Lately I’ve been on a kick. When I run across a verse that I’ve known since my childhood, I’ll take some time to read through the entire chapter. Every time I do this I am blown away by God’s Word. Sometimes the meaning of the verse changes, others the meaning of the verse becomes even more impactful.
Most recently this happened with Isaiah 40. Most people are familiar with Is 40:7-8 (the grass withers and the flower fades) and Is 40:30-31 (even youths grow tired and weary…). These verses are surrounded by a prophecy about the coming of Christ and the magnificent character of God. In the past 2-3 weeks I’ve read and reread the entire chapter. As a result, I am in awe of the Holy One. No one compares to Him. Nothing holds a candle to His existence. He is in control and is Sovereign.
This past summer, my small group read Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It radically changed my understanding of the Gospel. Each time I think about the Gospel I ask myself, “how did I miss this? How did I not get the Gospel after hearing it for 20+ years?”
The gospel says:
- I can’t earn God’s acceptance because I am so incredibly flawed – more flawed than I can even imagine.
- God’s love for me is so vast that He made the ultimate sacrifice:
- His Son humbled himself, lived the life I should be living,
- died to pay the price for the fact that I’m not living the sinless life I should be and
- was raised from the dead to set me free from the very sin that separates me from God.
Right now I’m reading Elyse’s devotional, Comforts from the Cross. The topic for today is “Glory to God Alone.”
This concept, that glory belongs only to God, gave some insight into why Isaiah 40 has resonated so deeply with my soul: My sin nature wants glory for myself. I want to prove that I can earn God’s love and acceptance. I ignore the truth of the Gospel, wrongfully believing that I can be acceptable to God by trying really hard. I proudly forget how insignificant I truly am and think that I can earn myself a place in the presence of God. But Isaiah 40 reminds me that I am nothing in comparison to God.
That’s where the sweetness of the Gospel comes in: I am nothing, but He values me (even when I want to steal His glory for myself) so much that He has sacrificed what He holds dear (His son) so that I can be with Him. Talk about mind-blowing.