Comfort of Restoration

A story is told of how Paganini once came into the concert room, took the violin, and touched the strings. First one string broke, and a smile went round the room; then another string broke, and there was more audible expression of mockery; when a third string broke, many p … More

Comfort

The book of Isaiah makes a dramatic switch of emphasis at this point. Where the previous chapters are filled with messages of judgment, this chapter and the following emphasizes restoration and deliverance. We need to keep in mind that as Isaiah wrote these prophecies of restoration, Judah still had over 100 years of difficulty ahead of her before she would fall to Babylon and then be forced into 70 years of captivity. However, instead of warning the people of impending judgment, Isaiah comforts them. The people saw failure and sin and needed encouragement. Four voices are heard:

  1. The voice of pardon (vv. 1-2) - The nation had sinned greatly against the Lord but they were His people and He loved them and would not forsake them.
  2. The voice of providence (vv. 3-5) - Isaiah calls out to the people to “prepare for the way of the Lord” (v. 3) and His glory (v. 5). The wilderness (v. 3) is a picture of life’s trials.
  3. The voice of promise (vv. 6-8) - People here are compared to grass and flowers that wither to God who never fails and endures forever. As Israel begins its long journey home, the people can depend on God’s promises.
  4. The voice of peace (vv 9-11) - God’s arm is a mighty arm for the battle (v. 10), but it is also a loving arm for carrying His weary lambs (v. 11).

In creating the universe God did not need anyone to help Him (vv. 12-14). Compared to the One who holds the oceans in His hands the nations of the earth are nothing (vv. 15-17).

Application

When my life seems to be falling apart, I need to go to God for comfort. I may not escape adversity, but I can find God’s comfort as I face it.

Isaiah 40:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

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