Isaiah portrayed a God who is determined to overcome and overrule the stubborn rebellion of the people he loves:
“I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way. I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord, who heals them. (Isaiah 57: 17-19)
The people who read this prophecy mush have longed for the day when God would settle their chaos with peace, restore their health with healing, and soothe their mourning with the comfort that only He can provide.
When Jesus came, he didn’t seem quick to eliminate all mourning. In fact, he said, “God blesses those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4). Jesus wasn’t denying the comfort God had promised; in fact he wanted to fulfill that very promise. But Jesus knew that lasting comfort for the sadness in this life begins with deep sadness over sin.
This blessed mourning begins when we stop blaming others and own up to what we are and what we’ve done. Only this redemptive anguish can make us happy forever because it can lead us to the Cross.
This is the comfort Isaiah spoke of, the comfort God provides in the person and work of Jesus. Just when we are convinced that we are hopelessly lost in our sin, we open our eyes to see Jesus. He alone is our hope. He has removed our offense. He comforts us with the assurance that he has taken care of our guilt.
He will hold us fast.
My Comforter, my heart has been broken in the best way as your Spirit has shown me my sinfulness and assured me of the sufficiency of your sacrifice. I’m comforted in knowing that my sin will not have the last word in my future. Your grace will have the final word when your wipe away my tears forever.
Song: He will Hold Me Fast by Keith & Kristyn Getty
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.