January 11, 2009 – January 17, 2009
“Lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:9.
Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 326–330; Testimonies, vol. 9, 97–108.
“The prophet exalted God as Creator of all. His message to the cities of Judah was, ‘Behold your God!’ Isaiah 40:9.” Prophets and Kings, 315.
1 What essential truths were emphasized by Isaiah? Isaiah 40:9, 28–31; 41:10, 13, 14. How should we represent these truths before the world? Matthew 5:16; Philippians 4:8.
Note: “The inhabitants of Judah were all undeserving, yet God would not give them up. By them His name was to be exalted among the heathen. Many who were wholly unacquainted with His attributes were yet to behold the glory of the divine character.” Prophets and Kings, 319.
“Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ [Isaiah 40:9.] The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 415, 416.
2 What prophecy, given to Moses and to Isaiah, is to reach its complete fulfillment today? Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 35:1, 2.
Note: “God’s glory, His character, His merciful kindness and tender love—that which Moses had pleaded in behalf of Israel—were to be revealed to all mankind. And this promise of Jehovah was made doubly sure; it was confirmed by an oath. As surely as God lives and reigns, His glory should be declared ‘among the heathen, His wonders among all people.’ Psalm 96:3.
“It was concerning the future fulfillment of this prophecy that Isaiah had heard the shining seraphim singing before the throne, ‘The whole earth is full of His glory.’ Isaiah 6:3. The prophet, confident of the certainty of these words, himself afterward boldly declared of those who were bowing down to images of wood and stone, ‘They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.’ Isaiah 35:2.
“Today this prophecy is meeting rapid fulfillment. The missionary activities of the church of God on earth are bearing rich fruitage, and soon the gospel message will have been proclaimed to all nations.” Prophets and Kings, 313.
3 Throughout the ages, what misconception has existed about God’s character? Ezekiel 18:25, 29, 30; Isaiah 55:8, 9.
Note: “In Isaiah’s day the spiritual understanding of mankind was dark through misapprehension of God. Long had Satan sought to lead men to look upon their Creator as the author of sin and suffering and death. Those whom he had thus deceived, imagined that God was hard and exacting. They regarded Him as watching to denounce and condemn, unwilling to receive the sinner so long as there was a legal excuse for not helping him. The law of love by which heaven is ruled had been misrepresented by the archdeceiver as a restriction upon men’s happiness, a burdensome yoke from which they should be glad to escape. He declared that its precepts could not be obeyed and that the penalties of transgression were bestowed arbitrarily.
“In losing sight of the true character of Jehovah, the Israelites were without excuse. Often had God revealed Himself to them as one ‘full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.’ Psalm 86:15.” Prophets and Kings, 311, 312.
4 What prophetic assurance shows that God does not forget His faithful ones, even from among the Jews? Isaiah 10:20, 21; Romans 11:5; 9:27, 28.
Note: “Paul shows that God is abundantly able to transform the hearts of Jew and Gentile alike, and to grant to every believer in Christ the blessings promised to Israel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 379.
“In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people whom they find in all parts of the earth. As the Old Testament Scriptures are blended with the New in an explanation of Jehovah’s eternal purpose, this will be to many of the Jews as the dawn of a new creation, the resurrection of the soul. As they see the Christ of the gospel dispensation portrayed in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, and perceive how clearly the New Testament explains the Old, their slumbering faculties will be aroused, and they will recognize Christ as the Saviour of the world. Many will by faith receive Christ as their Redeemer.” Ibid., 381.
5 What great concern of Isaiah should be ours as well? Isaiah 55:6, 7.
Note: “My brethren and sisters, seek the Lord while He may be found. There is a time coming when those who have wasted their time and opportunities will wish they had sought Him. God has given you reasoning faculties. He wants you to keep in the line of reason and in the line of labor. He wants you to go forth to our churches to labor earnestly for Him. He wants you to institute meetings for those outside the churches, that the people may learn the truths of this last message of warning. There are places where you will be gladly received, where souls will thank you for coming to their help. May the Lord help you to take hold of this work as you have never yet taken hold of it.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 106, 107.
6 What assurance must we fully appropriate for ourselves before we can effectively help others? Isaiah 44:21, 22.
Note: “Have you, reader, chosen your own way? Have you wandered far from God? Have you sought to feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them turn to ashes upon your lips? And now, your life plans thwarted and your hopes dead, do you sit alone and desolate? That voice which has long been speaking to your heart, but to which you would not listen, comes to you distinct and clear, ‘Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.’ Micah 2:10. Return to your Father’s house. He invites you, saying, ‘Return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.’ ‘Come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.’ Isaiah 44:22; 55:3.
“Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better, until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of the Saviour, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own: ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Psalm 51:7.” Prophets and Kings, 319, 320.
7 What did Isaiah desire for his people as a result of the temple vision? Isaiah 57:16–19.
Note: “In beholding his God, the prophet [Isaiah], like Saul of Tarsus at the gate of Damascus, had not only been given a view of his own unworthiness; there had come to his humbled heart the assurance of forgiveness, full and free; and he had arisen a changed man. He had seen his Lord. He had caught a glimpse of the loveliness of the divine character. He could testify of the transformation wrought through beholding Infinite Love. Henceforth he was inspired with longing desire to see erring Israel set free from the burden and penalty of sin.” Prophets and Kings, 314.
8 What invitation, given to the inhabitants of Judah, is extended to each one of us? Isaiah 27:5.
Note: “The God whom we serve is long-suffering; ‘His compassions fail not.’ Lamentations 3:22. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life.” Prophets and Kings, 325, 326.
9 What appeal and promise should we remember continually, both as individuals and as a church? Isaiah 1:16–18.
Note: “This invitation comes sounding down along the lines to us to-day. Let not pride, or self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep any one from confessing his sins, that he may claim the promise: ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.’ [Proverbs 28:13.] Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them. ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ [James 5:16.] Many a sin is left unconfessed, to be confronted in the day of final accounts; better far to see your sins now, to confess them, and put them away, while the atoning Sacrifice pleads in your behalf. Do not dislike to learn the will of God on this subject. The health of your soul, the unity of your brethren, may depend upon the course you pursue in these things. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, ‘casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.’ [I Peter 5:7.]” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 239.
10 With what words does Isaiah describe an experience that is to be ours? Isaiah 12:1–6.
Note: “Oh, how many times has your heart been touched with the beauty of the Saviour’s countenance, charmed with the loveliness of His character, and subdued with the thought of His suffering. Now He wants you to lean your whole weight upon Him.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 232.
“Very earnest and touching is the apostle’s appeal that his Corinthian brethren consider anew the matchless love of their Redeemer. ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ he wrote, ‘that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.’ [II Corinthians 8:9.] You know the height from which He stooped, the depth of humiliation to which He descended. Having once entered upon the path of self-denial and sacrifice, he turned not aside until He had given His life. There was no rest for Him between the throne and the cross.
“Point after point Paul lingered over, in order that those who should read his epistle might fully comprehend the wonderful condescension of the Saviour in their behalf. Presenting Christ as He was when equal with God and with Him receiving the homage of the angels, the apostle traced His course until He had reached the lowest depths of humiliation. Paul was convinced that if they could be brought to comprehend the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, all selfishness would be banished from their lives. He showed how the Son of God had laid aside His glory, voluntarily subjecting Himself to the conditions of human nature, and then had humbled Himself as a servant, becoming obedient unto death, ‘even the death of the cross’ (Philippians 2:8), that He might lift fallen man from degradation to hope and joy and heaven.
“When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands and feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God. We see a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance that threatened only misery and despair, in the light reflected from the cross reveals the writing of God: Live, sinner, live! ye penitent, believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.
“In the contemplation of Christ we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless. We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us. We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ! ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ I John 4:10; 3:1.
“In every true disciple this love, like sacred fire, burns on the altar of the heart. It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 332–334.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.