Monday, November 16, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 11/16/09

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Isaiah 40:1-5

In a world so prone to chaos and to pain, to suffering and sorrow, as trial and tribulation surround us, where is it possible for a person to draw their comfort? Where can one find their strength to carry on when it seems like nothing makes sense anymore and their world is crashing down all around them? How is it possible for them to find peace in a world where it all just seems so very fleeting and like nothing around them will ever make sense again? Will anything ever be the same again?

For Isaiah and the children of Israel, everything around them was changing. The world that they had known was fading before their eyes, as it gave way to invasion and political intrigue, exile and corruption. The land of their fathers was gone as the conquering Assyrians were marching forward. The generations of Moses and Joshua, David and Solomon were all a matter of history, distant and far removed in their minds. There were none left who remembered the days of the wandering the desert or the great victories that were delivered into their hands by the hand of the Lord their God, there were none alive who could remember the reigns of David and Solomon, and as the generations passed, one to another, the distant memory of those great victories and those glorious days were distorted by the minds of men. The fall of the Kingdom of Judah was coming.

With the collapse of the divided Kingdom would come captivity as the people were taken from the only home they had ever known. They would be taken from their lands to a distant place, to foreign lands ruled by foreign leaders. The covenant that God had made with His people had been broken as they placed their hope and their faith in idols of stone and bronze that had eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear their suffering or their sorrow, with lips that could not speak words of comfort unto them in their times of distress and despair.

Yet even in this time of darkness and abiding sorrow, the Lord would offer words of comfort for His people. As they saw the rise of Empires that marched against them, as they saw the rise of Kings with armies to conquer them the Lord would not forget His faithful amidst these darkest of days. He would give them a faithful peace that they could draw their hope from and place their reliance in. Even as darkness seemed to surround them, even as captivity seemed to be all around them, as they were carried off from their homes and from the lands of their fathers, they shall forever know that there is a loving God who is there to care for them even in these, their deepest days of trial.

A God of deliverance, a God of comfort…

Even as captivity and bondage burden them amidst these times, the Lord would exalt them beyond measure. He would make their path light; whispering unto them that yes, even these things too shall come to pass. In the words of the Prophet “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” for a path, a road of righteousness would be paved by His hand even as their voices cried out in the Spiritual wilderness. He would offer to them a measure of peace and comfort as His love and compassion came to bear in their lives.

You see, there is no bondage, there is no captivity, there is no slavery that is so great that the chains cannot be broken by the Lord. Even in the deepest of trials, and the most abiding of tribulations, He makes a promise unto His people. The words He gives to them in the times of darkness are the same He gives to them in the time of light. The hope He offers, it’s the same whether in times of triumph or times of defeat, in times of exaltation or in times of captivity. The blessed reassurance that He offers is that He shall be beside His children all of the days of their lives, He shall never fail them or forsake them, He shall never abandon them or leave them even when it seems as if all the world is changing around them. He shall give unto them the courage and the strength they so need in their lives to go forward all the days of their lives. (Joshua 1:5)

We live in a world where there is just so much pain and suffering, where there is just so much sorrow and darkness. Amidst our present age, even as we progress forward there are still those who take hostages and prisoners, those who still take captives and make slaves out of their fellow man. No matter how far it may seem as if humanity has advanced, or how far we seem to go, there are those who turn from the righteousness of the Lord to inflict themselves on others. They move in wicked and evil ways bringing the fall of others with their hands as their minds think all sorts of dark thoughts. It becomes apparent that the Devil, he has to be present in our age, for there is little other explanation for why such temptation and tribulation would come as people follow a grim and gloomy path that robs all dignity from humanity and holds the integrity of human life so cheap.

Yet even here, even amidst this present age, even in this darkness God is present as well. He is ever present and ever vigilant in the lives of His people telling unto them words of comfort as He offers His assurances to them. He is there to tell them that even as they are held in bondage and captivity, even as trials and tribulation seem to surround them, burdening them with that painful yoke that they are now forced to wear He is with them all of the days of their lives.

We may not understand it, we may not fully comprehend it, for the wisdom of God transcends the wisdom of this world and as wickedness is inflicted impartially against people, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, with no distinction as to who they are we can’t quite fully grasp the Spiritual warfare that is there working in this temporal plane. Yet what we can always and forever know is that the Spirit of the Lord is present in their lives, giving unto them the strength to overcome, the authority and the courage to stand against the wiles of the Devil and those who have been so deceived by his unrighteousness that they would so brutally inflict themselves against others. He is there just as He is there in our lives as Christ comes upon us in truth and love to free us from the captivity and the bondage of the Spiritual slavery to sin, death and the Devil that would make us all slaves to the grave.

Even then we shall know that the Lord our God shall move in the most significant of ways for the cause of His people in these days of danger and hardship for the cause of their freedom, showing that even as they are bound He shall be there beside them offering His comfort, and His love, His mercy and His compassion in their lives. Though held in fearful places in abiding darkness they have nothing to worry about then for the Lord, our God shall not let them fade amidst this world and He shall pave the road to their liberty by His hand and through His righteousness in all things through all things.

This is His ever faithful promise unto His people, one that shall never be withheld, regardless of what may come, regardless of the presence of evil in the world. He shall walk beside them giving them strength to overcome as He grants His loving peace in their lives.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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