Reading: Isaiah 40: 1-8
Verse Eight: “The grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of our God stands forever”.
The people Israel strayed from God and His ways, wandering off into idol worship and other sins. The Babylonians invaded, destroyed the temple, and carried off the best and brightest people into exile. It was a time of despair; a feeling of abandonment was prevalent. At times we too stray away from God and find ourselves in sin, lost in the wilderness. At other times, forces outside of ourselves seem to rise up and life crumbles around us. In both cases, we feel alone and in a place of despair. We too know what it can feel like to be out in the wilderness of life.
But because God is faithful, the time in the wilderness does not last forever. Although it is sometimes necessary, God does not abandon us and leave us in the wilderness forever. Because of His love and mercy, God seeks us out and calls us back. Our passage today speaks of this: “Comfort, O comfort my people”. God is saying that it is okay, that He is right there. The prophet Isaiah goes on to remind them that a time is coming when a voice will call out in the desert and the paths will be made straight and level for the Lord. The “glory of the Lord will be revealed”. There is promise and hope even in our times in the wilderness. Our God is faithful and true.
The voice of God encourages Isaiah to cry out on behalf of the people. The Lord always wants to hear from His children. Our passage goes on to remind us that the glory of man is like the grass of the fields or like the flowers – it flourishes or blooms today but then is gone. It withers and fails. But just as there is a temporal nature to our successes, so too is there a temporary nature to our failures. Through the highs and the lows, God remains our loving and faithful God. Isaiah reminds us of this, writing, “the word of our God stands forever”. His words are love, hope, mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, joy.
If we find ourselves in the wilderness today, may we cling to God’s words of hope, love, promise. If we find ourselves in a good place today, may we rejoice in God’s words of mercy, peace, grace, forgiveness, and love. God is our all in all. He is our ever present help in the trial and our constant light in the joy. Thanks be to God.