“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for.”
Isaiah 40:1-2, NIV
God’s people had been in rebellion. As a result they lost their spiritual protection and this led to their being exiled out of Jerusalem. They suffered the consequences of their own sin. But the time came when the Lord had mercy on them and said they had suffered enough. In repentance they returned home to Jerusalem. And it was then that God gave this instruction, to comfort His people.
For, it is a fact that often, when people have had to face reality about themselves and everything that was hidden is brought out into the open, one of the primary emotions that people experience is shame. We talk about people hanging their heads in shame – they don’t want to look at anyone. Shame becomes a controlling factor in their lives. But it’s not one that God wants us to remain controlled by.
When the people returned from Jerusalem, God wanted them to know that their sin was paid for and forgiven, and that He wanted them to know His comfort. For, without experiencing God’s comfort, ongoing shame would dominate their future behaviour and their lives. Shame acts like a cloud on your future destiny and a break on everything that you might want to do for the Lord.
Many times on retreats and courses the Holy Spirit has touched people’s lives. On occasion, I’ve then been in the position of hearing someone pour out all the ungodly things that have contributed to their present situation. For some this can be a very shame-filled moment. But Jesus died that we can be forgiven. The enemy would want us to wallow in the shame, but God wants people to know the comfort that follows forgiveness, as we realise that God has not rejected us because of what we have done. He tells us that the price for our sin has been paid and the last thing God would want us to do is wallow indefinitely in a pit of shame.
So God’s instruction is to bring His comfort to bear in the lives of His people, so that they can not only be forgiven for whatever is in their past, but healed as well. Satan could want to use our past to condemn our future. But the cross stands between us and our sin and God’s comfort flows from there into broken hearts, heals them and equips them as they set out on life once again, comforted, healed and restored into the Lord’ service.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your comfort is always available for those who have faced reality about themselves and come back to you Thank You that Your forgiveness is complete. Help me Lord to receive the comfort of Your love and not to allow shame to limit my future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.