In studying Isaiah today I was once again reminded of one of the greatest musical works ever written, Handel's "Messiah". Although this was written for an Easter presentation, today we hear it performed most often at Christmastime. Personally, I listen to it year round, and never fail to marvel at the greatness of this work.
For those who are unaware of it's origins, Handel wrote this entire composition in only 21 days. He had previously suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed on his left side. Those who have no understanding of music can scarcely comprehend what an amazing feat it was for him to compose this in such a short period of time. But Handel felt inspired of God and commented, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God himself". His valet was to often find Handel weeping at his desk as he composed; overcome by the message and the music he was writing.
I find it difficult to read the scriptures in Isaiah without hearing the music in my mind. In fact, the music seems to add meaning by emphasizing certain words and phrases. I have collected a few of the scriptures used in Messiah. When I read these verses, I hear the majesty that was in Handel's vision.
--Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplish'd, that her Iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
(Isaiah 40 : 1-3)
--O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 40 : 9; Isaiah 60 : 1)
--For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9 : 6)
--He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
(Isaiah 40 : 11)
--Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows! He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53 : 4-5)
If you have never heard this performed before, or are unfamiliar with this work, I suggest you invest in a good CD and listen several times to familiarize yourself with the beauty of this work.