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Church Message
Find Comfort in God's Love and Forgiveness!
By Pastor Stuppy
CHURCH DIRECTORY

Church sponsors2 24apr14Church message imageThere are some words that are very pleasing to our ears. Words like "soft," "gentle," "kind," and "gracious" are just a few. These words are attractive because they usually convey ideas of things that please us. Another such word that falls into this category is "comfort". Comfort is something that is attractive to us all. Makers of beds, cars, and reclining chairs often appeal to our desire to be comfortable.

We like our homes to be comfortable. We have our favorite flannel shirt, sweatshirt or jacket that we refuse to part with because it feels so comfortable. We like to feel comfortable with our jobs. We seek it out when we look for a new church.

God, through the prophet Isaiah uses this approach in dealing with the people of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. In chapter forty, verse one, we read, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem."

When Isaiah spoke these words Israel wasn't ready to listen to Isaiah, God, or anyone else. For the most part, they had turned away from God and rejected his prophets. As a result, the Lord sent the Babylonians army to destroy the city of Jerusalem and carry them off to Babylonian where they remained for the next seventy years.

Not until this took place was Israel be ready to listen to God. Only then, would they repent and turn to God for forgiveness. That was when the nation of Israel needed comfort. That's when these words of Isaiah would be taken to heart.

What is so amazing is that God gave them these words of comfort long before they were ready to listen and appreciate them. Only when they had nowhere else to turn would they repent and turn back to God.

As you read Isaiah you find God assuring Israel that their captivity would not last. God told them, years before it would take place, that Cyrus (an unknown and unborn at this point in history) would make a proclamation allowing Israel to return to Jerusalem.

More importantly he assured them that he still loved them and their sins were forgiven. He assured them he would not forget the promise of a Savior which he had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To do this, he would change the course of history and set the stage for the birth and ministry of Jesus.

Any study of the Old Testament brings home a number of truths about our Lord. One is certainly that God punishes sin and punishes those who do not repent. Yet, we also see a loving and forgiving God who comes again and again with the message that he has taken away our sins through Jesus Christ. He assures us that he is always faithful to his promises and ready to assure us of forgiveness. What a comfort that is to us sinners. God keeps his Word and he loves us. What can be more comforting than that?

 





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