Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1-2 NIV).
During a confirmation speech, a young person in our congregation on the Navajo Nation bravely revealed in front of all who were gathered there that day, that she felt she was a mistake because her parents did not care for her and were not involved in her life. She continued to share, breaking off with tears, that these feelings led her to attempt to end her life prematurely through an overdose.
Thank the LORD she was unsuccessful!
Later in her speech, she mentioned that through her studies of Scripture and the Small Catechism, she now realized that God is for her (Rom. 8:31), and because of this not only does she have comfort but a determination to face tomorrow with joy. God gave her abundant comfort.
The words of our text from Isaiah are either read or played in Handel’s Messiah at Advent, depending on the yearly church schedule. They are reminders of what we all have experienced from the LORD’s hand; pardon for our sin, and comfort not just twice, but four times. The latter half of the verse is not double punishment for sins, but double comfort added to the twice-repeated comfort at the beginning of the reading.
This is our privilege to share with people on the Navajo reservation, this is our rock-solid promise built on the very blood of Christ. Our sins have been paid for, we have received a quadruple comfort. May God comfort all who are grieved by sin, guilt, and shame with the assurance that their sin has been paid for.
Dear LORD, I thank you that you have comforted me through Jesus, and have forgiven me, help me to live in joyful confidence of this truth. Amen.