At the beginning of Isaiah chapter 40, we find a nation struggling to find answers. The prophet Isaiah had been warning the nation that their sin and their determination to turn their back on the Lord would result in God’s judgment upon them, specifically that they would be invaded by the Assyrian Empire soon and that later they would be attacked, defeated, and deported by the Babylonian Empire.
The people would experience pain, separation, and loss. Their lives would be disrupted. How could they ever know comfort and peace again?
In the midst of this scenario, God speaks words of comfort to His people.
1 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. 2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1-2)
God’s comfort is real. You can know and feel His comfort in your life.
He gives a double portion of comfort. Notice that He repeats the word “comfort” twice in verse one. He could have just said the statement once: “Comfort my people.” But, for emphasis sake, He repeats the word: “Comfort, comfort my people.” Double comfort. God knows how much comfort you need. He knows the situations of life that you have been through, what you are going through now, and what you will go through soon. He provides an abundant portion of comfort. God’s comfort is real.
He is your God. Notice in verse one that it is the Lord your God who gives comfort. False gods give no comfort. It is the Lord your God, through the person of the Holy Spirit, that you have comfort. He is your Comforter, filling you with comfort and peace. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you know the comfort that He brings. God’s comfort is real.
Trials are temporary. In verse two, we read the words spoken to Israel that their “time of forced labor is over.” Isaiah looked far into the future to speak to the nation, past the Assyrian conquest and past the Babylonian captivity. He saw a time in the future — more than 100 years in the future — when the nation would return to their homes, rebuild Jerusalem, and once again worship the Lord in the temple. Their trials would be temporary. And yours are too. They may last for a few days, a few years, or even all of your life, but you can know they will not last eternally. The trials of this life are only temporary. That brings comfort. God’s comfort is real.
Your sin-debt is paid for. Verse two tells us that our iniquities have been pardoned. This promise to the nation of Israel was a promise that the Lord Himself would pay the price for their sin. He would forgive them. And though the person of Jesus, He has provided forgiveness for our sin. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead have provided the payment for your sin and the promise of eternal life for all who put their trust in Him. God’s comfort is real.
You have received a double-portion of His grace. In Isaiah 40:2, we read the phrase that indicates that Israel has “received double from the Lord’s hand for all her sins.” This word “double” could allude to double-judgment, but that is certainly not a comfort. It can also mean “double portion of blessing,” indicating the kind of grace and comfort that God is promising to them. You see, in the time of Isaiah, a “portion of an inheritance” meant at most one-half of the father’s estate. So, a double portion of an inheritance means the whole estate (1/2 x 2 = 1). (You may remember that Elisha asks for a double-portion of Elijah’s spirit after Elijah was gone, meaning, “I want God to use me just like He used you, not half-way.”) Therefore, in Isaiah 40:2, we see God promising to the people (and to us!) to give us exactly the amount of comfort and grace that we need. God’s comfort is real.
Lean on the Lord. His comfort is real.