“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” vs. 2
From a purely historical perspective we can’t help but be amazed at the dogged determination of the Jewish people to maintain their connection to the Lord. Even though they thought of themselves as the elect, as God’s chosen ones, they were certainly never pampered. At times, awash in prosperity, they forgot about Yahweh and chased after other gods. The consequences of their idolatry were always harsh: adversity, defeat by powerful enemies, and captivity. Naturally the people thought of their exile as a just penalty for their sins, but those tough times also proved to be their salvation. Alone in Babylon they reconnected with their ancient faith and when by grace they were returned to Jerusalem they rejoiced in their redemption and offered praise and thanks to the Lord. As their faith descendants we regularly find their story repeated among us. Often, tempted by cultural gods, the baals of our day, we too wander away and in so doing, regularly reap the consequences of our sinful behavior. But always there will be a day of redemption, a moment when we come to our senses, and our gracious God speaks tenderly to us. Advent abounds with such words of comfort and we are daily reassured that our penalty has been paid. As inheritors of the promise we are have been freed to enjoy the bountiful blessings of the Kingdom.
Thought for the Day: When have I needed words of comfort?