End of the Exile

The second half of the book of Isaiah.  The first thirty nine chapters warn of suffering and exile to come, beginning with chapter 40 it turns to the period towards the end of the exile from Jerusalem, and was actually written (we believe) 150 years later.  This second half of Isaiah is almost entirely poetry, and beautiful poetry it is!!   This passage speaks of the coming Messiah, and we as Christians have the luxury of hindsight to know how many of these prophesies will be fulfilled.
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”   We know now that this was foreseeing John the Baptist , especially because Gospel accounts link the first verse with John.  Israel’s punishment period for sin will be over, and her status as the people of God will be restored.  (Hosea 1:9 cut off the covenant from God).   
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.    We are but grass, a part of creation.  Everything created will fade away, but the creator will never fade away.  We want to think we are equal with God, but the ultimate truth is that our lives are temporary, all that we acquire in this life is temporary.  Only the eternal is eternal.
Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”   Again, beautiful poetry and imagery.  First thing, the coming Messiah will come through the Jews, and they, like us, are to announce it to the world!!  They are not to fear the Babylonians who dominate their world.  They are to announce the coming of the kingdom of God for all to hear!!  He is coming, and will gather his scattered flock.  He has come, and is still gathering his flock.  And He will come again to gather his scattered flock.  Some of us have already experienced the Good Shepherd gathering us up from addictions and catastrophic habits we’ve had.  Can we expect an exile similar to Israel and Judah leading up to His second coming??


“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:2-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/isa.40.2-11.esv

 

John Lewis

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