RECEIVE THE COMFORT OF GOD
– At times in our lives we need comfort.
– We all go through those really low moments in life when we need someone to come alongside us and to comfort and console us.
– When my wife passed away in 2018, people came and comforted me. Some just stood with me at her graveside, some prayed for me, some brought physical help in the form of food or assistance. Still others comforted me by their kindness, their words, their actions, their very presence, and even by their physical touch. I was comforted and I believe it was ultimately God who was comforting me.
– At this time in history we are facing a global challenge. Things are hard, and tough times seem to have become a living reality for so many people. There is fear and uncertainty on the one side, and hunger and sickness on the other. People, all around the world, are caught between the physical reality of challenges and the emotional toll of what appears to be something that is out of control.
– In the midst of all this, I am here to comfort you today.
– Today, the Lord wants to come and comfort you.
– As His representative, I am here to extend His hand of comfort to you today.
– Receive the comfort that comes from the Lord, right now.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5
Key verse: Isaiah 40:1 ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.’
1. MY PEOPLE
– In verse 1 we see an interesting verse.
– In the verse, The Lord tells the prophet to comfort the people of God.
– Isaiah 40:1 ‘Comfort, comfort MY people…’
– The nation had been in captivity and with the captivity came all sorts of challenges and struggles.
– Now, things were about to change. God was about to step into their world and situation, and bring about changes that would have seemed unlikely and almost impossible. The Lord was telling them that things would change, and this change was a hope they had given up on seeing take place.
– In the instruction, the Lord says: ‘Comfort, comfort MY people!’
– As Children of God, we have the wonderful privilege of belonging to the Lord.
– Let me remind you that you are HIS, you are HIS child.
– You are valuable and precious to the Lord and He loves you.
– In His love, He is reaching out to each one of us to remind us that we are HIS.
– We belong to the Lord.
– Our worth comes from the wonderful fact that we belong to God.
– Maybe, today, you feel like you are under ‘lock and key’. You do not belong to the ‘locks and keys’ around you, you belong to God.
– No matter what you are struggling with today, you do not belong to that thing, you belong to God.
– Let me remind you and comfort you with the knowledge that you belong to God and you are HIS.’
– This truth is something Lord speaks over you and your situation: ‘Thus, says your God!’
2. YOUR GOD
– Continuing in verse 1, we see another interesting detail.
– Isaiah 40:1 ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.’
– The phrase at the end of the sentence says: ‘says YOUR God!’
– Here we see how the Lord confirms to His people that He is their God.
– He does not simply say: ‘Says God!’
– He adds the word ‘YOUR’ to the equation.
– So now, not only do we know that we belong to Him, but in a wonderful way, He is ours.
– We can know an even greater sense of belonging in the fact that God is our God, He is YOUR Lord and God.
– Let me remind you that HE is the Lord YOUR God.
– Isaiah 43:3 ‘Because I am God, your personal God!’ (The Message Translation)
– Your God is still in control of all things and your God knows what you are facing and going through, and He will be with you!
3. GOD WILL INTERVENE
– This is an amazing story, as God intersects the lives of the people, and begins to speak hope.
– Isaiah 40:2 ‘Speak tenderly to her, 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.’
– The Lord tenderly speaks to His people giving them a hope and a future.
– It is not a booming voice out of the heavens like a trumpet or a bolt of thunder with lightning.
– Notice that He speaks tenderly to His people.
– He gently steps in and speaks words of comfort and reassurance.
– The Lord consoles His people.
– He wants to do the same for you, He wants to step into your ‘world’ and your situation, and console you, and comfort you with the hope that only He can bring.
– The Lord actually identifies the fact that there has been a struggle and there has been suffering, but it is about to end.
– The promise of restoration is given and that promise includes a double blessing for the future.
– Isaiah 40:2 ‘she has received from the LORD’s hand double…’
– The Lord is here, right now, to comfort and encourage you. The end is in sight and the future looks promising because He is the Lord your God.
4. THE NEW
– Part of what the Lord has in store for His people is something new.
– His promise to them is a return of the people from captivity.
– The captivity, the bondage and the lockdown would end, and they would know freedom, release and joy.
– The promise was that the sad days would be over and gone
– Isaiah 40:2 ‘Her sad days are gone…’ (Living Bible)
– All this would be made possible by the merciful intervention (the favour) of God.
– It would be more than just restoration to normality, but a restoration to a wonderful new normal.
– The new normal would be freedom and joy.
– The new normal would be double blessing.
– The new normal would also be a glorious and everlasting kingdom.
– Be encouraged, the Lord your God is working in the situation you are facing, and, although things look dark, He will bring about restoration and bring new and wonderful things into your life.
– Do not just long to ‘get back’ to normal, expect and ‘look forward’ to a new normal that will be different and better.
5. THE BATTLE WILL PASS
– When we go through things that are difficult and challenging it may sometimes feel as if the circumstances or situation will never change.
– Perhaps, when you look at the situation, you think it could never change or get better?
– But with God in the equation of our lives, things can and will change.
– If the battles go on long enough, we can even sink down into discouragement.
– The Nation of Israel was in this exact position.
– In the very moment, the Lord came to comfort and encourage them.
– He delivered a comforting message, from Himself to His people, so that they would not sink under their burdens.
– The Lord wants to do the same for you today.
– He comes to you, as only He can, to comfort and remind you that things will change, things will be better, and the battle will pass.
– We are living in a battle, it is a war, but the struggle will not last.
– Take hold of the hope that He is giving you today!
6. MAKE SPACE FOR MORE OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE
– During this time in our lives, we must not waste the opportunity we have been given.
– We have an opportunity, during all that is going on, to develop our relationship with the Lord our God.
– Do not make space for fear and doubt in your heart, make more space for the Lord.
– Isaiah 40:3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!’
– Often our lives can become cluttered and consumed with all the ‘issues of life’.
– We have an opportunity to declutter and rid our lives of things that would disturb our relationship with the Lord.
– We have this wonderful opportunity to deal with the obstacles and make a way, and build a straight highway, for the Lord to become the dominant player in our lives.
– Perhaps your relationship with the Lord has become a bit of a wilderness or a wasteland.
– Anywhere where God is not, is a wilderness and wasteland.
– We need the Lord in our lives, we cannot do without Him.
– So, let us deal with the hindrances and let us make right with Him, so that He can turn our wilderness into a well-watered garden and our wasteland into a fruitful field.
– Isaiah 40:4 ‘Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.’
7. HE WILL DO IT
– The Lord is the One who will step into our lives and bring about the change we so desperately need and long for.
– We live in a world where there is not much that we as individuals can do to bring about change, except to call out to God for help – pray.
– But God can and God will.
– Look what it says in verse 6.
– Isaiah 40:6 A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?”
– It is time for us to focus on the Lord and on what God has said.
– We cannot keep on singing the song of despair that the world is singing. |
– Let us change our confession and begin to confess something different.
– Let us begin to proclaim in His name, that the time of struggle, captivity, and misery, is finished.
– Let us start to declare that a double blessing, or a double portion of His blessings, are ours and will be ours.
– Speak it out, shout it out, and let that be your reality.
8. THE GLORY OF THE LORD WILL BE REVEALED
– Nothing ever happens in this world or in our lives that God will not use to bring Him glory.
– He can even take situations that seem hopeless and turn them into something for His glory.
– In the middle of this whole story, we see the purpose and intention of the Lord.
– Isaiah 40:5 ‘And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’
– I believe that, somehow, through all that is going on, God’s glory will be revealed, and it will be something that no man can take credit for.
– He is using what the world is going through and what you are facing as an opportunity for His glory to be revealed.
– Your situation, and our situation as a global community, is a wonderful opportunity to see what God will do.
– So, be comforted and be encouraged.
– The Lord has wonderful plans for each one of us.
– Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
By Pastor Andrew Roebert
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