Isaiah 40:9 (ESV) … “Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’”
Isaiah calls all who cherish this hope to spread their enthusiasm for God’s coming glory. He’s saying in verse 9, “Get way up on a conspicuous location, turn up the volume, don’t let your fears keep you silent, and draw attention to God. Say to everyone around, ‘Look! It’s your God!’ ” Our God doesn’t work at arm’s length or only through church programs or just by handing down decrees from on high. He comes. He brings his presence. And his presence is our joy. This is a simple message to spread around. You don’t need to know much. You only need the courage of faith.
What is “your God” worth to us all? He is a conquering king (v. 10a). He is a wealthy benefactor (v. 10b). He is a tender shepherd (v. 11). This is Jesus. What more could you hope for? The Geneva Bible of 1560 comments at verse 9: “He shows in one word the perfection of all man’s happiness, which is to have God’s presence.”
Spreading this glad expectation to others is the best way to amplify our own joy in it. Paul organized his whole life this way: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1 Corinthians 9:23, nasb). C. S. Lewis explains how this works:
The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians and scholars.… Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
God’s purpose is not only that you and I enjoy the comfort of the gospel, but that we increase our enjoyment of it by spreading that joy to others, all to the glory of God.
God had told Judah to trust him and no one else. They refused and suffered for it. But God does not forsake people who forsake him. His promise, his initiative, his imagination, his grace and glory are our comfort in our failure. You can trust this God even more than you trust yourself. You can trust this God absolutely.