The Divine Imperative

November 28th, 2011


Isaiah 40:1-11

John was a wild man in a wild place who ate wild food and he came preaching a wild gospel. The lightning of divine truth flashed from his eyes and the thunder of judgment rumbled in his voice. His preaching was propelled by divine imperatives: “repent,” “prepare,” “flee the coming wrath,” “be baptized.” It was an uncompromising message full of demands without subtlety or room for debate. People confessed their sins and were baptized. There was no other appropriate response.

John’s text was drawn from Isaiah 40. Divine imperatives burst like flashbulbs in Isaiah’s words: “comfort,” “speak,” “prepare the way,” “make straight,” “cry out,” “go up,” “lift up your voice,” “say,” and “see.” The Lord God would come to redeem Israel from their captivity. Those who responded to these divine imperatives found reason to hope. The Sovereign Lord was coming. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who are with young” (v. 11).

This is the word of our God that stands forever.


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