“You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:9).
Do not be afraid!
God encounters can be a fearful experience. Just ask Adam (Genesis 3:10). Or we could ask Moses. “Hey Moses, remember the burning bush?” He would most likely say, “Don’t mention it!” While the sight was spectacular, the presence was overwhelming – Moses was afraid.
These are just two examples of many similar encounters, where, fear of God is rightly due. The Bible is a book that consistently brings to the forefront a reassuring encouragement: “Don’t be afraid!” and the reassurance comes from the One who should be feared (Psalm 76:11).
As we are drawn into God’s grace, we find ourselves “invited” not to fear, but rejoice in God’s presence and His consideration. Even more, as His children, we are to approach His throne boldly (Hebrews 4:16).
In our reading (Isaiah 40:9, 10) the prophet (or the Spirit of God through him) was addressing the good-news-bringer: “You who bring good news…”
The news becomes good only when it addresses a real situation; when it covers the suffering; when it announces the end of danger. Isaiah foresaw that ‘the bad times’ were coming to an end – ‘sin had been paid for’ (Isaiah 40:2). It was time for the good news to be ‘released’.
The good news was so good that it deserved to be announced from the height of a mountain… the very top, why not? The good news was so good that it deserved to be heard in every town of Judah… every one of them, why not? Because everybody had to hear the good news: “Here is your God!”.
Because the good news was about God, in His majesty, splendour, power and mercy, it had to be announced fearlessly. Don’t be afraid.