Good news, don’t we love to tell people good news. I often run contests in youth ministry and I love being the person who tells someone they have won! We love good news. The best is delivering good news that takes someone by surprise, completely out of the blue. Then you get the double fun – the look of Surprise followed by the reaction to the good news as it sinks in.
The book of Isaiah is a book full of dire warnings, impending punishment and destruction. It is also a book of great encouragement and consolation. Isaiah chapter 40 begins with familiar words of Hope.
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
Isaiah 40:1-2 (NIV)
Spoken to a people being held in captivity, in a land not their own, far from their home, they heard these words with a sigh and a smile. Hope. God given Hope!
9 You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"
Isaiah 40:9 (NIV)
To the bearer of this message of good news clear direction is given. Go up on a high mountain, and lift up a shout. These seem like very simple directions. They are given with the extra advice to “not be afraid.” Afraid? You are bringing good news to a people longing for good news, is there a need to fear? The simple truth is that good news is not always seen by everyone as good news.
Today there are many who are living captive lives, in a land not their own, far from home, but they don’t know anything different. To them all is well. They don’t have a picture of a life that is better, apart from the vision they have of the life, which by their own strivings, they seek to fulfill. They will likely not receive the “good news” with joy. They will resent something that can not fully grasp.
As I read through these familiar words of Isaiah this week again for my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class I was drawn to the fact that this call to bring good tidings to Zion are for me! I am to go up on a mountain and proclaim with a shout, “Here is your God!” There is one significant difference from the call of Isaiah and my call. He spoke of a coming presence of God that was off in the distance. I speak of a coming presence of God which has come! “Here is your God – Jesus the Christ!”
Mountains are hard to come by in Carver county where I live. As I look at the words of Isaiah 40:9 I see that the message has two characteristics “Be noticed – Be heard!” Is my proclamation of Christ noticed? Is it being heard?
I noticed this morning as I looked at my recent posts on face book that it is clear that I like the Packers, but not so clear that I LOVE Jesus! This is one of the many mountaintops to which I have been called to herald the good news.
HERE IS YOUR GOD – JESUS THE CHRIST! – He comes to bring you life and salvation without cost or merit! Now that’s good news!
What is your mountain top? Let me encourage you to Go for it – Do not be afraid! Proclaim the good news!
Isaiah 40 begins with words of