Comfort for God’s People

As we draw closer to Christmas, Christians around the world are celebrating Christ’s birth and are anticipating his return. Last week we talked about the start of Advent, which comes from a Latin word meaning “coming.” We begin Advent by anticipating Christ’s second coming and work our way backwards to his birth (first coming). Peace is the theme for this week, and it’s a timely one as we look at what is happening all over. Many Christians are being persecuted and multiple countries are actively engaged in warfare.

During Isaiah’s time, the Israelites were being pursued by the Assyrians and the North (10 northern tribes) fell in 722 B.C. Through Isaiah, God was warning those in the south that the same thing was going to happen to them if they didn’t repent. But mixed in with stern warnings to repent were messages of hope and peace, of what should be in the future. God didn’t create us to tear each other apart and destroy. He created us to be kind, compassionate, and merciful.

Isaiah 40 is an anticipation of a time when the Messiah would come and restore peace: “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” (Isaiah 40:1, 2 ESV).

Isaiah 40 ends with the infamous passage that he gives power to the faint, and increases the strength of those with no might. . . “but they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (vs. 31). This was Jesus’ ministry when he came. He strengthened the weak, healed the injured, and restored peace. Like Israel, we await a time when perfect peace is restored.