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Isaiah 40 – How to Stand Firm in Times of Discipline 以赛亚书 40 – 在管教的日子 如何站立得稳   

Friday, 10th June 2022

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Section One V1-11 To Preach the Good News

When we face difficulties, the first thing we would want to do is to hide in the cave and stay away from God. Isaiah 40 was a new section of the Book of Isaiah; the first section was about how king Hezekiah trying to prove himself to people that he was not like his father. He tried to do everything to please God, but at the end, he still focuses on his own selfish desires more than focusing on God. therefore, God had to leave him so he can be disciplined, and his faith can be tested.

V1-2 ‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people! Says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.’ God was giving an opportunity to the people of Judah, but when they still didn’t listen, then God let them go. Jeremiah 29:10 says, ‘For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.’ God has already promised His people that He would be with them, as long as they continued to rely on Him. God’s principle is not for us to run away from difficulties for him to take away our hardships, but when we come to Him, He will give us the strength to face everything, and He will give us a way out.

V3 ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ When we seek God, He will be found, we don’t need to worry or fear about the wilderness, the mountain and the valley, God will surely be with us, and take us through.

V4-5 ‘Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ God promised His people that He would save, but they would have to wait, but we know that when these promises were revealed, it would be 70 years later. Are we willing to wait for God’s promises to come to past? Are we willing to preach the Good News even in difficult times and darkness?

V7-8 ‘The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.’ The Israelites did not go back to Egypt, at the end, they reached the Promised Land and lived there, because the Word of God never fails.

V10-11 ‘Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.’ Seventy years seem very long, but we must not fear, in discipline, God will be with us, He will not forsake us. But we must continue to pray and to seek Him.

Section Two V12-26 To Know God is God

V12 ‘Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?’ God is not an idol, God is also not people, but He is the ‘I Am Who I Am’ God; in the times of discipline, the darkness, the difficulty… God is still God and nothing can change this!

V22-23 ‘It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.’ God already told us that the earth is round, far before the time when the Scientist proved that the earth is not flat. We thought we are intelligent, but God has already revealed all the secrete to us, we were just not listening and believing in it.

V25-26 ‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.’ We must stand firm and know our God is God! No matter what the environment is, don’t be defeated by the surroundings because God is our Almighty God, He would overcome everything!

Section Three V27-31 To Wait Upon God

V29 ‘He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.’ God foretold His people about the upcoming 70 years, how it would be a dark time. But He also promised them strength and hope.

V30-31 ‘Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’ Stop relying on the idols or things of this world, but tow wait upon God for His timing. When we humble and obey, wait upon God’s timing, then we will restore our strength. When we living under the fragrance of Tree of Life, not the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then we shall run and not be weary; walk and not faint!

以赛亚书 40 – 在管教的日子 如何站立得稳                  

2022年6月10日 星期五


从本章开始我们进入以赛亚书的下半部分。以赛亚书1-39章告诉我们,神一直在预备恩典给人。在前一章的记载中,神故意离开希西家王,借此考验他,然而希西家因着骄傲让自己从恩典中堕落。神有管教,但神也有预备。神已经将生死陈明在百姓面前 – 听从的就有祝福,不听的就吃苦。以色列人在埃及吃尽苦头,但神预备了摩西带领他们出埃及;百姓在旷野中仍受试炼,在摩西离开后,神又预备约书亚,兴起新一代领袖带领以色列人。当人吃过苦头后,在困难绝望中,神让我们知道,他必有预备。神会管教我们,在管教中我们是如何回应的?我们可能选择躲避甚至离开神,但神借着今天的经文教导我们如何站立得稳。

一、v.1-11 要传好消息

V1-2 先知以赛亚跟所有犹大国剩余的民说这段话,这两节也是本章的总纲。耶利米书29:10-14提到 “耶和华如此说:为巴比伦所定的七十年满了以后,我要眷顾你们,向你们成就我的恩言,使你们仍回此地。…… 耶和华说:我必被你们寻见,我也必使你们被掳的人归回,将你们从各国中和我所赶你们到的各处招聚了来,又将你们带回我使你们被掳掠离开的地方。这是耶和华说的。”犹大国的人听到先知说这段话时正是国破家亡的时候。我们不能只讲神的爱和怜悯却忽略神的教导。神有恩典,但人若不听,神会放手,正如当时犹大所要经历的“七十年”。神对他的百姓说,虽然你们被管教,但“我知道我向你们所怀的意念是赐平安的意念,不是降灾祸的意念,要叫你们末后有指望”(耶29:11),所以在困难、黑暗的日子,“要呼求我,祷告我,我就应允你们。你们寻求我,若专心寻求我,就必寻见”(耶29:12-13)。耶稣已经给我们永生的救赎,但我们做错事还是要付代价。在吃苦头的过程中,我们不是祷告求神拿走管教,而是要祷告神给我们有力量度过这一段困难的日子。

V3 “旷野”指的是犹大国的人。亡国后他们被流放,而神要他们“预备耶和华的路”,在“沙漠”-也就是在孤单绝望中- 要传好消息。神不会让我们一个人过,当我们寻求的时候,神必会让我们寻见。只要有神在,我们就不惧怕。遇到管教、黑暗、困难,我们是选择自己或世界的方法、甚至离开,还是紧紧抓住神、用祷告寻求他?

V4-5 这里的描述都是将来式。你是否愿意在这个过程中等候且不放弃吗?即使被掳走、流落到外邦也不用害怕。虽然在管教中,仍要活出神同在的荣美和他的大能。看到人被管教,我们不是安慰别人说这个管教会被拿走,但我们可以说神与我们同在,这些日子总会过去。到了神所定的日子“满了以后”,“耶和华的荣耀必然显现,凡有血气的必一同看见”

V8 以色列人就算死在旷野也没有回埃及,神应许要带我们进入流奶与蜜之地,“唯有我们神的话必永远立定”。

V9-11 就算面对“七十年”之久,我们也不用害怕,不要说负面的话,只要传讲好消息。在困难绝望的时候,要让人知道,神与我们同在,只要我们愿意祷告寻求他。

二、v.12-26 知道神是神


V12-14 没有人能够做到这一切,因为神是自有永有的神。

V18-19 偶像都是人自己造的。

V22 以前的人说地是平的、方的,但原来神早就告诉我们地球是圆的,我们以为自己很厉害,没有相信神的话。其实我们的智慧与神比起来就如微小的“蝗虫”一般。

V23-26 要站立得稳,我们就要知道他是自有永有的神,没有人能与神相比。不管我们的环境如何,不要被周遭影响,因为我们的神有“大能大力”,他能胜过这一切。

三、v.27-31 要等候神

V30 在巴比伦的七十年,人没有任何其他的倚靠,“就是少年人也要疲乏困倦,强壮的也必全然跌倒”。

V31 神应许我们,“但那等候耶和华的,必重新得力。他们必如鹰展翅上腾,他们奔跑却不困倦,行走却不疲乏”。你愿意等候吗?不要倚靠自己或世上的偶像。七十年被掳也没关系,只要愿意谦卑在生命树的气息下,就必重新得力。我们不要活在分辨善恶树之下,只要愿意承认自己是不行的,躲在神的翅膀底下,谦卑顺服,舍去自己的骄傲,让神陪我们走过这七十年,使我们最后能归回,荣耀都归于他。