Suddenly, in chapter 40, the tone changes drastically from chastisement to comfort. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins,” God tells Isaiah (vs. 2).
While these prophecies had not been fulfilled just yet, God was letting them know even their great wickedness could not deter His greater compassion— a Savior was coming for them.
After His declaration of hope, God tells the prophet, “Say unto the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’” (Is 40:9 NKJV)
It’s such a short and simple declaration, it’s easy to miss all together. God is telling His people to shift their focus from themselves, back onto Him.
The Israelites were a mess, no doubt about it; you and I are too. But beholding our own messes never leads to anything good. As a veteran Christian, I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over my many flaws and trying to fix them, but all my beholding and all my effort never led to any permanent change.
Do you ever find yourself thinking What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get myself together? Are you frustrated that you keep walking the same messy circles?
I think that there’s a big lesson in this mini three-word directive: Behold your God. It’s time we stop looking at everything wrong with ourselves, and start looking at everything right with Jesus.
A funny thing happens when we turn our focus from our frailty to His perfections: without guilt, and without striving, we find ourselves changing...
We behold His compassion, and we find ourselves becoming more patient with others.
We behold His holiness, and we begin to desire to walk more like Him.
We behold His goodness, and we become more joy-filled and less negative.
How? Because as we spend time with Jesus and learn from Him, He is able to do what only He can do— change us from the inside out.
I love what the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth— “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“This comes from the Lord...” Unlike the earthly messes we behold and then fix, we are utterly helpless to change our own hearts. Only Jesus can do that, so let’s allow Him. Make it a point to spend time with Jesus this week. Talk with Him, and get to know Him through His Word. There’s always more to see.
Of all the people, projects, and problems vying for our attention, may we take time to behold the one who transforms us.
Memory verse: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Alexa Gearhart Angi Morrison Anna Bearden Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes