“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” – Isaiah 40:2
Wow! What a Word for troubling times such as we are living in. As a result of Hurricane Dorian, people have been uprooted after losing all their earthly possessions – and depression, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger and hopelessness are bearing down heavily upon many. What are those who are believers in Jesus Christ supposed to do in times such as these? Are they just supposed to offer deepest sympathies and prophesy that more Dorians are on the way? No, this is a time for encouragement as discouragement is the path to death – morally, physically and spiritually!
One song says, “When trouble’s in your way, sing praises unto God and give him the highest praise. Hallelujah!”; another goes, “Encourage my soul and let us journey on, for the night is dark and I am far from home. Thanks be to God, the morning light appears, the storm is passing over, hallelujah!”
Israel was living in Babylon when Cyrus of Persia ruled. The prophet Isaiah had been preaching disaster, but this turned to a call of comfort to the captives and to accept the comfort God has for them. Indeed, these were words of hope. People do not want to hear nonsense and silly talking when they are down and out. Something I taught students was if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
In times like these, God says to comfort his people. To encourage the people and tell them they have suffered long enough and their sins are forgiven. He says he has punished them in full for all their sins.
“The sovereign Lord is coming to rule with power, bringing with him the people he has rescued. He will take care of his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs together and carry them in his arms. He will gently lead their mothers.” – Isaiah 40:11.
“To the Lord the nations are nothing, no more than a drop of water, the distant islands are as light as dust. All the animals in the forests of Lebanon are not enough for a sacrifice to our God, and its trees are too few to kindle the fire. The nations are nothing at all to him.
“To whom can God be compared? How can you describe what he is like? He is not like an idol that workers cover with gold and set it on a base of silver. Anyone who cannot afford silver or gold chooses wood that will not rot. He finds a skillful worker to make an image that won’t fall down.
“He brings down powerful rulers and reduces them to nothing. They are like young plants just set out and barely rooted. When the Lord sends a wind, they dry up and blow away like sand.
“Israel (and Bahamas, you too), why then do you complain that the Lord doesn’t know your troubles, or care if you suffer injustice? Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts. He strengthens those who are weak and tired. Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted.
“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not grow weak.” – Isaiah 40:15-31
Words of comfort from the Lord for the people of God.