“Ezekiel had been entrusted with the burden of seeing God’s glory recede from the temple and depart into the wilderness (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:18-19; 11:23). The Ichabod-nation was left with religious forms, traditions, memories, and nostalgia, but little else. Look around at what passes for Christianity—are we any better?
We must have the glory of the Lord in our midst again. The glory of God is our goal. Isaiah told us so, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” (v.5a). Oh what hope that brings! So thirsty for His glorious presence are we that our breaths grow shallow and rapid at even the hint that it could be true. Could we actually experience His glory in our midst? Do we dare believe it could be so?
Yes. Absolutely, yes! This has been the longing of God’s people throughout all generations. It is our God-given goal.” (Pathways to Peace, p.80)
“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, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1-2)
“The enmity is over. The picture is a military one: ‘Cry to her that her warfare is ended.’ As God comes near, his hands are not rolled into fists. They are open, arms extended to you in an offer of warm embrace. Our sin has created enmity with God. As Paul would say, we ‘were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God …’ (Eph. 2:3b-4a) … The enmity is over–be at peace!
The guilt is gone. The picture is a judicial one: ‘that her iniquity is pardoned’ (40:2). God’s countenance toward you is not condemnatory. God wears a smile as he looks upon you … The guilt is gone–be at peace!
The payment is complete. The picture is a commercial one: ‘that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins’ (40:2). … The picture here is of a lavish grace. A simple correspondence of the sacrifice to the sin would have been sufficient to set our hearts free. And Christ did indeed offer just what was needed for our sins. Yet the perfect sacrifice of the God-man Jesus Christ is not only sufficient, but abundantly sufficient for our debt … The payment is complete–be at peace!” (Pathways to Peace, pp.73-76).
He who seeks his own pleasure forfeits God’s presence.
He who seeks God’s pleasure gains both God’s presence and a share in His infinitely greater pleasure.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
“”Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'” (Isaiah 46:9-10, NASB)
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” (Psalm 36:7-8)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb 11:6)
“God is not bound. He is free, unfettered, unrestricted. Nothing binds God. Yet there is one thing (and only one thing) that binds God—His own nature. He is “The Lord”—Yahweh, the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God of grace. Only the self-imposed restriction of His covenant promises made to us puts any limitation upon God. Only His nature as a faithful, covenant-keeping God limits Him. Only His gracious promises, made out of no obligation on His part, restrict Him in any way. God is completely free, unfettered, unhindered, unobstructed. He can do as He pleases and all that He pleases is done. Nothing can stop His hand. Nothing can ultimately resist His will. Yet He has set His pleasure upon keeping a Bible-full of promises to His covenant people. He commits His will and all His infinite resources to fulfilling what He has spoken to you.” (Pathways to Peace, pp.101-102)
“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50:4)
“The tongue filled with the appropriate word for ministry is the product of the ear filled with the word of God … The morning by morning appointment is not a special provision or demand related to the perfect Servant but is the standard curriculum for all disciples.” (J. Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, p.399)