As I promised a few days ago, I have a guest post for you on some of the connection to Isaiah 40 as well as some others. This guest is very special to me. This was written by my daughter, Lydia. It encouraged me greatly when I first heard it during a conversation. I promptly asked if she would write a guest post for me. Well, here it is. I hope you are encouraged as well.
I recently read an article entitled, “God Made You a Writer.” It brought up some really interesting points about how all Christians are writers because God is a writer. And that is true—God wrote the ultimate story of the Bible in the most intentional and purposeful way. From Genesis to Revelation, He weaves His plan and His promises in and throughout every detail, every word, and every person. The past few weeks, I’ve been really amazed by the connection between the Old Testament promises and the New Testament fulfillment of those promises that we see in Jesus.
Since Mark 1 begins with Isaiah 40, I went there first. I noticed that a large part of the chapter was devoted to describing the greatness and holiness of God. Yet, in the same chapter, the same God who cannot allow sin to go unpunished promises this-
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned.” (verses 1-2)
Isaiah also speaks of God as a shepherd who gathers and gently carries His flock-
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (verse 11)
But because He is a holy God, He cannot allow our sin to be excused and still love us and dwell with us—and we were made to dwell with Him.
And yet, over and over and over He promises hope. From the beginning, He had a plan in place to save His people. Isaiah 40 asks repeatedly,
“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?” (verse 21)
It’s as if He is saying to His people, “Have you not seen the works I have done? How I have rescued you, provided for you, and cared for you as my children? Have you not heard my promises for generations to save you? Have you not seen my faithfulness displayed?”
I want to take you back to Genesis 22 for a moment. Abraham and his son Isaac are going up the mountain to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and Isaac asks his father, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answers, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Later on, when Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, he is stopped by the angel of the Lord—his son is pardoned. But it cannot end there.
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide.” (verses 7-8, 13-14)
Isaiah 40 ends with the promise that the Lord saves those who wait for Him, and I think waiting means having faith here. Waiting for His promises to be fulfilled, believing that He will do what he said He would do. Those who believed waited for a long time. Generation after generation of waiting.
I am reminded of what the Lord says to Habakkuk: “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your day that you would not believe if told.” (1:5)
And yet, in His grace, He did tell us. The Old Testament is a story where everything leads to Jesus. Piece by piece, person by person, prophecy by prophecy, the Lord spoke through the darkness a plan that would save His people forever.
Mark 1 continues- “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins… After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…
In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (verses 4, 7-11)
This is how our iniquity can be pardoned. This is how we can dwell with God—He came to us. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
Behold, the ram caught in a thicket.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Here is the long-awaited promise fulfilled, here is the eternal salvation, the permanent sacrifice, the Way that the Lord provided to give us life and freedom, if we repent and believe in Him.
Seeing all of these connections made me realize again how deep the Father’s love is for His children. I feel amazed and unworthy and thankful for His grace. His faithfulness to keep His promises and His intentionality in His Word encourages me to press on to know, love, and trust Him more, and live my life in an intentional way that reflects His grace and glory. Sometimes believing that He is good and faithful is hard, or the world feels overwhelming, and that’s when I run back to His Word, and I see again how every detail has a purpose, how He kept every promise, and how every one of my sins is covered by His grace because, and only because, of Jesus.
All glory be to Christ.