‘Comfort my people,’ says our God. ‘Comfort them!
Encourage the people of Jerusalem.
Tell them they have suffered long enough
and their sins are now forgiven.
I have punished them in full for all their sins.’ (verses 1,2)
Read Isaiah 40:1-14
In a boxing match the referee can put a stop to the bout if he believes a fighter is taking too hard a pounding. This is to prevent the boxer from becoming too badly injured or demoralised.
‘That’s enough!’ God says through the prophet Isaiah. The people of Judah and Jerusalem had been badly battered by the Babylonians. Most of them had been carried away to Babylon as slaves. There they languished, despondent and demoralised, believing that God had forsaken them. They needed comfort and encouragement.
This is what the prophet brings them. He tells them that ‘their sins are now forgiven’ and that ‘the Sovereign LORD is coming to rule with power, bringing with him the people he has rescued’ (verse 10).
Comfort and encouragement—that’s what we all need at some time. Through Jesus, God assures us that our sins are truly forgiven and that he will rescue us from our sense of hopelessness.
Merciful God, lift me out of my despair through Jesus Christ, and comfort me when I reach the end of my tether. Amen.
by John Vitale, in ‘Refreshment for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2003)
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