from Lynda Lindsey
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.” Isaiah 40:1-3
Go on 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!” Isaiah 40:9
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Judah, having just escaped Assyrian domination, learned of a future Babylonian invasion that would leave Jerusalem ruined and the nation exiled. Judah, desperate for hope, was ripe for God’s comfort. The Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, helper and Redeemer, forgets not His own! He comes with might and power yet He is also gentle like a shepherd tending his flock. In life’s barren desert places, He hears, and answers, His people’s cries; He will make His people once again rejoice in Him! Toss aside every idol, every futile thing; depend only on the great I Am, for behold, our God comes!
Fragile, broken in body and spirit? Weak and weary? Spent, withered, dry, like faded flowers? Hungry and thirsty? Afraid? Fear not! Come to the great I Am; listen before Him in stillness and silence. Let His comfort wash over you; let His strength renew you. Herald the Good News: warfare is ended; iniquity is pardoned! Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the desert a highway for our God! He is coming. He came! He’s coming again! Come, take, eat, drink. For as long as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
We are frail creatures, but the Word of the Lord stands forever. Repent, get rid of every hindrance, every obstacle, climb the highest heights and shout, “Behold, our God!” Look, all men and nations; see God, powerful, yet gentle and tender. Make way, for our God comes! Fear not, He is with us; He strengthens and helps us, He upholds us with His righteous right hand. As the first and last verses of Isaac Watts’ hymn declare, “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.” Warfare is ended, iniquity is pardoned; be comforted! O God, Our Help in Ages Past, Isaac Watts, 1719