From the Text (Isaiah 40:1-9)
“Comfort, comfort, ye My people, Speak ye peace, thus saith our God.” That’s from a beautiful hymn connected with this text. Lovely tune. It’s slow. It’s calming. It’s peaceful. Life is busy and chaotic and we could all use a little more slowness and calm and peace. We could all use some comfort and we could all use double the comfort, comfort. Iniquity is pardoned. Warfare ended. We’re God’s people and He is our God. O, what comfort, comfort.
But the text also continue:
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
For our Repentance
If you’re in the way, you’re getting bulldozed. If we resist, we will be overrun. If we are standing around, indifferent to the King of the Universe, unaware of His Word or will, we will be flattened. Ignorance is not an excuse.
The Lord doesn’t want to see you flattened. Sin is not in accord with God’s will and anyone standing in sin will be bulldozed. Nothing gets in His way. O man. If you don’t think that is you, then you need to pray the collect again – Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation – your heart is darkened to your own sin. If you don’t think the applies to you, then you need to hear this word again – 1 Corinthians 4:1This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. You do not own your mouth, use it as the Lord desires you to use it. You are a steward. You do not own your body, you do not own your mind, or time, or talents, or money – you are a steward.
6-7 – We’re like flowers—beautiful, perhaps, for a few days; then wilted, drooping, dead. Pessimistic? Yes. Accurate. Yes. Do you feel it in your body – it fading, withering? Do you see it in your life – weariness? Do you see it in your family? Something is broken here. And we, when confessing that we are so helpless, and weak and withery and finite and full of sin and in the way of the Lord’s coming, our highs in our pride are too high and our lows in our despair are too low – are exactly where our Lord wants us to be. You see, if we want to be big, tough, ruggedly independent, stand up to God or even stand up before God as we are—sin and all—if we’re going to set ourselves up as mountains in God’s way, then the last thing is a God whom nothing can get in His way of coming.
For our Comfort
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
But, dear repentant saints, dear saints who feel withery and in the way and guilty, God’s Word stands forever. His promises are accomplished. His Words are reality. His words – comfort, comfort – abide. It isn’t a wish, it isn’t an idea, it is the Word of the Lord. We receive comfort from the Lord’s hand because the wrath we deserved was poured up Jesus’ as His hands were nailed to the tree. He who is eternal took on flesh and blood to be bulldozed by God’s wrath, but He took our sins with Him. He lives. He endures forever and He comes today. Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Comfort for you in your sorrow and sin. You are His people. He is your God. He is for you. You are baptized. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem – the harsh word we deserve was spoken to Jesus and we hear His tender Word today. You are not in His way because you are in Jesus who is the way, the truth and life and cry to her that her warfare is ended – your enemies are defeated. Sin is swallowed up. Death is defeated. Satan is crushed. that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord‘s hand double for all her sins. – we not only don’t get punished for our sin, we in fact receive the blessings of eternal God today.
Nothing gets in the way of this God and this word. What comfort, comfort, indeed!
** Seed thoughts for this meditation were taken from an article by Carl Fickenscher in Concordia Pulpit Resources, Volume 1, 2006