“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
“Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her (D)iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand
Double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:1-2 (NASB)
A few years ago, while worshiping with some friends in a church comprised of mostly homeless urban men and women, the 60-something Church Mother on the first row declared, “That’s just like my Jesus!” I can’t quite remember exactly what she was responding to, but whatever it was, it reminded her of her Saviour.
Just a few days ago, my dad looked at me and said, “Son, I see Shelton all over your face.” I ‘m sure he was thinking of his father, uncles and brothers. I smiled and thanked him.
It is well known and generally accepted that the infant – mother bond is first anchored in identification and imprinting. As soon as a child’s brain is able to detect the familiar look, sound and emotion of that vital bond, it becomes a source of comfort. Similarly, when you and I recognize the familiar voice of friends and family, emotions instinctively stir within us before we can stop them.
Isaiah, the worshiper, recorded in his journal, something to help identify and imprint God’s intentions for Jerusalem during a stormy time in their history. Mighty kings were making alliances and expanding their kingdoms. One of Isaiah’s responsibilities was to warn Judah and Israel regarding those alliances and predict their outcome. However, in the midst of these warnings and prophecies, he spoke often regarding God’s plan to save them. Over and over again he sought to imprint that message in their collective understanding. In spite of what might happen, in spite of rebellion and captivity, God would comfort His people. And what’s more, He would give them double blessing for their troubles. Even though the context of isaiah 40 is God, Isaiah and Jerusalem, “That’s just like my Jesus!”
Which begs the question, when is it right to worship? Is it when things are good and we see signs of prosperity all around, or when things are not so good and there is no relief in sight? Isaiah’s journal would say both; it’s always the right time to worship.
So: whether it is to Jerusalem when she is under siege, or David when he ascends to the throne; whether it is Jesus’ disciples when listening to the hopeful words recorded in the 14th chapter of John’s journal, or the grief experienced in his record of the beating and crucifixion that soon followed those promises – worship is our best response and comfort is His predictable reward. That’s just like my Jesus!