Comfort My People

David Bast

Read: Isaiah 40:1-8

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (v. 1 KJV)

Whenever I read this verse, I hear it as music in my head—the first words of Handel’s Messiah. For most of us that word “comfort” suggests relaxation or pleasure. We’re happy when we can put on comfortable clothes; we turn to comfort food to cheer us up. Or we may think of comfort as soothing, as when a mother kisses her child’s “owie.”

But when God speaks comfort to his people, he doesn’t just change how they feel; he changes where they are. Biblical comfort isn’t an emotional boost; it’s a promise of deliverance from exile. Comfort is the strength we draw from the hope of the salvation proclaimed by God.

God’s comfort is just as much for us today, because whatever bondage sin—whether our own or others’—may have landed us in, whatever wilderness we may be wandering through, the Lord has promised to free us and see us safely home. “For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song” (Isa. 51:3).

Isn’t all this just a happy dream, that there’s a loving heavenly Father out there who someday will make everything right? How do we know it’s true? The reason is because “the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isa. 40:5). In a world where all is passing away, one thing endures: the Word of God. —David Bast

As you pray, draw strength from the promises of God.