Behold, Your God!
The announcement, “Behold your God!” is found in Isaiah 40:9. As we read the rest of that chapter, there is no question that the entire chapter prophesies the coming of the Lord Jesus.
ISAIAH A MINI-BIBLE
As our Bible is made up of 66 books, 39 from the Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament; so Isaiah contains 66 chapters. The first 39 chapters (as the Old Testament) speaks primarily of judgment for sin. The last 27 chapters, beginning with Isaiah 40, (as the New Testament) prophesies primarily of the coming of Jesus and salvation through Him.
It’s true that even in the first section of Isaiah, we find prophecies of the coming Saviour, just as we find prophecies of Christ throughout the Old Testament. For example, in Isaiah 1:18 we are invited to be saved and find cleansing from sin. Isaiah 7:14 is a clear prophecy of Christ’s virgin birth and in Isaiah 9:6-7 there are prophecies of the character and ministry of Christ. In Isaiah 11 we have a wonderful prophecy of His future Millennial reign on the earth.
However, most of the first 39 chapters of Isaiah deal with God’s judgment on heathen nations which have harmed Israel, God’s beloved chosen people.
ISAIAH 40, A CHAPTER OF GOD’S COMFORT
As the 27 books of the New Testament emphasize the person and work of Christ and His wonderful salvation, so the last 27 chapters of Isaiah, beginning with Isaiah 40, deal with Christ and His salvation and the comfort He brings to our hearts.
The first word of Isaiah 40:1 is “Comfort“. Peace and comfort and joy are qualities that only come to those who by faith have come to Christ for salvation.
All the religions of the world are about you and me doing something to gain or inherit our salvation. They all lead to a life of fear and bondage as people attempt to merit salvation by their own self efforts. Hebrews 2:14-15 tells about that lifelong fear and bondage that religion brings. Ask any religionist, including the Protestant who has never been saved, about his chances of going to Heaven and he will tell you that he hopes to go there and he is doing his best he can to merit Heaven. Such a person is still lost in his sins.
Roman Catholics light candles and pay for Masses for their loved ones in a vain hope to have them released from Purgatory, an invention of the Roman Catholic Church.
Muslims willingly commit suicide and killing others in the vain hope of satisfying their god.
In summary, all religions, like Cain’s in Genesis 4, regardless of the brand; teach that Heaven is attained by our works and our sacrifices. All those counting on their own works to inherit Heaven are lost and will spend eternity in Hell.
Biblical salvation, on the other hand, is all about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That sacrifice is pictured in Abel’s accepted blood sacrifice in Genesis 4 in contrast with Cain’s unacceptable sacrifice of the works of his hands. All the other animal sacrifices for sin throughout the Old Testament are types or pictures of Christ who made the ultimate full, complete sacrifice of Himself on the cross in payment for all our sins; past, present and future.
God’s wrath, which should have been poured out on us for eternity in Hell; was poured out on His Son, Jesus, as He hung on the cross, dying for our sins. Jesus paid the full price. He cried out as He died, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? God the Father turned His back on His Son as He suffered and died for our sins so that He would never have to turn His back on those who trust Christ for salvation.
Why on earth would God go to that extreme to save us if there were any other way to be saved? We do not appease God for our sins. Jesus is the propitiation, the appeasement of God’s wrath, for our sins, as is taught in Romans 3:20-28 and I John 2:1-2 and 4:10.
Jesus is the one and only Mediator between a Holy God and sinful man. Learn that truth in I Timothy 2:5-6. Mary and those others the Roman Catholic Church canonizes as saints, cannot mediate for us. They are sinners themselves in need of a Mediator provided by God Himself.
Now read Isaiah 40:1-2. This is what it is teaching. For those who trust in the finished sacrifice of Christ on the cross, there is nothing you need to add to the sacrifice. The penalty for your sins has been paid in full. Listen to the description in Isaiah 40:2 of one who trusts Christ for his salvation. “her warfare (against God) is accomplished”. Read Ephesians 2:13-17 in connection with this. Now back to Isaiah 40:2. “her iniquity is pardoned” and get this, “she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” The payment for our sins is more than enough. It is double what we needed. Putting it in monetary terms, if it took one billion dollars worth of God’s grace to save us, He has given us two billion dollar’s worth of His grace: far more than enough!
What a comfort we find when we put our trust in Christ and quit trying to earn our own way to Heaven! No wonder this chapter is filled with comfort. God is telling us to quit beholding our own self righteousness which He describes in Isaiah 64:6 as stinking, filthy rags. He is telling us to get our eyes on Him and behold Him and what He has done for us on Calvary.
Note, how in Isaiah 40:3 we get the obvious hint that He is speaking of Jesus. He is speaking of the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist who introduces Jesus to a world of sinners. Compare John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus in Matthew 3:1-3 with this Isaiah passage.
So as we Behold Jesus in the New Testament, we are beholding God. Let’s put our emphasis on each of these three words one at a time. Behold Our God!
Behold your GOD!
As you read through Isaiah 40 you will behold God as the all-powerful Creator, as your Saviour and as your kind, gentle Shepherd caring for His lambs. As you compare Isaiah 40 with the four New Testament Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, you begin to recognize that Isaiah is referring to Jesus: our Saviour, Shepherd and God. For convincing proof that Jesus is God, the Creator and Sustainer of His universe, read John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1 and Revelation 1. Yes, God Himself came down to earth in human flesh as God the Son to sacrifice Himself for our sins. How much more proof do you need to believe that God loves you a sinner?
Now as you read Isaiah 40, note again how God is our Creator in 40:12-31 our Saviour in 40:1-2 and our Shepherd in 40:11.
Jesus is I AM. Do you remember the story of Moses in Exodus 3 when He met God in a burning bush that was not consumed? God identified Himself to Moses as the I AM. Note in John 8:58 that Jesus made that same claim concerning Himself. It infuriated the Jews and they sought to kill Him right on the spot.
Jesus is Immanuel, (God with us) Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23
Jesus is one with the Everlasting Father. Isaiah 9:6 John 10:30
Jesus was born a baby boy. In the person of the child, Jesus; God’s Son was given. Isaiah 9:6
He is the Wonderful Counselor to us through His Word and His Holy Spirit.
He is the mighty God. Isaiah 40:28-31
He is the Prince of Peace. John 14:27 When you trust Christ, you will immediately discover this peace that passes all understanding He not only brings peace to our hearts now, as believers; but one day He will bring peace to the whole world when He returns to reign.
Behold YOUR God!
Christianity is not a mere religion or set of doctrines. It is knowing Jesus experientially through His Word as our Creator, Saviour and Shepherd.
The Apostle Thomas discovered this intimate personal relationship with Jesus. Read his touching story in John 20.
Can you say with David in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is MY Shepherd”?
Is it your heart cry to know Jesus personally as the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10 expressed his desire “to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” as the experience of his life?
BEHOLD Your God!
The dictionary definition of the word BEHOLD means to keep in sight, to observe, to discern, to focus our attention.
We behold and focus our attention as we spend much time in the Bible. Isaiah 40:8 tells us of the eternality of His Word. Don’t focus on your pastor, including TV and radio preachers. If they give you God’s Word, test what they say by the Bible. But don’t blindly follow a preacher just because you like his personality or style.
Don’t focus on a denomination or association of churches. If you focus on Jesus; then preachers, churches and denominations will take their proper place in your life. Don’t focus on the political situation in the land. Don’t focus on the economics situation. Don’t even focus on a cause, such as “Let’s put Christ back in Christmas” in our communities. You can be involved in any cause that concerns you; but your focus must be on Jesus.
Don’t even focus on worship experiences and how they make you feel. A worship experience can lead you astray. The Bible will keep you on course. Psalm 138:2 challenges us to magnify God’s Word even above Jesus’ name. In Psalm 1 the Blessed Man is the man or woman who does not listen to and walk in the counsel of the ungodly; but meditates day and night in God’s Word. In short, test EVERYTHING by God’s Word.
The Results of Beholding Jesus
We grow in godliness. I Peter 2:1-2
He removes our fears and gives us His strength. Isaiah 40:8,13
We become like Jesus. II Corinthians 3:18
As we enter the New Year and into new situations and experiences in our lives, God’s Word will keep us from pessimism and fear and give us hope for tomorrow. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us “For I know the thoughts and plans that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” The NASB translates that phrase, “to give you a future and a hope”.
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