"A Trilogy of Hope"
Isaiah 40:2 "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for."
Most of us are not like cavalrymen on spirited horses who anxiously wait for the cry "Charge!" Most of us are ready for a word of comfort and hope. So it is good that the Scriptures picture God not like a field marshal pushing us into battle but more like a field physician bending over our wounded spirits and broken dreams to bring us calm and healing.
Isaiah 40:2 gives us three word pictures of comfort and hope. In the first one God declares: "Proclaim to her (God's people, the church) that her hard service has been completed." Each of us daily battles his or her sinful nature. The good intentions we formulate in the morning have usually faded away before noon. Our evil impulses tend to push the new man in us -- the new nature in Christ -- into retreat.
Then God steps forward and tells us that the decisive battle was fought at Golgotha. There Jesus, through His death and resurrection, won not only the battle but also the war. Our sins are forgiven. Death has been defeated. "Our hard service ('warfare' in some translations) has been completed." We live in peace. This is good news for us, and it is also the message our Lord wants us to share with the world.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, You have taken away the sin of the world. Grant us now Your precious peace. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996, Concordia Publishing House (out of print). For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800-325-3040.)
Today's Bible Readings: 1 Kings 3-4 Proverbs 1 John 19:1-22
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