Behold Your God……

A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8
Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture……the imagery in it captures my imagination. As I read it I see Isaiah stepping up to a giant canvas, brush in hand…..waiting to see what God will do. The canvas seems to take on a life of its own as the Spirit speaking through him begins to fill it with all the colors of Heaven and earth, lush valleys, flowering meadows, lush streams and God, the Master Creator above it all…..He paints a stark picture of the brevity of our lives, the futility of trying to live a life without God……the breath of His mouth blowing us into the dust we started out as. He is over all, in all and through all.
But then here in verse 11 is another picture he paints of God…..

“He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”

……that of God as Gentle Shepherd wanting to heal a wounded Israel, a wounded world…….

Saint Jerome says of Isaiah: “He was more of an Evangelist than a Prophet, because he described all of the Mysteries of the Church of Christ so vividly that you would assume he was not prophesying about the future, but rather was composing a history of past events. ”

In the midst of all this beauty we see another picture start to form…….all the vivid colors of the painting melt away with the fervent heat of a relentless desert scene and a lone figure walks down a dusty road. We hear the shouts of John the Baptist carried across the desert wind and we watch the crowds coming out to see this crazy fool of a man who was telling them to repent. They couldn’t stop themselves from listening because somewhere deep inside they recognized truth.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

The lonely figure is now walking towards us and as He gets closer, we see that He is wearing a crown of thorns and bleeding, stumbling under the weight of a massive cross…….”Behold the man,” Pilate says, and then he turns and washes his hands as if he could dismiss Jesus that easily….His wife watches from a distance, eyes sunken in from lack of sleep from the nightmares she had the night before….about Jesus. Matt. 27:19

Suddenly it all comes together………Isaiah states: Behold Your God! The statement itself demands a response from us. Isaiah rings with promise…..we no longer have to wait. The highway in the desert has been built, it is straight and plain and visible for all to see. There are many other roads to take but only this one leads to Heaven…..

“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/ by Anna Cervova

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