Sunday’s Scripture – December 6, 2020
There are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah. It can be challenging to read because, not only is the language prophetic, but the first 39 chapters are a bit gloom and doom. They describe Isaiah’s visions about the coming judgment of God on Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom, because of their sin. As history shows, Judah eventually falls to Babylon and all the people are carried away as exiles.
Needles to say, by the time you make it to chapter 40, (if you can make it that far!) you’re ready for this reprieve:
“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her that she has serve her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2)
Ahhhh, comfort. Doesn’t that sound nice? Who couldn’t use a little comfort at the end of a long, hard calendar year and the start of a new church year?
We tend to think of comfort as warm and fuzzy, giving permission to feel okay, and thus stay where we are. But, think about the purpose of the comforter on a bed. Sleep is not just rest from the work and toil of a day, it is also strength to move forward.
The Holy Spirit is The Comforter. The Holy Spirit, too, gives us strength to move forward, despite our circumstances, whatever they may be.
And that’s exactly what the next verses in Isaiah 40 would indicate. Because, the response to the comfort of God is to “prepare the way.” God’s comfort gives us strength to set about the work of preparing the way for Christ to come again. And, with Him, to bring peace and reconciliation.
Of course, these words from the prophet Isaiah would appear in scripture again, much later, in the opening verses of Mark’s Gospel. This time, they are used to describe John the Baptist’s call to prepare the way for the ministry of Christ at His first coming.
And it’s our call today as we anticipate Christ’s second coming.
Receive the comfort of God today. Let it strengthen You for the work of Advent– preparing the way of the Lord.
- How is God extending comfort to you today? Will you receive it and let it strengthen you?
- How can you prepare the way for Christ in your heart, home, church, and community this Advent season?