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Rev. Carl H. Kemp, Pastor

Comfort

August 19, 2007

When is comfort part of God’s plan for us?

 Isaiah 40:1-11

KEY VERSE: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1niv)

 

God comforts us when we face trials. The book of Isaiah makes a dramatic shift at this point. The following chapters discuss the majesty of God, who is coming to rule the earth and judge all people. God will reunite Israel and Judah and restore them to glory. Instead of warning the people of impending judgment here, Isaiah comforts them. Chapter 40 refers to the restoration after the exile. But Judah still had one hundred years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then seventy years of exile. So God tells Isaiah to speak tenderly and to comfort Jerusalem.

 

The seeds of comfort may take root in the soil of adversity. When your life seems to be falling apart, ask God to comfort you. You may not escape adversity, but you may find God’s comfort as you face it. Sometimes, however, the only comfort we have is in the knowledge that someday we will be with God. Appreciate the comfort and encouragement found in his Word, his presence, and his people.

 

Also read:  2 Corinthians 1:3-11

KEY VERSE: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4niv)

God offers us comfort even during our difficulties.

       Many think that when God comforts us, our hardships should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only to be relieved of pain and not out of love for him. We must understand that being comforted can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our hardships. The more we suffer, the more comfort God gives us. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Remember that every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar hardships.

 

I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. (Job 16:4-5niv)

 

God comforts us so that we may help comfort others. Job’s friends were supposed to be comforting him in his grief. Instead they condemned him for causing his own suffering. Job began his reply to Eliphaz by calling him and his friends “miserable comforters.” Job’s words reveal several ways to become a better comforter to those in pain:

 

 (1) Don’t talk just for the sake of talking;

(2) Don’t sermonize by giving pat answers;

(3) Don’t accuse or criticize;

(4) Put yourself in the other person’s place; and

 (5) Offer help and encouragement.

 

Try Job’s suggestions, knowing that they are given by a person who needed great comfort. The best comforters are those who know something about personal suffering.

 

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