Comfort, comfort my people says your God.
(Isaiah 40:1 ESV)
God directs tender words to be spoken to His people, words of hope and pardon. There is a message of preparation, “Get ready for God’s visitation.” There is a message of enduring hope, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” And there is the message of God’s arrival, “Behold your God!”
Could anything be more glorious? “Behold, God is at the gates!” He has forgiven, He comes to gently lead and to justly rule. The all-surpassing joy of such a proclamation! As someone who is not descended from Israel, I read Isaiah 40:1-9 rejoicing for them and yearning to be part of the celebration of God’s coming to His people. God is coming to abide with His people and how I long to be part of that people with whom God dwells!
Paul reckons there is a chance for me:
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
(Romans 9:25 ESV)
God is going to name people who were not His people as His people, even His beloved!
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in [Jesus Christ] will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:11-13 ESV)
So I can rejoice with Israel that God is coming to His people – has already come and will come again. The comfort offered to Israel is that God Himself will come to them, and God Himself comes to each of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. He came, to purchase our redemption with His life. He comes, calling each of us to follow Him. He is coming, to receive His beloved at the end of all things.
My comfort comes in beholding my God; His majesty, His mercy, and His meekness.
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
(Matthew 21:5 ESV)