READ: Isaiah 38-40
BACKGROUND: This is a really cool section of Isaiah. Chapter 38 shows how amazing God is and how he answers prayers…even big ones! Chapter 39 is only 8 verses long, but it closes off the beginning section of the book that deals with God’s judgment. Chapter 40 kicks off the 2nd section of the book of Isaiah (chapters 40-66) that shift away from God’s impending judgment of his faithless people and move towards the hope that God wants to give his people for their ultimate hope and redemption.
38:8 – This was a westward facing stairway so the setting sun should have caused the shadow to move up the stairs. God confirmed his promise to Hezekiah by having the shadow move down the stairs.
18 – Sheol is a word that refers to death or the land of the dead.
39:6 – These prophecies were fulfilled during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
40:12 – The entire universe is tiny in scale compared to the mightiness of its Creator.
THINK: Isaiah 40:3 is a really cool verse that foretells the arrival of John the Baptist on the scene to prepare hearts and make the way ready for Jesus to come and bring the gospel – and ultimately salvation – to the world (see Matthew 3:3). John had a specific call and purpose, and his life was dedicated to pursuing it. His job, in short, was to shine in the midst of a dark culture, to call the people in that culture to repent and return to God, and to point those people towards Jesus.
I think that God has a similar call upon every single one of us. He wants to use us to shine as lights in the midst of a dark culture. He wants us to be salt in a decaying culture. He wants us to go out and be his hands and feet in our world in such a way that people are drawn to him. Above all else, he wants us to live lives that point everyone around us towards Jesus. And I don’t know about you, but I think this is a pretty awesome purpose to have! I’m so humbled and thankful that the God of the universe invites us in to his plan to redeem and restore the world.
The task before is large. There are a huge number of people – people all around us every single day of our lives – who don’t know God. Many of them are hurting, broken, longing, searching, & lost. We are God’s plan to reach out to them, love them, and bring them to himself. It may not be easy, but it could not possibly be more important. And when we get tired, weary, and frustrated as we try to bring God to an unbelieving world we can always remember the words of Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
ASK: What are some specific ways that I can be salt and light in my world this week? How can I point those around me towards Jesus?
PRAY: Ask God to give you the courage to be a light in the darkness of your world. Ask him to show you opportunities to point people towards him. Ask him to give you the strength to persevere when you feel weak and beaten down. Thank him for his great love and provision!