Pastor Ronjour wrote this article for Midwestern Seminary's blog, For the Church.
I don't consider myself an old man just yet, but there are certain things that make me feel old. One such indicator is the television. I remember the days when my siblings and I played the role of the remote control— we had to leave the couch to turn the dial to one of the six or seven channels we had on the rabbit-eared TV. The picture was fuzzy with occasional horizontal lines running up and down the screen, but nonetheless it gave us a window to the world.
I remember when we made the jump to cable and digital TV, which came with its own remote control and a much better picture. I never thought it would get any better until I was introduced to high definition. This was a whole new world. Everything looked so crystal clear. Today, when I walk into a local Best Buy, I see ultra-HD, 4K curved TVs that promise the clearest picture for everyone in your living room.
Whether we talk about our TVs, laptops, phones, or tablets, we love seeing things clearly.
Pastor, this is no different for your congregation. Just as higher resolutions produce a clearer view of the world, so more focused attention on our God will produce a clearer worldview. Very little on TV is worth seeing clearly, but we will not survive without a clear vision of our great God. When you preach, show God in high definition.
The prophet Isaiah recognized this need for God's people. After thirty-nine chapters signaling God's judgment on Israel and the nations, Isaiah gave words of comfort to the exiles. The prophet announced three cries to comfort the exiled people with news of the end of their punishment (Isaiah 40:1-2), the coming of the Lord (40:3-5), and the reliability of his promise (40:6-8). With this vision revealed, Isaiah called the people of Zion to proclaim the good news (I.e., "gospel," v.9) of the coming God to the neighboring cities. Their message was clear: "Behold your God!" The cities were to behold three unique things about God:
First, God has unparalleled wisdom (12-17). This is clearly seen in creation. With laser-like precision he measured out the oceans and the skies, and like a master sculptor he chiseled out the mountains (12). He needed neither a college degree nor YouTube tutorials for such designs or even the structures that order society (13). Given the vastness of the universe God created, why would he consult us tiny humans? Indeed, all of the nations combined would amount to a mere drop in a bucket; they are utterly worthless in educating the omniscient (14-17).
Second, God has unparalleled authority (18-24). Unlike the idols that are totally dependent on their makers (18-20), God sits far above the earth as Creator and Sustainer of all of creation (21-22). He breaks kingdoms, empires, and presidential administrations to pieces by merely blowing on them like dandelions (23-24). Such absolute sovereignty simply has no equal.
Third, God has unparalleled power (25-26). This is seen in his relation to the stars. He is the one who organizes them into their constellations. He holds them together by the strength of his might, and they respond to his voice.
Pastor, help them see God. Why must your people see this God as clearly as possible? The answer is in the final verses (27-31): You have people who don't believe that God sees their situation. They believe that God has forgotten them. They are hopeless. Their health may have shaken their hope. Their financial needs may do it. Their struggles with sin or being sinned against— each one of these things bring static into our world to prevent us from seeing God clearly, and without a clear view of God, we will despair. Each week you have an opportunity to show your people the unparalleled greatness of our God. As you preach, you give your people a glimpse of the God who is their hope.
How can you show them this God? Preach Christ. In Christ the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God are clearly displayed (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; Ephesians 1:19-23), since he is the very image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3) and the mediator to bring us to God (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18). By preaching Christ in every sermon, you give your people a Most High Definition view of the only God who is a sure hope in this world.