THE COMFORT THAT RENEWS OUR BREATH TO PREPARE THE WAY! - Isaiah 40:1-11

Shabbat Shalom family,

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 35:3-4 “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the weak knees. 4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, do not fear! See, your Elohim comes with vengeance, with the recompense of Elohim. He is coming to save you.

Part of this passage is quoted in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12, and it is in reference to His discipline of those He loves! Strengthening the hands is a call to obedience as the hands represent one’s works of righteousness, or lack thereof, and to make frim the weak knees is a clear call to strengthen one’s walk in order that you may walk upright and stand and not buckle under the pressures of life! And when we see this being quoted in terms of discipline we can recognise that Yisra’ĕl was being called to righteousness. When disciplined, we can either draw back in depression and get all negative and as a result never change, or we can respond correctly to the Truth and with great urgency and intensity do what needs to be done to correct the error of our ways in order that we can be what יהוה Elohim has called us to be – and shine the Light of His Truth as we proclaim the Besorah to the nations who need to hear the call to repentance.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 12:1-2 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. 2 The good obtains favour from יהוה, But the man of wicked devices He declares wrong.

The man who receives and accepts discipline and loves the knowledge of Elohim enabling Him to be ‘good’  - that is to be functioning the way the Creator intended us to – will find favour from יהוה. Last week’s Torah portion ended in Berěshith/Genesis 6:8 telling us that Noaḥ found favour in the eyes of יהוה, and this week’s Torah portion is called ‘Noaḥ’ which speaks of the comfort and rest we can find in יהוה no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in.

When יהוה breathed into Aḏam, He gave man a deposit of Himself in giving us the breath of life, and through sin that breath begins to fade and can only be restored through the Blood of Messiah that brought for us an ability to receive a recovery of breath from Elohim that we may have abundant life in Him. How many of you find yourselves at times in a place where you seemingly have no breath to keep going in the call to endure pressure and hardships as we await the return of our Messiah?

We know that the Spirit gives life and by His very breath we, in Him, live and move and are; yet we are also told that the worries of this age, the deceit of riches and the desires for other matters can come and choke out the Word causing it to be fruitless, if we have too many ‘thorns’ in our life, so to speak, that have not been dealt with.

In these wicked days we are instructed to redeem the time, walking exactly as we ought to in Messiah, guarding to do all His commands, as wise servants of the Most High! How are you redeeming the time? Have you experienced some choking and you have been a little short of breath? If you have, then listen up – it is time to take a deep breath, stand up and fight the good fight of belief! In a message called, “THE COMFORT THAT RENEWS OUR BREATH TO PREPARE THE WAY!” please turn with me to Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:1-11 (Read).

Many have regarded this as being the start of the second part of Yeshayahu with the first 39 chapters dealing with impending judgement and from chapter 40 onwards we see the clear promise of deliverance that יהוה Himself will bring to those who call and wait upon Him, by repenting and returning to the Redeemer of Yisra’ĕl and walking in His ways.

Yisra’ĕl was in captivity and while the threat of destruction hovered over their heads, here in this chapter there is an encouraging call to the chosen of Elohim to take heart because the promise of sure deliverance was coming!

In verse one we see the repetition of the word ‘comfort’, which here in Hebrew we see the phrase:

נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי ” – “naḥamu,naḥamu, ami” – “comfort, comfort, My people…” The repetition of the word used for ‘comfort’ is for emphasis and this word is from the root word נָחַם naḥam – Strong’s H5162 which means, to comfort, console, to be comforted and also can express the meaning, to be sorry, to be moved, have compassion, suffer grief, repent. The original root often seems to reflect the idea of ‘breathing deeply’; hence the physical display of one’s feelings, usually of sorrow, compassion or comfort.  It can therefore mean to breathe deeply with sorrow for your sin, or to breathe deeply as you comfort and console someone. 

In Scripture we see that the majority of the times that נָחַם naḥam is used and translated as ‘repent’ actually refers to Elohim’s repentance and not man’s. Man’s repentance is most frequently indicated by the word שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, to turn back, return, repent, recover, meaning to turn away from sin and turn back to Elohim and follow in His ways.

The term ‘naḥamu’ which is a derivative of נָחַם naḥam can give the understanding of ‘to cause to breathe again’ – in other words it is יהוה Himself that would bring the ‘recovery of breath’, and this is His comforting words to His people – and in a sense could render the encouragement of knowing that Elohim Himself is declaring to a people in exile,

I am bringing you a recovery of breath”. This recovery of breath that was surely needed is sufficient for His people to get strengthened and prepare the way for His soon return!

The Master יהוה continually called Yisra’ĕl to return, yet they continually turned a deaf ear and did their own thing and He made it clear to Yisra’ĕl in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 30:15 “For thus said the Master יהוה, the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl, “In returning and rest you are saved, in stillness and trust is your strength.” But you would not,

While Yisra’ĕl would not return we certainly see the clear message given here: In returning and rest you are saved and in stillness and trust is your strength!

The word in Hebrew for ‘returning’ is שׁוּבָה shuḇah which means, retirement, withdrawal, repentance, returning and comes from the word we have already discussed as the word used for man’s repentance - שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, to turn back, return, repent, recover. The word used for ‘rest’ is נַחַת naḥath – Strong’s H5183 meaning, quietness, rest and is from the root נוּחַ nuaḥ – Strong’s H5117 which means, to rest, cause to rest, set down, leave, depart from and the Name of the man who found favour in יהוה’s eyes is derived from this root - Noaḥ  - נֹחַ  - Strong’s H5146 whose name means, rest, comfort as already mentioned.

In turning back to Elohim in true repentance and having turned away from wickedness and self, entering into His rest as we walk in His clear instructions we are saved. Our strength which is the word גְּבוּרָה geḇurah – Strong’s H1369 means, strength, might, courage and comes from the word גָּבַר gaḇar – Strong’s H1396, which means, to be strong and mighty, prevail comes from our ability to be still and trust!

The word used for stillness is שָׁקַט shaqat – Strong’s H8252 which means, to be quiet, undisturbed, calm, and the word for trust is בִּטְחָה bitḥah – Strong’s H985 which is the feminine of בֶּטַח betaḥ - Strong’s H983 which means, security, confidence and comes from the root בָּטַח bataḥ - Strong’s H982 which means, to trust, rely on.

The clear call here is that Yisra’ĕl was to turn back to יהוה and trust in Him; and now herein chapter 40 we see the clear message being proclaimed in declaring that deliverance was near – certainly words of encouragement that Yisra’ĕl needed to hear – yet they needed to respond correctly! And it is the same Word and response needed today!

In Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:6-8 we see the clear message that tells us that to walk according to the flesh will kill you, and in the call to build up a highway and prepare the way for the coming Redeemer and King, in other words to be a ready and prepared Bride, we are to die to self and put to death the misdeeds of the flesh before a proper highway of set-apartness for יהוה can be made straight in the desert Wilderness! When His Spirit moves over us the fleshly part of us must die!

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:22-25 “Now that you have cleansed your lives in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned brotherly love, love one another fervently with a clean heart, 23 having been born again – not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible – through the living Word of Elohim, which remains forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the esteem of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 but the Word of Elohim remains forever.” And this is the Word, announced as Good News to you.

We are to let His everlasting Word cause us to put to death the fleshly so that our spirit can be renewed and are able to breathe deeply!

These words in Yeshayahu are a great encouragement to us who sojourn in the Wilderness and are finding our strength in Him, as His Word stands forever and so we have a sure and promised assurance of deliverance if we remain steadfast and not let our breath be taken away by tough circumstances – and the fact that grass withers but his Word stands forever is the Word announced as Good News!!! Good News because the Word is forever and the sinful flesh will die and so here this is certainly good news to those who respond correctly and are walking in obedience, but not so good news to the lawless flesh feeders who refuse to hear, guard and do the commands of Elohim:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1John 2:17 “And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.

The ‘comfort’ being proclaimed here is also a clear call to repentance in order to find the necessary breath needed to be a voice in the wilderness as the spirit of Eliyahu must first come again before messiah returns and this is the spirit that proclaims righteousness and the call to repentance – just as Noaḥ did to a wicked generation!

Ma’asei/Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and turn back, for the blotting out of your sins, in order that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Master

The Greek word for ‘refreshing’ is ἀνάψυξις  anapsuxis Strong’s G403 and means, ‘recovery of breath, refresh’ and we see that when we repent and turn back to The Master we may receive a recovery of breath – His Word giving us our very life that we may live and breathe and praise His Name – for everything that has breath praise יהוה!

It takes hearing obediently to clearly guard to do what His instructions tell us to and be filled with His Spirit/Breath/Word that He puts in those who turn back to Him and in Ḥaḇaqquq 3 we see the prophet plead with יהוה to ‘remember compassion’ in His wrath – in other words – remember those who return and are recovered by His Breath through the Fear of Elohim – remember the righteous who do His will and refresh His faithful remnant in the midst of these dark and perilous times!!!

We are to be a people who are strengthened to lift up our voice and not be afraid, as we proclaim the True Shepherd and Saviour of our souls – The Master יהוה of Hosts!

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master יהושע Messiah, the Father of compassion and Elohim of all comfort, 4 who is comforting us in all our pressure, enabling us to comfort those who are in every pressure, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by Elohim.

The Greek word used here for comfort is παρακαλέω parakaleō – Strong’s G3870 which means, call near, invite, invoke, be of good comfort, encourage and so we again see the two fold message in the call to return to the Truth we will find our true comfort and rest, as we acknowledge the work of Messiah and recognise that we who put to death the flesh, turn to Him and confidently guard His commands, witness that His Blood satisfies the wrath of Elohim that ought to be poured out on us, and we who drink the ‘Cup of Messiah’ in the partaking of the Pěsaḥ Meal and remain steadfast in our active belief will not drink of the cup of His wrath!

True repentance renders sin powerless, yet where there are any areas of sin/lawlessness in our lives, sin is crouching at the door waiting to pounce and it is only through true repentance that we can rule over the flesh and walk according to the spirit with bold confidence breathing deeply, having our breath renewed daily that we may faithfully praise יהושע our Master in all we do, whether in word or deed, aměn!

Are there any thorns in your life that have caused you to lose breath and sigh in exhaustion as the Word gets choked out through worries and deceit of riches and unnecessary stuff? Then hear the call from The Living Word and King and get rid of any thorns that may be hindering your sight, hearing and walk in Messiah and find your strength in Him as He causes you to breathe deeply, renewing that which has been weakened, so that you can confidently prepare the way for His imminent return!

The comfort that renews our breath to prepare the way, lies in our response to His call to set-apart living – He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit is saying as we hear the words of our Master:

Yoḥanan/John 4:35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months, and the harvest comes’? See, I say to you, lift up your eyes and see the fields, for they are white for harvest – already!

If you have breath then breathe deeply and praise Him, by doing what He has called us as a set-apart people to do; and if you have been short of breath then repent and turn back to Elohim so that a recovery of breath may come from the One whose Word is forever!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה cause His face to shine on you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you shalom!

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