According to Isaiah 40, what’s our dilemma? There’s a huge problem. You and I cannot fulfill our destiny. The problem is mentioned twice in vv. 1-2 of chapter 40…SIN
Most try to deny this problem and appeal to the goodness of man. Scripture writers reveal that the path to freedom and to fulfilling our destiny is to acknowledge the problem. You have fallen short of our destiny… Romans 3:23 –…All have sinned and fallen short of what? Of the glory of God. We have missed the mark of God’s glory. In fact, sin makes us think that we can steal part of God’s glory for ourselves. We’ve exchanged our glory for idols (Ps. 106:20; Jeremiah 2:11; Romans 1:23-25).
The group Destiny’s Child in its Arts Against Aids Benefit concert speaks of our perplexing situation. “What’s going on in a world filled with pain. Where’s the love for which we pray. What’s going on? When our children can’t play. Homeless can’t eat. There’s got to be a better way. What’s going on? When we politically blind…Can’t see the signs of endangered times. What’s going on?”
We live in a world that has missed the mark. Our affections have been weakened and are misplaced. C.S. Lewis said: “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” The key then, is to be most pleased by that which is most worthy: the infinite, glorious God.
You cannot see and experience God’s glory without being consumed. Remember the prayer of Moses in Exodus 33. “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”
None can see his glory to their comfort but those who stand upon this rock, and take shelter in it.”
What’s God’s delight? To speak and bring comfort to the hearts of his people. To resolve our dilemma and bring comfort to us by revealing to us His glory (vv.1-2).
This message of comfort begins with the amazing news that we will fulfill our destiny of seeing and experiencing God’s glory since our fundamental problem of sin has effectively been dealt a fatal blow.
Seeing and experiencing the glory of the Lord does not mean that we are consumed. In this passage, it means ONE THING: God delights to forgive our sin and deliver us from its ENSLAVING power.
That last phrase, “double for all her sins,” does not mean that God has punished the nation twice what their sins required. This is a reference to an Eastern custom. If a man owed a debt he could not pay, his creditor would write the amount of the debt on a paper and nail it to the front door of the man’s house so that everyone passing would see that here was a man who had not paid his debts. But if someone paid the debt for him, then the creditor would double the paper over and nail it to the door as a testimony that the debt had been fully paid. This beautiful picture therefore is the announcement to us that in the death and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus, our debt has been fully paid.
To you this wondrous word of forgiveness and reconciliation is directed. All that is needed is to confess your sinfulness and believe that God himself has borne your sins in Jesus the Messiah. “Your iniquity is pardoned, you have received from the Lord ‘the doubling’ for all your sins.”
Here is the NT reference for this idea. Colossians 2:13-14 — …He forgave us all our sins, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it where? To the cross.
If you want to learn more on how to connect to Christ, I would invite you to pray for the very first time the prayer that Moses prayed in Exodus 33:18: Then Moses said, “… show me your glory.” I would urge you to obtain a New Testament and read through the gospel of John. It is a wonderful encouragement to know what the future holds and to know the One who will come again to consummate it all and we will marvel at Him with all of His worshipers.