The Hope of Isaiah
August 29, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
I’ve had a number of conversations with friends lately about retirement. Most of the talk centered on financial planning for retirement. It’s important to be a good steward with the financial resources God has given us. Scripture warns us, however, not to trust in our financial planning for the future (cf. Luke 12:16-21; James 4:13-17). Our hope and confidence for security in the future is rooted in Christ.
My pastor and mentor passed away with pancreatic cancer four years ago. In the previous year, he had retired from pastoral ministry, moved with his wife to be closer to grandkids, and launched a new mentoring program for church planters. He went to see the doctor for a persistent pain in his abdomen. One month later he passed. Not the retirement anyone would choose.
In his last days, while his body weakened, my mentor demonstrated for his family and friends how to place one’s hope for security squarely on Christ. He requested, while his family members sat with him, that the later chapters of Isaiah would be read aloud. Up to his death, he demonstrated a joyful delight and hope in God’s promised Messiah.
In these chapters (40-66), Isaiah receives visions of the future for God’s people. Isaiah had already told of the impending judgment on God’s people for their sin. Will judgment be the final word for the people of Israel? By giving partial sketches of the saving and redeeming work of the “Servant of the Lord” and the “Anointed One,” Isaiah provides hope for a broken and downtrodden people. Consider this list which provides just a sampling of the hope offered in Christ:
Renewed strength is promised (40:31).
God’s presence is assured (41:10).
He will be gentle with the bruised reed (42:3).
The flames and waters will not overcome God’s people (43:2).
God blots out our transgressions like a cloud (44:22).
God is the only Savior (45:22).
The Servant of the Lord becomes a light for the nations (49:6).
God sustains the weary with his word (50:4).
The ransomed of the Lord will obtain gladness and joy (51:11).
By the wounds of the Servant, we are healed (53:5).
God’s word does not return empty (55:11).
God promises to heal the contrite (57:19).
Our light will break froth like the dawn with true fasting (58:8).
God’s people will be righteous by his own doing (60:21).
We find security in the Messiah’s work as “oaks of righteousness” (61:3).
The Lord will delight in you (62:4).
God delights to act for those who wait for him (64:4).
God will create new heavens and a new earth (65:17).
God looks to the one who trembles at his word (66:2).
My mentor, as he lost earthly retirement pleasures, was filled with joy because of the riches he had gained and would gain in Christ. Such a hope is sustained through the word of God. Isaiah, writing more than 700 years before Christ was born, sustained a people enduring devastation with God’s promises. What does your mind and heart dwell on for your security?