"Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye, My People"
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
The Narrow, Upward Road
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 198 with the second paragraph:
“The narrow, upward road leading to home and rest, furnished Jesus with an impressive figure of the Christian way. The path which I have set before you, He said, is narrow; the gate is difficult of entrance; for the golden rule excludes all pride and self-seeking. There is, indeed, a wider road; but its end is destruction. If you would climb the path of spiritual life, you must constantly ascend; for it is an upward way. You must go with the few; for the multitude will choose the downward path.
“In the road to death the whole race may go, with all their worldliness, all their selfishness, all their pride, dishonesty, and moral debasement. There is room for every man’s opinions and doctrines, space to follow his inclinations, to do whatever his self-love may dictate. In order to go in the path that leads to destruction, there is no need of searching for the way; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad, and the feet naturally turn into the path that ends in death.”
We should pray for power to enable us to turn aside from the broad path, from following self – the path in which we find ourselves from birth up. We should pray to choose the narrow path with the few, to know for a certainty that only the narrow, upward way leads to home and to peace.
Last week we finished studying the thirty-fifth chapter of the book of Isaiah. And now since, as can be readily seen, chapters 36-39 inclusive, interrupt with historical data the theme of Isaiah’s prophecy, we shall continue where Inspiration picks up the thread of thought in chapter 40 with a tender plea to God’s message-bearing people:
Verses 1, 2 – “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Verse 2 leaves no doubt that Inspiration is speaking to a people in the latter days, – the days in which the warfare, pilgrimage, and captivity of God’s weary people are accomplished. Having received double for their sin and rebellion, their iniquity is pardoned and are now soon to be delivered. You cannot afford to overlook this comforting message. You must not neglect to make ready, for that is the reason that it is now unsealed and freely delivered to you. Prepare to meet thy God is its key note.
Verse 3 – “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
True, verse three found fulfillment in the work of John the Baptist; but the verses preceding and also the verses following, definitely apply to the people in the latter days and only partially to the people in John’s day. Therefore the truth stands out boldly that the direct fulfillment of this chapter is found in our time, thus making John’s work an ensample of our work – John’s work the type, ours the antitype.
The “wilderness” and the “desert” (verse 3) in contrast to the “vineyard,” the house of Judah literally and antitypically says: “The voice of him that crieth in the land of the Gentiles, that says, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the Gentile world a highway for our God.”
Verse 4 – “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”
To make this highway straight, “the voice” is, as it were, to raise up the valleys, cut through the mountains and hills, and grind down the rough places; that is, every obstruction must and will be removed, the saints must be gathered regardless where they live.
Verse 5 – “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
This shall come to pass as soon as the highway is made ready.
Verses 6-8 – “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.”
“The voice” proclaims that all are grass, that all the goodliness in men is as the flowers of the field, but the Word of God stands forever. It must be, then, that men are blind to these realities, else they would not need be reminded of them. It must be that they are depending upon flesh, instead of upon the Word of God and His Spirit.
Verses 9-11 – “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O 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! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
The message which this chapter contains, we see, is not a message to be preached to the world, but to the cities of antitypical Judah, the church. And those who proclaim it are citizens of antitypical Zion and Jerusalem, members of the church. They are fearlessly to lift up their voices with strength.
They are to explain that the people whom God uses to get His work done are “His arm”; that they are to rule for Him; that His reward is with Him, and His work yet before Him; that He shall feed His flock, and with His arm (with His church) He shall gather the lambs (the newly converted) and carry them to His kingdom.
Verses 12-20 – “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.”
Those who are ignorant of God liken Him to something. But the great question is, to what are we likening Him – to something though there is no comparison of Him?
Verses 21-26 – “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and He shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.”
O, how great a God our God is! And how slow we are to grasp His promises. How slow we are to let Him take full charge of us just as He has charge of the stars.
Verse 27 – “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?”
Obviously God’s people are mistaken concerning His knowledge of their ways.
Verses 28-31 – “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
These verses explain that God’s people need to know all these things before they earn the right to walk into His Holy Kingdom. And what a wonderful privilege is ours if we but wait on the Lord, if we but remain true and faithful to His Word. Then He shall renew our strength like the eagles; we shall run, and not be weary; we shall walk and not faint.
As the great and dreadful day of the Lord is fast approaching, and as we are already told what to do to make ready, we need not be found wanting. “Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land…. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.” Ps. 85:9-12.
What a comforting message this is! Any wonder why the Almighty urgingly commands: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people.”