"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
As I reflected today on the Lord's goodness and mercy I was taken to this chapter. The great prophet speaks of ending the discipline that Jerusalem and Israel have been under. In the second verse the comment is made that she has received double for all her sins and that was at the Lords hand or doing. A painful way to start out a chapter designed to be comforting.
The Lord does indeed discipline those He loves. He certainly allows us to endure the penalty of sin on earth. Many times we are given grace and do not carry the full weight of the punishment but each of us has experienced the law of sowing and reaping. When we sow evil, discord, division, lying, hatred, lust, and anger, we reap those in like kind and multiplied.
Today, America is a culture that has lost its moral footing. We erased the Bible as a textbook and a book of value to our children four decades ago and now those children lead us further into a moral abyss.
George Washington's farewell address is a long and detailed warning to the America of the future of how it should guard what it has been granted. At one point in the address, which was required reading in schools, he states the following:
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, “where is the security for property, for
reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?” And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect
that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Religion and morality, which in the minds of the leaders of the 1700's were based on Biblical principles, were indispensable supports of America. Without those, Washington warns, the nation will falter. I would suggest that we are seeing the proof of his warnings today.
Our scriptures' teach us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. They teach us to love one another as we want to be loved. They tell us that God is holy and we too should be holy. They guide us to understand that there are activities and behaviors that bring about the best in people and the worst.
On this Shabbat take a few moments and meditate on the word of God. Read the Bible and study it. Let its words be the comfort they were designed to be. Finally, Isaiah 40 goes on to explain the prophetic way in which God is going to bring comfort to His people.
"A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
“Behold your God!”...
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;"
The Lord tells us He will send himself to His people and all the nations to bring comfort. He did this when He sent Yeshua (Jesus). Receive the true Shabbat rest that has been reserved for you. Receive Yeshua the Messiah and be born again. He is the one we can take rest in!