Isaiah 40:1 (NIV)
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Isaiah wrote these words long before the nation of Judah would go into captivity because of her rebellious ways. These next twenty seven chapters are filled with hope and resurrection. Consider when these words of hope and comfort were written to the nation of Judah. Years before when they were still in rebellion and running from God.
It would not be too long now before they would experience the swift discipline of God. They would be carried away into captivity and forced to live a pagan land and learn pagan practices and find themselves being acclimated to a nation that had no regard for the things of God.
It would be almost seventy years after they were taken captive that the king of this foreign land would decree that all those who wanted to return to Judah could. He would pay their way so they could return and rebuild their temple of worship and live in the Promised Land once again.
The first thirty nine chapters of Isaiah were written to describe the ongoing judgment and discipline of the nations who had rejected God including Judah. Then there would be a period of seventy years where they would be in captivity.
There must have been some who were alive at the end of the captivity that thought they would never make it back to Jerusalem and the temple of God would never be rebuilt because they simply had sinned far too much for God to ever take them back.
When someone stumbled upon these words penned by Isaiah more than 100 years ago it must have felt unreal to believe such words as chapter forty contains. How long does God stay mad at his people? Will he ever receive them back again? Great questions that find their answer in what Isaiah wrote down years before the captivity was ever on the horizon. Now Isaiah has been dead over one hundred years and the promise of God becomes a reality for the nation of Judah.
God promised he would forgive them and take them back and now they are living in the days of God financing their return to Judah. Their sin has been paid for and their years of hard service are now over. What must of that been like? How do these words feel to you?
“Comfort. Comfort my people! Tell her, her hard service is over. Tell her, her sin is fully paid for.” These words are just as true for us as they were for Judah. Our sin has been paid for and the years of our hard service are now over. We no longer need to fear facing judgment for our sins because of what Christ has done for us. No more hard service, no more fear, no more guilt.
O what a day that will be.
See you tomorrow