"Oh Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" Isaiah 40:9
So far we have seen the need to get up in our thinking and our walk into the high mountain of God. The word of God declares that we indeed have good news to share so we are to boldly declare it. Now the Lord begins to unfold how we are to minister Him to others.
At the time Isaiah was written, the twelve tribes of Jacob were divided into two kingdoms - Judah with the capital in Jerusalem and Israel with its first capital in Shechem. Because the nation had gone astray after Solomon, the Lord caused the rulership to go out of the lineage of David. Yet, for David's sake, the tribe of Judah remained as a separate kingdom ruled by one of David's lineage because the Lord had so chosen (1 Kings 11:32).
Jerusalem was the center of worship for the whole nation of Israel, then later for the tribe of Judah. In it was the awesome tabernacle of Solomon and the even more majestic palace of the kings. Here was located Mt. Zion, the highest mountain peak for miles around. And here God had chosen to place His name.
Yet the people of Judah chose to follow the earthly system and forsake the Lord their God (1 Kings 14:22-24). As a result, their perception of God was darkened, their eyes became dimmed and their ears were dulled. So here we have a people who are going through the motions of "serving God" but as God puts it: "this people draws near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their hearts far from me and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men" (Is 29:13). Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like what we see each day on the job, in the supermarket and the places we go? How do we deal with it? What are we supposed to say?
There is only one thing we can say: "Behold your God!" But Lord, these people know the Bible better than I do, yet look at the fear they're living in; look at the limitation they're living in; maybe we should curse the devil in their lives. And God thunders back: "Lift up your voice with strength, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!"
Many years after this text was written, God Himself, clothed in human form said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me" (John 12:32). And indeed amidst the same peaks that boasted such splendour, the Son of God was lifted up on a cross and thereby purchased freedom for the entire race of mankind, past, present and future. On the third day after, when Jesus Christ was once again exalted far above all principalities and powers and given a name far above all other names as Lord of all, it started a quake in the earth, the shock waves of which are still reaching us two thousand years later. Furthermore, the intensity is building so that more and more, we see a people coming forth who knows their God and are concerned only with portraying Him to others.
For years we have spent a lot of energy in rebuking the darkness and casting out the devil. Brethren, the word of God declares that Satan is defeated! Jesus has already won the war and we are more than conquerors! God has brought us out of the shadows of sacrifices and offerings (Heb 7:15-19, Heb 8:5) and into the reality of beholding Him as He is in us (1 Jn 3:2). And as we behold Him we are changed into that same image from glory unto glory (2 Cor 3:18). Hallelujah!
Now this saying to others to Behold God does not mean we walk around telling people, "hey, look at your God here." Rather we must, of course, follow the example God Himself has set. Verses 10 to 11 say, "Behold the Lord will come with strong hand (there is the strength again) and His arm (strength, reaching out) shall rule for Him; behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him (Eph 2:10 lets us know we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works). He shall feed His flock like a shepherd and gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom and shall gently lead those that are with young." So we see we must gently and graciously so live, so mete out His love and life that it brings forth a response in others and they too will want to seek this one who is chiefest among ten thousand (Song of Songs 5:10, 6:1).
God rent the veil for one purpose - so that we could behold Him as He is. For in beholding Him, we cannot help but be changed. Seeing Him as He is, we come face to face with a depth of love that far surpasses any emotion our minds can fathom. We see a love that is willing to give all and has given all. We see a love that is willing to forgive all and has forgiven all. We see a love that is so touched by the feelings of our infirmities that He would clothe Himself in humanity, yes indeed, lower Himself into this realm of limitation in order that He could wrest a dying creation from the snares of sin, sickness and death. And having broken the hold of death from all of mankind, we see God quietly unfolding Himself not in a vision nor dream, but within our very beings. Until as we yield to the new life stirring within, it consumes us, and we are no longer reacting to the memory of the old but responding to the urging of the new. Glory!
Brethren, the old man is dead! (Rom 6:6,2) Let us stop giving life to it! "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead (the dead things within us) dieth no more - death hath no more dominion over Him!" (Rom 6:9) Did you hear that? It is impossible for us to kill the life of Christ working within us. So we might as well set our affections (energies) on things above (the heavenly realm of His life within us) so that the inner man can be strengthened by His Spirit and thus we become rooted and grounded in His love, and truly come to know Him who is Love (Eph 3:16-19).
God is revealing Himself to us. Let us behold Him then turn and show Him to others and encourage each other to keep our eyes, hearts and minds set on Him alone for in so doing we are changed!
"Behold your God!"
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