|Isaiah 40 |
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1 "Comfort, comfort my people," said your God.
2 "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received double from the LORD's hand for all her sins."
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. [The wilderness is the evil heart of all men until they have been crucified, in which evil heart is found evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, false witness, deceit, lack of restraint, envy, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness, Mark 7:21-23, Mat 15:18-19; so men might come to do works consistent with repentance, and their mountain of sin and earthliness might be leveled, and their valley filled in them, that there might be a smooth, straight way prepared for the Lord in them. Until a man's heart has been cleansed and purified, the Lord and his Father do not come with their kingdom to dwell and guide a man through life. Jesus is holy, innocent, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Heb 7:26. From the Word of the Lord within: "See myself — thus no sin has a place in me." See the footnote 1 below for more detail on Prepare the way of the Lord.]
4 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth;1
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.'"
6 The voice said, "Cry." And he said, "What shall I cry? All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the field;
7 The grass withers and the flower fades; because the spirit of the LORD blows upon it. Surely the people are like grass.
8 The grass withers, and the flower fades away, but the word of our God endures forever."
9 O you who bring good tidings to Zion, get up onto the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that brings good tidings, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those who are with young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, meted out heaven with the span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor has taught him?
14 With whom did he take counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment; who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the islands as a very little thing.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn [for altar fires], nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him as less than nothing and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him?
19 The workman casts a graven image, and the goldsmith spreads it over with gold, and casts silver chains.
20 He who is so impoverished that he has no offering chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks a cunning workman to prepare a graven image that will not totter.
21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits upon the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in;
23 Who brings the princes to nothing and makes the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yes, scarcely are they be planted, scarcely are they be sown, scarcely has their stock take root in the earth, and he will blow upon them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away as stubble.
25 "To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, who brings out their host by number and calls them all by names; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one fails.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my justice is passed over by my God?"
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? That the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint, neither is he weary? There is no searching of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might he increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.2
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1Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth. What way for the Lord are you supposed to prepare? The way into your heart for him to dwell as the ruling Lord of your thoughts, words, and deeds — a true king that rules everything in your life. To make the Lord's paths straight is to cleanse your heart and body so the Lord can dwell and walk in you, for he would have you to be the temple of the living God. This is an individual preparation of man, the prerequisite to salvation.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of seeing within himself the mountains burning up, the way made straight, etc:
"I saw also the mountains burning up, and the rubbish, and the rough, and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain, that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart; but to speak of these things being within, seemed strange to the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones.* Yet the Lord said, ‘0h earth, hear the word of the Lord!’"
*the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones are those people who have not experienced the cleansing power of the Lord, which cleansing is experienced when you persistently sit, wait, watch, listen, hear, and obey what the Lord commands you to do.
Fox also wrote the following in his Journal regarding John the Baptist's prophesying:
I also saw how people read the scriptures without a right sense of them and without duly applying them to their own states. For when they read that death reigned from Adam to Moses; that the law and the prophets were until John; and that the least in the kingdom is greater than John; they read these things as not applicable to themselves, and applied them to others, (and the things were true of others), but they did not turn inside to find the truth of these things in themselves. As these things were opened in me, I saw death reigned over them from Adam to Moses; from the entrance into transgression, until they came to the Ministry of Condemnation, which restrains people from sin that brings death.......I saw that none could read John's [the Baptist] words correctly, and with a true understanding of them, but in and with the same divine spirit by which John spoke them; and by his burning, shining light which is sent from God. For by that spirit their crooked natures might be made straight, their rough natures smooth, and the man of greed and man of violence in them might be cast out; and those that had been hypocrites might come to bring forth fruits suitable for repentance, and their mountain of sin and earthliness might be leveled, and their valley filled in them, that there might be a smooth, level way prepared for the Lord in them; and then the least in the kingdom is greater than John. But all must first know the voice crying in the wilderness in their hearts, which through transgression has become as a wilderness.
Fox also has a detailed writing, which describes the mirror of the earth in every man's heart; see A Word From the Lord, to All the World.
A man cannot prepare his own heart; it must be prepared by the changing power of God's grace, which power is accessed by you going to him. You must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. You must wait, listen in silence, hear, and obey, thus to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. So wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. Do this repeatedly, follow his commands, and his words that you hear him speak to you will impart the life of God to you, as he removes the sins from your heart, one by one. To deny yourself is to deny your own will and do God's will; to follow is to obey the commands to repent you hear him speak to you: this is to deny yourself, pickup your cross, and follow Jesus — the inward cross of self-denial, which puts to death your selfish spirit, to be replaced by the Spirit of Christ.
2 To wait on the Lord is to sit quietly, listening for his spoken words from the word within your heart. The promise is that those who do this persistently will know many benefits, including to be first cleansed and made free of sin, and then to receive his Spirit by which you are prompted, led, and energized.
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