Blood, much blood, rivers of blood have been spilled on the soil of this nation. From biblical times to this present moment so much blood has been spilled; sometimes, it may seem as if reality defies the Word of God, such as the first verses of Isaiah 40.
Is. 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Is. 40:2 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.
Yet, at a second look into these verses, we may find that the primary comforting of Israel here meant, is her restoration to God; the forgiveness of her iniquity.
Indeed, is there a loss or sorrow greater than the loss of God? Is there anything more horrific than the loss of fellowship with Him; the estrangement from God Himself?
That is the root of all our other sorrows and grief. Having rebelled against God, our estrangement from Him has led to much loss and pain:
Lam. 1:18 “The LORD is righteous, For I rebelled against His commandment. Hear now, all peoples, And behold my sorrow; My virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.
And in this context her comforting is also seen as directly connected with her restoration to God:
Is. 12:1 And in that day you will say: “O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Is. 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; “For YAH, the LORD is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ”
Isa 51:11 So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
And this reconciliation with God will have a profound effect on the physical world around us as well:
Is. 51:3 For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
Not only the land but also the people:
Jer. 31:13 “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow. Jer. 31:14 I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.”
The root of all comfort
As we look at this, we must remember that Israel’s redemption, her return to union with her God, is because of the blood of the Son of God, shed on the cross. Of all bloodshed on the earth, His was the only one that brought cleansing, redemption, salvation, and comfort.
“Oh, Lamb of God thou wonderful sin bearer!”
We find the designation of the Holy Spirit as Comforter in the KJV as amazingly appropriate. Some Bibles translate the Greek word parakletos as ‘helper (NKJV, ESV, NASB), but it is exceptionally appropriate to call Him Comforter, as He is the one who “appears in another’s behalf, mediator, intercessor, helper “ (BDAG) and He “pleads another’s cause before a judge” (Thayer).
The comforting here is the work of God to reconcile us to Himself. And this is what I believe, is meant primarily in Isaiah 40. The root of all comfort is in this: the removal of the one great barrier of Sin between God and Man (all those who believe) and the removal of Death through this reconciliation. Col. 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Is. 25:7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
Is. 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Is. 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
And to all who love Jerusalem (mentioned above as 'this mountain'), and all of what she means to the Kingdom of God and His eternal plan is promised a partaking in her consolations. Satisfied in Him!
Is. 66:10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
Is. 66:11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
Stand with us dear fellow intercessors, stand with us and pray for the mighty outpouring and work of God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Pray with us from these wonderful verses and indeed the whole of Isaiah 40 as it unfolds the supremacy of God overcoming all obstacles to the revelation of His person in great glory.
Blessings from Jerusalem,