(#4 in my short series on Isaiah for PCI's Tides Daily Readings...)
READ: ISAIAH 40: 1-5
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
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.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.[b]
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
REFLECT: “Comfort”. That is a word I use so many times in ministry. As we read this I am aware of those who need comfort. Some are grieving, concerned about their health or the health of loved ones and a plethora of other worries. Then there is the state of our world.
Isaiah 40 is a gear shift in this longest prophetic book. These next chapters are full of the Bible’s best literature filled with hope and redemption and revelation from a compassionate God.
Isaiah 40 is written to a people, ripped from their homes and cast into exile. Suddenly, there is a “be still and know that I am God” moment. God tells the prophet that “Comfort, comfort” are to be tenderly spoken in the trauma of exile.
When we are still to know this God, we find a grace centred, compassionate one, “slow to anger, rich in love”.
RESPOND: Bask for a few moments in the presence of a compassionate comforting God. Allow the spirit to caress your soul with grace, healing, soothing and bringing hope and solace to all of your anxieties and worries.