1 “Comfort; comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and say to her, that her compulsory labour will be fulfilled, that her sin will be paid for, that she has taken from the hand of Yahveh double payment for all her sins.” 3 Be a voice calling in the wilderness, “Clear the road for Yahveh! Make a highway smooth in the desert for our God! 4 Every valley should be lifted up, and every mountain and hill should become low, And the rough ground should be like a plain, and the rugged ground like a low valley. 5 Then the glory of Yahveh will be revealed, and all flesh will see him together, because the mouth of Yahveh has spoken.”
reasons for comfort
“God’s comfort is not a hollow, positive-thinking, “There’s-a-silver-lining-behind-every-cloud” kind of message. God always gives His people reasons for comfort” (David Guzik). Isaiah speaks comfort for Jerusalem for the following reasons.
1. The exile will come to an end. God regarded the exile as a period of compulsory labour, and he sees the end of that period. He wants to assure his people that there will be life after exile. He wants to assure us of the same fact. No matter what we may be dealing with, even if we consider it an exile of our own making, God comforts us with the assurance that there will be an end to it.
2. Her sin will be paid for. They cannot overcome their own transgressions, but the Messiah will. He alone can and will bring redemption and restoration. Jerusalem will have paid double for their sins, first by their exile, then by the sacrificial atonement their Messiah will bring about by his own death on the cross.
3. Jerusalem will become a level place and on it the glory of Yahveh will be revealed. All of the former pretence to power and importance will be erased, and while that is happening, the Messiah will come. The glory of Yahveh will be revealed in him. This happens in both advents, and Isaiah puts them both together here. Ultimately, his words reflect the fact that when the Messiah returns to set up his kingdom on earth, all nations will see and recognize him as their rightful king.
LORD, thank you for the comfort from your word, comfort for all who wait for your Christ.