Wednesday, 25 November 2020
‘‘Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.” -Isaiah 57:14
The passage in our reading today is God’s plan for those who are contrite and humble in their heart! As outlined in chapters 40 – 48, God’s heart always is willing to comfort His people. Although God says He abandoned Israel for a brief time, when He understood their repentance, He comforts them!
The stumbling block referred is the idolatry described in verses 3-13. It is important to note that although God is almighty and completely unapproachable to the proud, He reaches down to lift up those who humble themselves before Him. The two expressions in verse 15, “High and Exalted” may be rephrased as “exceedingly lofty” and “High and Holy” may be re-phrased as “unsearchably high.” Yet God is always willing to associate Himself with those who are contrite in their hearts and who genuinely repent.
God’s nature of love always desired to see the restoration His people who have backslidden or walked away from Him. A similar approach can be read in Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” God is willing to make a way for the restoration of the penitent. 1 John 1:9 it says: “But if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Such a great and precious promise in Christ is available for all who truly repent and return to Him!
In verse 15 it says that He will REVIVE the spirit of the lowly and REVIVE the heart of the contrite. Repentance precedes revival. As stated in verse 18, “…. I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him….” and in verse19: “Creating praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,”— praise and peace are the resultant effects! God’s interaction and man’s decision to repentance leads to revival that leads to praise and finally to peace!
However, there is only one way to receive peace and comfort - that is at the foot of the cross! That is the significance of preparing the way!! It is a call to prepare the way by removing all stumbling blocks (idols) from the way to the cross, where one will receive divine peace from the suffering Saviour. There is a peaceful rest for God’s people. "Rest in God" (Heb. 4:9-10) means a status of total trust in Him, where all struggle ceases. It is a continuous confidence that God, “the Great I Am” is with us in all our situations!
It is interesting to note that the 66 chapters of the book of Isaiah can be divided into two distinct parts of 39 chapters and 27 chapters resembling the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. Even the message of the first 39 chapters summarizes the message of the O.T. and the message of the last 27 chapters summarizes exactly the message of the N.T. The middle chapter of the second section is Chapter 53 and the key verse in that chapter is verse 5, which sums up the central theme of the New Testament “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Will you repent of the idols of your heart, be humble to come under the lordship of Jesus Christ thus preparing your way to the cross, and receive the peace and comfort available from Jesus Christ?
Think on: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)