Behold, Your King

November 27, 2016 Download: Audio Notes

Isaiah 40

Several universities are offering safe spaces for students who feel, well, unsafe. At Brown University, these spaces are “equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies.”[1] Regardless of whether you think it a good or bad idea, we can agree that the feeling of tension and uncertainty in our country is on the rise. But the answer isn’t safe spaces with cookies and coloring books. That won’t solve any of the foundational problems that led to people feeling unsafe. You see, the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.

In at least one significant way, our situation and Isaiah’s is the same. People feel like the world around them is unraveling and we need something solid to stand on for hope. Nothing else will bring lasting comfort.

So when we come to this chapter, we find Isaiah speaking into this sense of despair. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah’s job has shifted from the prophet of doom and gloom to the prophet of comfort. But his comfort is not like the comforts offered in the “safe spaces” built on cookies and coloring books. Isaiah’s comfort is built on something very tangible – the advent of the Lord. This is of such significance and weightiness and finality that God sends out 3 heralds to announce it. The first voice announces the preparation needed for the revealing of the glory of the Lord. The second voice announces the absolute certainty of the Word of the Lord. The 3rd voice heralds His arrival.

These three heralds shape the content of the rest of the chapter and frame for us 3 questions.

  • What does the advent mean?
  • How can I believe it?
  • What does it mean for me?

[1] Shulevitz, J. (2015) In College and hiding from scary ideas. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html?_r=0 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).