Yesterday, we saw the picture of Jesus as the best Physician. Now we will look at God ministering to His people with comfort. Endless times in our walk with the Lord, we need to be comforted. It may be in a time of illness, as we saw yesterday, or loss of home, treasure, or even a job. God is there and ready to comfort.
We will be studying Isaiah 51. Today we will look at the Introduction and Exhortations to trust the Messiah (1-3), Wednesday, The power of God and the weakness of men (4-8), Thursday, Christ defends his people (9-16), and Friday, Their afflictions and deliverances (17-23) and the Conclusion.
This chapter is designed for the comfort and encouragement of those that fear God and keep his commandments, even when they walk in darkness and have no light. Whether it was intended primarily for the support of the captives in Babylon is not certain, probably it was; but comforts thus generally expressed ought not to be so confined. Whenever the church of God is in distress her friends and well-wishers may comfort themselves and one another with these words. (Matthew Henry Commentary)
EXHORTATIONS TO TRUST THE MESSIAH (1-3)
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. 3 For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
“How they are here directed to look back to their original, and the smallness of their beginning: “Look unto the rock whence you were hewn“ (the idolatrous family in Ur of the Chaldees, out of which Abraham was taken, the generation of slaves which the heads and fathers of their tribes were in Egypt); “look unto the hole of the pit out of which you were digged, as clay, when God formed you into a people.” (Matthew Henry Commentary)
God chose the nation of Israel. It began with one family, Abraham’s. It blossomed into a great nation. If the story ended there it would be great. BUT, the nation of Israel disobeys God over an extended period of time and they are now captives living Babylon. Remember this as you read this chapter because it will enhance the concept of comfort and mercy.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001