AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - Presbyterian Feb. 16, 2014

A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith  




Isaiah 40:6


What shall I cry ? Isaiah 40  is pregnant, and  great is the child. This, the Messiah was introduced in Isaiah 7 and 9, and shown in His divine work as man, God incarnate, in Isaiah 11, 32, 61. His work as Saviour appears in Isaiah 50-55, with 61; as restorer of Israel to its place and to Himself, on the very basis once rejected by that nation, in Isaiah 42,49, 66, as of many Gentiles in spirit (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 60:3). Meanwhile, for Israel there is seen His work of divine detachment (65:13-15), in the interim before they repent of their first rejection of the Messiah, and receive restoration (Micah 5:1-3). Nearly all is now fulfilled (cf. Matthew 5:17-20).

The work is to Jew and to Gentile, in grace to both, and in confrontation with, and castigation of both (Isaiah 11, 28-29, 59,65). Its coverage is generic in spirit and particular in accounting; and beautiful is the exhibit of the predicted Gentile songs to His saving majesty, as foretold in Isaiah 24:16, and seen now for so long!

What a message is that of 24:16, among its peers. There will be enormously spiritual and spirited songs from distant isles, as the judgment draws nearer for the earth, stressed in Isaiah 24. These will give "glory to the righteous", as in Isaiah 53:4-10, but at what cost has  He bought pardon, producing such ecstasy of relief and joy in the world ? It was necessary  that He should be 'ruined', as shown in 50-53, abhorred (49:7) and treated with almost inconceivable treachery, for "the treacherous dealers  have dealt very treacherously."

How amazing that the Gospel of grace as shown in its virtually full format in Isaiah 49-55, 61-62, should not only be given through Jewish prophets, but this, that the love of God for His righteousness, even the  Messiah who was betrayed, should in due time be a matter of delight amid the Gentiles, singing great songs of rapture concerning it to the uttermost parts of the earth! What is more amazing is this, that a blighted mass of Gentiles reject it to this day,  amid their encompassing ruin! Will they never learn ...

What shall I cry ? to this contorted, convoluted, disputatious, warring, wandering, seething world ?

There is divinely directed information available; it is CRIED as by a town crier, a newspaper empire, but this CRY is from God. Close the ears at your peril (Isaiah 24; 29:13-14), for in its time,

"the earth  shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut." Indeed,
"they will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in a dungeon."

Compare this with Psalm 2 and let us proceed. Creation is one thing, when it comes to God and the earth; revocation is quite another. Unrepentant humanity, embroiled in the madness of denial of the source of law, organisation, meaning, understanding, wisdom, power, enduement with answerable spirit, with analytical mind, gains at last its  come-uppance. It has been  coming up for a very long time, indeed since its creation as in Genesis 3.

Yes mankind can seek to inhabit life as a partner or even adversary of God, afraid to be exploited, standing on its rights like a Ned Kelly,  dressed in utterly  vulnerable armour, as it makes its amour with deceit, delusion and  finds despair in what for the nth time, does not work. It seeks to disprove God; but its experiments do not work. Nature CANNOT experimentally when it is there,  or logically before it is there, be made to make itself; it is just there, no more able to do this than is can a car make a car factory, and so other cars. The work of the womb as of birth is a programmatic marvel, filled with multitudes of inter-related information from the mind of God, in brilliant assembly-line provisions, astounding in mathematics, incomparably co-ordinated, staggering in the unified thing produced, namely  MAN. There is however a more excellent birth in store. 


Man will manage God ? that is the lie. It cannot be done, since man is a 100% dependent, as Isaiah 24 makes so clear. Manage without God ? That is impossible, since His is the resource, the recourse, the office of repairer, the work of Redeemer, and those who hate Him, love death (Proverbs 8:36), the due outcome of living on fairy tales, by which nothing replaces God as our source, and matter becomes brainy contrary to nature, and nature becomes a mother, contrary to its own testimony. It is but a child,  and lives as a child, dependent on instilled and inscribed information; but with man there is an extra.

He can read.

He can hear, and he closes his ears (Matthew 13:15ff.). So God cries.

And what does He cry (Isaiah 40:6-11ff.)? Mankind, made with flesh for his visible body, is called 'flesh' as a reminder, and a further note declares that flesh like grass, comes and goes. What made it was the word of God as DNA so richly attests, in its programmatic splendour, and that same word of God, this time not addressed to fashioning into existence the thing called man, but to  assessing its current condition, declares that in and of itself, it goes like grass when its season is finished.  Grass fades and withers. Want that at last, in lonely and well-judged isolation from the pith and pasture of life ? Folly is a lively and deathly option:  both.

It is the creative, the judging, the gracious, the offence-sparing word of God which, like its sender,  does not alter (James 1:17); and it has no season, is implemented, first to last without interruption, while each thing brought to pass in its season. He has work to do, telling the children of men what is the work of the Son of God as in Isaiah 49-55, 61. Staggeringly, He comes to feed His flock as a Shepherd. But how could He bother with a flock, when the ways of man  as developing, are coming to  a crisis as foretold in Isaiah 24, and 59, man an epicentre of corruption (59:18-19) ? It is because of the divine heart that He bothers..

Man is made in the image of God, and he too has a heart, a centre of thought and imagination and understanding and  wisdom or its absence, the latter like a tuberculosis of the spirit. God hates deceit in the heart, departure from  the obvious (as in Romans 1:17ff.), obstruction of the truth (as in Isaiah 29) and diversion from the ways of the wonder of life as He created it (Psalm 2, Ezekiel  33:11). He cries to man to repent, to return, and some actually do just that.

It is like crying in the corridors of a prison, Come out! come out freely. It is just as was done for Peter, but in that case, very definitely, not with a cry to alert the guards, but with action and quiet speaking as came to Elijah too, on the mount, hearing the still, small voice. But for most, the prison is preferred, but simply renamed. That really does not alter it.

Instead of receiving gladly the message, Be freed! the grand dispersal from dereliction, it is treated with aversion, the message subjected to dispersion, as a screen diverts the light; and thence  to distortion, man casting fictitious shadows in the dust.

Prison tends toward brutality, for the inmates are not sensitive souls, having defied the Almighty, who gave meaning to man, and sensitivity to his soul, and life to his spirit. But here is the Lord, taking the lambs in His bosom (as literally happened when Christ came - Isaiah  40:11, Mark 10:16. 



In Isaiah 40, the cry is beautiful. This world has been measured (Proverbs 8, Isaiah 40:12ff.),  tailor-made, its institutions of physical and chemical, geological and astronomical kind all planted to form a  symphony of meaning (Isaiah 40:12-18), availability, with little things like matter with its atoms, larger ones like mind with its roving, and great things like man's spirit with its avenues to God Himself, all placed. Haven't you known ? Haven't you heard ? Were you not told from the first ? The message throbs (40:21,28).

From  the foundation of the world, it is God who sits above its sphere and directs it. HIS judgments  stand at the physical, moral, spiritual and mental level. His laws have to be found, before man can  announce them, like a Geiger counter, which after  all, does not create the radioactivity. It is He who makes its laws, is its cause, creates its marvel, its meaning and its multiplicities. God has made the concatenated systems of this universe, of man, and it is He who for man in his self-elevation, "makes the judges of the earth useless."

They cannot change man, and when they judge in their atheistic or benumbed rebellion, they can only bray away, without having the chance of an ass of directing things aright. That is why there is so much wrong. The blind lead the blind (Matthew 15:14), some with medals attached, and great glory ascribed to them; but this does not alter things. They do not know the way, and cannot see it (Matthew 13:13-15).

If you want wisdom, then, look to Him who has made Himself available, for "His wisdom is unsearchable," Isaiah 40:28, and the very star clusters are a product of His imagination, like chess-pieces on a board. He knows them  all.

Why then do even some who name His name, such as ancient Israel here addressed for example, say, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God ? Have you not known ? Have you not heard ?," Isaiah 40:27-28. If you want access, then learn this, "The Creator of the ends of the earth," indeed "the everlasting God," has no strength problem, neither fainting nor becoming weary. In fact, He gives power to the weak,  and even if youths faint with weariness, yet

"those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings as eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."

This is a matter of spirit, which is enlivened, of mind which is resourced in the Maker, of attitude which is enthused by the Redeemer, of spiritual power which is poured out (cf. Ephesians 1:19,3:16), and it is verified a hundred or even 1000 times in a life-time, so readily, as indeed a way essential to life, like changing oil and adding water with coolant. Not to know God is vanity, a virtueless dissent, an everlasting excavation, delusive in the use of the programmed body and instituted mind, but in the end empty and presumptuous, unmanageable and in effect, paranoid, spiritually paranoid. It is not this for which God has made it, but liberty, this a precursor for love. God has enabled the one or the other.

Why will you die ? God asks in Ezekiel 33:11 ? Why indeed! Eternal life is much better and it begins now (John 5:24). It is getting back, not to nature but to nurture, not to man but to God, not to distemper but to dynamic, not to self-will but to the will of God.

What shall I cry ? asks the prophet. His message encompasses ruin for remedy-less runaways and restoration for repentant lovers of God, who drawing on His account, who accounts for everything, are enabled, for as Paul declares, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens  me