King's Business - 1940-03


T H E K I N O ’ S B U S I N E S S

March, 1940

must be bom anew before he can have fellowship with and offer acceptable worship to the living God; man by nature Is as frail and powerless as the grass or the flower of the field. IV. T he F ull M essage (9-11) The cry goes forth from Zion (the religious center, as Jerusalem is the political center) and to the cities of Judah which the people Inhabit The good news is that the One long despised and rejected is come again, and*come with great power and glory to reign. The cry concerns His coming as the mighty One, who will put down all re­ bellion, and do away forever with all opposition. He will express Himself' with His arm as well as His voice, and reign as the Monarch, and reward as the Judge. This King and Judge will be the Shepherd of His people—the “good shepherd” who gave His life for them (John 10:11), the "great shepherd” (Heb. 13:20) who rose from the dead, and the “chief shepherd” (1 Pet. 5:4) who feeds His flock, protects His lambs, and gently leads His people to their destined headship of the nations. Points and Problems 1. “Comfort ye pay people” (Isa. 40:1). The “people” here spoken of Is the nation of Israel, not the church of the present age. The whole context of the book of Isaiah makes this clear. Any doubts about this matter are dis­ solved by later references in the chap­ ter: The message of comfort Is to "Jerusalem” (vs. 2, 9), to “Zion” (v. 9), to “Jacob” and to "Israel” (v. 27). But there is nothing exclusive about this, for when the day of “comfort” arrives for Israel, all nations will become the beneficiaries of the same "comfort” through the chosen nation. 2. “The voice of him that crieth In the wilderness” (v. 3). The Jews of his day were greatly puzzled tb account for John the Baptist, and sent messengers to ask of him, "Who art thou?” In re­ ply, John denied that he was the Christ, or Elias, or "that prophet,” and affirmed his anonymous character by taking refuge in I s a i a h ’ s great prophecy, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness . . as said the prophet Esaias” (cf. John 1:19-23). What was the reason for this curious anonymity? The answer is found in Matthew 11:14 where our Lord explains the matter very clearly, “If ye receive It [R. V. margin, ‘him’ ], this is Elias, which was for to come.” This proves that Christ Himself understood exactly the contin­ gent nature of the kingdom He offered to Israel at His first coming. The key to the situation was the attitude of the nation of Israel: “If ye will receive him, this is Elias.” The fact that our Lord knew in advance he .would not be re­ ceived did not in any wise detract from the bona fide nature of the offer. To those who fail to see this, the time

element in Old Testament prophecy is an Insoluble enigma. 3. The entire prophecy of Isaiah 40:1-11 refers to the glorious coming of our Lord, not to His coming in humilia­ tion. Notice the various details: First, of Israel and Jerusalem it is said that “her warfare is accomplished” (v. 2). It is a matter of common historical knowledge that the afflictions of the Jew did not cease at thq Lord’s first coming but grew increasingly severe, and the worst Is still in the future. Second, the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy will bring about a sweeping change in human affairs—"the crooked shall be made straight.” Certainly It should be unnecessary to point out that nothing like this has yet come to pass on earth. Third, the prophecy declares that the "glory of' the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see'it to­ gether” (v. 5). This is exactly what will happen a t' the glorious return of Christ when "every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7). Only a few saw His glory at the first coming. Fourth, when this prophecy is fulfilled, “The Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him” (Isa. 40:10). The Revised Version translates, "Come as a mighty one.” If this was fulfilled at the Lord’s first coming, then words mean nothing. But *if Israel had been willing to “ receive him,” all this could have been fulfilled at His first coming. The contingency was not in God, but in man. Golden Text Illustration P salm 46:1 Mark Guy Pearse says: “It is good to get in at the root meaning of our English word “ comfort.” The word has come to be suggestive of a cozy seat beside the fire on some winter’s night. But the word itself finds its true mean­ ing illustrated rather outside in the darkness and storm, where Is some poor woman with a heavy basket on her arm, and a long, dreary way before her. Now comes one who speaks with such kindliness that she cannot hut trust him. ‘You seem very tired,’ he says. ‘May I help1you?’ And as he talks with her, the heart grows light and the way is easy. That is comfort. “Co”—that is, “together with,” or “ company” ; and “fort”—that is “strength.” .To strength­ en -by company! That is it precisely. The moment we set out to live a better life, the gracious Master is ever going that way, and with gentle love He cometh to carry our burdens for us and to lead us on our way.” —The Sunday School Times. Like a Good Shepherd I saiah 40 MEMORY VERSE: “Thou art near, O Lord” (Psa. 119:151). APPROACH: When you are ill or have been hurt, your mother or father or some other loved one usually com-

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