Israel if we do not believe within our hearts and spirits that there is none like Him, and that He alone is altogether separate and set apart from the false gods which are present in the midst of the earth. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves is whether or not we have determined within our hearts and our minds that there is absolutely none like unto the living and eternal God? Have you absolutely and without a doubt determined within your heart and mind that there is none like unto the living and eternal God, and that He alone is holy? It was this reality which the apostle Paul wrote about in the epistle that was sent unto the saints at Rome. As you read the words which are found in this epistle you will find in the first and opening chapter the apostle writing unto them concerning those who changed the glory of the incorruptible God into something of their own imagination, and something of their own doing and imagination. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in this particular chapter you must ask yourself whether or not you have firmly settled within your heart and spirit once and for all that there is indeed none likened unto the eternal God who sits upon the he circle of the earth—that One of whom it was spoken that heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the eighteenth verse of the chapter:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because, that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a libel, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).
The words which are found written within this first and opening chapter of the epistle the apostle Paul wrote unto the Romans is actually quite captivating when you take the time to think about it—not only concerning the words which we find in the prophetic book of Isaiah, but also in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, for in the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the LORD revealing unto the prophet those who had set up idols within their hearts. It is through the prophetic book of Ezekiel we encounter and come face to face with the undeniable reality that idolatry is more than simply an external manifestation within our hearts and lives, and is something that truly does in fact begin within our hearts. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for to do so would be to miss that which the LORD desire to speak unto His people through His servant Isaiah, as the LORD declared that there was none other like Him, and that there was none whom man could compare unto Him as His equal. If there is one thing we must recognize when reading the words which are found in this portion of the prophetic book of Isaiah, it’s that there was absolutely none who could be compared unto the living and eternal God. There was absolutely none that could even come close to the One who created the heavens and the earth—a reality the prophet sought to proclaim in the hearing of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah didn’t merely speak of the coming of the Messiah, but he also sought to bring the people into the place where they realized and recognized that there was absolutely none like unto the Messiah, and there was absolutely none like unto the LORD who alone was worthy of praise, and who alone was worthy of honor, glory, majesty, praise and worship. You cannot read the words found within these chapters and not encounter the undeniable reality that the prophet deliberately and intentionally sought to bring the people of God to the place where they realized and recognized that there was none like Him, and that regardless of what idols and images they formed and fashioned with their hands and hearts, no idol or image could come close to the eternal God who ruled and reigned upon His throne in heaven, and governed the earth. When instructing and inviting the people of God not to fear, the prophet would call and draw their attention to the fact that there was absolutely none like u no to the LORD, as the LORD was, and is, and will always be altogether separate and altogether holy, set apart and separated from the idols and images which man would and could create.
What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found within these passages you will encounter the reality that the LORD spoke those things which were not yet manifested in the earth as though they already were. We know from the story and narrative of creation that the living and eternal God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence by merely speaking it into existence. There was nothing made that was not made by the direct result of the words which the eternal God spoke by the word of His mouth and spoke into existence. With the exception of man whom He formed from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils that He would become a living soul, there was not a single thing created that did not come into existence according to the word spoken from and by the mouth of the LORD. We must recognize and understand this, for when we come to the prophetic book of Isaiah we find the LORD speaking things into existence—things which would baffle the hearts and minds of the people to whom Isaiah would speak and prophesy unto. As you read the words found within these chapters you will find the LORD continually and repeatedly speaking unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem concerning those things which were not yet in existence as though they were, so that way when they actually came into existence and were manifested in the midst of the earth, they would know that it was the LORD alone who brought them into existence and brought them to pass. The words which are found in these chapters must be understood as a powerful declaration of the LORD concerning those things which He was appointing and ordaining in the midst of the earth—things which His people would and could not comprehend with their finite minds and limited knowledge. Time and time again within these passages of Scripture you will find the LORD revealing the awesome and incredible reality that He alone would bring to pass those things which He had spoken of. IN all reality, what we must understand when reading these words is that not only must we trust in the sovereignty of the LORD over what is, over what is not, and over what is not yet, but also the divine protection of the LORD which can invite and instruct us not to fear, but to instead be a people of courage, strength and fortitude. The LORD would not only set Himself apart as holy within the hearts and minds of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but the LORD would also set Himself apart as sovereign, as He alone was responsible for those things which were, and those things were weren’t yet in existence. Oh that we would read the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied and spoke unto the people of God, and that we would understand that not only is the eternal God sovereign, but the living God is also holy and altogether set apart and separate from the idols, the images and gods of this world.
As I bring this writing to a close, I feel it is absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the absolutely wonderful reality that through the prophet Isaiah—not only did the LORD desire to set Himself apart as holy in the hearts and minds of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but He also sought to set Himself apart as altogether sovereign and in control. You cannot read these chapters without encountering and coming face to face with the LORD’s sovereignty over the emergence and rise of Cyrus who would be His anointed to restore His people unto their inheritance in the midst of the earth. You cannot read these words without finding the LORD speaking of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and their destruction, devastation and demise—even before they would even rise up in the midst of the earth as a dominant empire and power over nations, peoples, lands, and kingdoms. Upon reading these words you will find the LORD setting Himself up as sovereign over both current and future events, and revealing unto His people things to come which would make their ears tingle, and would make them wonder at how such things could indeed come to pass. Within these chapters—not only do we find prophetic insight into the coming of the Messiah, but we also find prophetic insight into the rise of Cyrus who we know would be the king of Persia who would issue the decree that would not only allow the people of Israel to return unto their own land, but also rebuild the Temple of the LORD in the midst of that land. Moreover, the prophet Isaiah would go on to speak of the demise and destruction of the Chaldeans and Babylonians, as the LORD of hosts would Himself abuse them to be removed from the face of the earth, and would judge them for their actions against His people. The question we must ask ourselves as we read these words is whether or not we not only trust in the sovereignty of the living God, but also whether or not we trust in the holiness of the LORD our God. Is the God whom we worship and the God whom we serve sovereign—not only over everything that is, but also sovereign within our hearts and lives and over everything we have and everything we are? Is the God whom we worship and the God whom we serve altogether holy, altogether separate, and altogether set apart from any idol, any image, any god that is present within this world? It is absolutely up to us whether or not we are going to be a people who are willing to allow the eternal God to be both sovereign and holy within our hearts and lives, and as a direct result of His sovereignty and holiness—not only do we trust in Him fully and completely, but we also choose to stand courageously and full of strength as we make the decision that we will not fear, but will place our confidence and faith in the LORD our God.