Isaiah 51 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
Once again Isaiah returns to the theme of comfort in this chapter. And here he is clearly addressing the remnant of God’s people who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord. They have endured great hostility and loss through the Babylonian captivity, but through the means of the mysterious servant of God, the Lord will bring salvation to Israel, and God’s kingdom will be restored in all its glory as a light to all the nations of the world. Even the peoples from far away, from the coastlands await this day and will put their hope in this savior to come.
Currently, Israel is described as a wilderness and a wasteland as a result of God’s curse upon it, but the Lord promises to comfort his people and turn that wilderness into a garden like Eden, a place where God dwells among his people and where one continually hears the sound of thanksgiving and song, where all of God’s people will sing with gladness and everlasting joy and all sorrow and sighing will flee away. There the reviler will not enter, there the oppressor will not be not known.
As the Lord had previously shared that he was the one who had brought these dark days upon them and had ordered this great calamity, so, too, he is the one who will bring them comfort. In v.12, he assures them, “I, I am he who comforts you.” Then, again, in v.19 he asks, “…who will console you,” and “…who will comfort you,” in the midst of this great loss and devastation, in a time of great fear and worry.
Our God has revealed to us in 2 Corinthians 1:3ff that he is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction. The problem is not that God is reluctant to comfort us but that we, at times, refused to be comforted by him. We know that he is sovereign and brings forth these calamities, but we don’t often understand why. And sometimes, as in the case of Israel, we wonder why the Lord allows the wicked to profit and plunder while we suffer. Much of the wisdom literature in the Old Testament addresses these concerns again and again, and there are not always specific answers given. But the Lord has his reasons, and his reasons will prevail. The question is this: has God not proven to us in the past that he is good, faithful and just? What makes us think that he will be any different in the future? He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. And the same God who profited us in the past and brought good out of our evil will do it again. He will indeed comfort and console us with his tender mercies in Christ Jesus. For the man of sorrows has come and has borne our griefs in his own body on the cross. He is the lifter of our heads. He is the one in whom we trust.