Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Isaiah Post 19 - The Inheritance of the Shepherd and the Majesty of the LORD (chapter 40B)

This post continues in Isaiah chapter 40, since my last post only got through verse 9.

Picking up with verse 10, we are in a last days context.
Behold, the LORD God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.

Who is this Ruling Arm?  It is the Messiah, Yeshua, who isn't merely seated at the right hand of God, He is the arm of God.  There is but one throne in heaven.

God is One, but He manifests in different contexts.  The Hebrew word for one is echad- which means a plurality within a unity.  For example, a basket of fruit is a singular basket of fruit but contains many fruits.

God is spirit. Yeshua the Messiah is the physical manifestation of God Himself.  One of my favorite preachers uses the expression, "God Loves and Yeshua Does."  He is the action part of God.

And the Holy Spirit is the very breath, power, and presence of God. The Hebrew word for spirit,  ruach, means breath or wind. As believers, we get to have that very breath and power of God's spirit dwelling in us!

Ruach HaKodesh - Holy Breath of God
Verse 10 also tells us that His reward is with Him. What or who is His reward? We, the people of the nations, are His reward, His inheritance. We often think of our own rewards that we earn while on earth and that will be coming to us in the kingdom, but do we stop to consider the LORD’S reward? 
  • Hebrews 12:2 - Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross
  • Psalm 2:7-8 - He will receive the nations for His inheritance
  • Isaiah 19:25 - My people Assyria, Egypt, and Israel My inheritance
  • Matt 4:8-9 - Yeshua is offered the kingdoms of the world by the devil
  • Revelation 11:15 - All these kingdoms have become His
Verse 11 wraps up with a picture of a loving Shepherd who cares for His flock.

He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

This can be compared to John 10 - the Messiah, our Good Shepherd.  This tender loving care is a reversal for Jerusalem, over whom Yeshua wept in Matthew 23:37.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See! Your house is left to you desolate;  for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

Even though desolation did follow in 70 AD, there remained a promise that someday Israel would say, "Baruch haba b'shem Adonai... " blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Interestingly, this Hebrew phrase is still used to describe the arrival of a Jewish bridegroom...

Isaiah goes on in chapter 40 to describe aspects of God’s greatness… the glory, majesty, and sovereignty of YHVH.

Verses 12-14 are filled with rhetorical questions, and of course, the answer is NO ONE!
  • Who has measured the waters?  (Think of the vastness of the oceans.)
  • Who has weighed the mountains?  (Have you ever picked up a single boulder?)
  • Who has taught the spirit of the LORD in the ways of knowledge, justice, and understanding?

Verses 15-17 go on to describe the smallness of the nations compared to God.  He is sovereign over them all.  Lebanon was famous for cedars.  Burning them all would not be a sufficient offering for our God.

And then verses 18-20 give us a comparison of idols to the Holy God.  Man has a tendency to create a likeness/idol, and then try to put God in a box or somehow capture His greatness.  

Also, a bold prophecy is about to unfold in an upcoming chapter of Isaiah, and idols cannot predict the future the way our God can.  He knows the beginning from the end.

Verses 21-26 provide a vivid description of God’s greatness and sovereignty.  This can be compared to Job 38, which itself is filled with rhetorical questions (and is actually a biblical science exam).
            Have you not known? Have you not heard?

Verse 22 mentions the sphere of the earth,  Isaiah knew the earth was round even back then.  (Maybe if people had read their bibles, America would have been discovered sooner?)

In verses 24-26, Isaiah also reiterates the idea that mankind is like grass, followed by the absolute majesty of God.  What a contrast.

I am reminded of this riddle:  What is greater than God, more evil than Satan, rich people want it, poor people have it, and if you eat it, you’ll die? 

The answer, of course, is NOTHING.

In the following verses beginning with 27, Israel questions God’s ways toward them.  Why was He not standing up for them?  What follows is an emphasis on God’s goodness and provision. 

Both names, Jacob and Israel used here, and refer to the same person.  His name was changed when Jacob made Elohim his God.  Jacob went through a time of wrestling with the LORD, and then when his name was changed to Israel, he was promised the covenant blessing.  Israel means both struggles with God and Prince of God.  Jacob wrestled with the LORD all night before he received the blessing, the name change, and the covenant blessing.

So in this section, we see the nation of Israel going through hardship.  Hardship strengthens and refines us.  Psalm 13 is a good example of this.  We need to keep the faith through hardship. 

Beginning in verse 28 through the end, Isaiah continues to describe the LORD's greatness and also His goodness.  Have you not known? is asked yet again. The repetition of this phrase is a Hebrew literary form of emphasis.

He does not faint or grow weary!
We humans faint and grow weary, even strong youths, BUT…  not HIM!

This amazing chapter wraps up with verse 31:
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint

Those who wait... the Hebrew word kavah means to eagerly look for, hope, expect.  Literally, it means entwined together like a rope.   It is to be bound together with the LORD like a braided rope.  

 The Hebrew word for renew is chalaph; it means to change, to be changed, as in changing one’s clothing.  An example would be clothing ourselves with Messiah in Romans 13:14.

Because HE does not grow weary, if we are attached to Him, we are changed/renewed and will be strengthened and can soar like eagles.

May I just share some traits of Eagles?
  • They easily soar above all the problems of the earth
  • They will never surrender to the size and strength of their prey
  • They fly higher than other birds, up to 10,000 feet
  • They have long distance vision; they can see another eagle soaring 50 miles away
  • Eagles love the storm and will fly into it, using the wind of the storm to rise higher
  • Male and female eagles mate for life and are attentive to their children, the most among birds
  • The mother teaches its offspring to fly, putting them on her back and then dropping and catching them
  • They build their nest in high, safe places to protect their young
  • They will sit in absolute stillness on their nests
  • Around age 30, eagles retire, pluck off their feathers, knock off their own beaks, remove their talons, and undergo a 5 month metamorphosis, growing new body parts that give them another 30-40 years.  They “change their clothes,” so to speak and are renewed.

No wonder nations take the eagle as their emblem.

For the next post in this series on Isaiah, click here.

If you would like to start at the beginning of Isaiah, click here.

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