A Call to Comfort
(Isaiah 60:1-22; 61:1-11; 62:1-2: 63:1-19; 64:1-12)
Does God call us to be comfortable? Perhaps not. But He surely does call His people to be comforters. In fact, He has set the example. The Holy Spirit of God is called The Comforter.
What is a comforter? In today’s culture, we commonly speak of a comforter as a pillow-soft, fluffy quilt that wraps us in cozy warmth while we rest. Certainly, this is so. On a larger scale, a comforter may be anyone who eases the suffering (or discomfort) of another.
How might we blanket others in the warm comfort of God’s own love and mercy?
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah spoke of the ministry of comforting in Isaiah 61.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel.
He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.
Long after Isaiah penned these prophetic words, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth, and quoted Isaiah 61. (See Luke 4.)
Surely the ministry of the Lord includes proclaiming His good news, comforting the brokenhearted, and announcing His release of those who were once captive to sin and death. May we join the wonderful work of God, telling those who mourn that He promises eternal joy and peace in the mighty name of Jesus. May our great God establish us in His will.
Christian artists have painted and performed many creative works, based upon these treasured verses. Here’s one of my own favorites: “Beauty for Ashes,” sung by Crystal Lewis at a Harvest Crusade.
Will you pray with me?
We thank You
For replacing our sorrows with joy
By removing the danger of sin and death.
We praise You
For planting Your peace
And Your everlasting joy
Within our hearts.
No matter what we may face
In this life,
We know You hold us
In Your everlasting hands.
Nudge us to share
Your good news
With those who need to know.
Make us comforters,
Empowered by Your own Comforter,
The Spirit of the living God.