“but those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. “ [Isaiah 40 : 31]
The whole of chapter 40 of Isaiah is one of my favourites of the Old Testament. The prophet is speaking to the nation in a time of Exile and at a very dark time in their history. If you read the whole book of Isaiah, you would find him haranguing the nation, the King, the advisers, the surrounding nations. As a prophet he has had a Calling from God to speak the truth [ch 6] to all people. Unfortunately speaking the truth is not a popular thing to do in any society. No-one wants to hear the stark truth about themselves and the King at the time ignored the words from Isaiah preferring his sycophants telling him that “everything will be all right.”
Well, it was not, the people had turned to military force as a way forward. They formed alliances with nations that they never would have in the past and they were defeated. Taken into capture, Jerusalem was in ruins, the Temple desecrated. The people mourned and Isaiah more or less said “I told you so” in different ways.
Suddenly out of the darkness of his writings and warnings comes a shaft of light, a beacon of Hope in the darkness of despair. The chapter starts with the most lovely of words from God to Isaiah, “Comfort, comfort you my people”. [v1] the darkness is broken and the light of Hope burns signifying a change for the better in so many ways. The people had lived a life before the Exile where they had moved away from God in subtle or obvious ways and had taken everything they had for granted, many had ignored God’s word.
Now they were full of joy to hear that God still loved them, still cared and much of the chapter deals with God’s mighty majesty and creative power. They were now aware of what God would do for them and the final verse where they are promised Hope in being uplifted and given strength to do all that was necessary in building a new future.
For us here in the 21st century we have to take care in “borrowing “Isaiah’s words to give us Hope but there are parallels which we can use. We have been going through a dark time often not sure when it would end, and when we went into the last “lock-down” there was a sense of despair. When we reached the 100,000 deaths in the UK overall, it was a sobering dark time. However the news holds a beacon of Hope and Light with the effectiveness of the Vaccine.
We do need that comfort and strength from God who is as constant as He always has been, and that He is as caring as He always has been and loves us with an unconditional Love. He gathers us up and in His loving care He strengthens us so that we can soar as on eagles wings. It helps us to remember that we will be through this and to be grateful for God’s Love and for all of the ways He sends comfort to us. Reading the Bible gives us a sure foundation in life which helps to carry us through this time and through all of our lives. All Praise be to God!!
LET US PRAY,
LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD,
Who is our Hope, our Strength, our Courage, We thank and Praise You for the comfort of the Scriptures and the beauty of Your Word to us. We thank You for the light which shines in the darkness.
Today we think of the life and legacy of Captain Tom and his quiet and dignified confidence in the future. We think of all those who have been a light in this time of Pandemic, local heroes who have helped neighbours and friends, people who have looked out for each other and those who have gone the extra mile.
We think of those who work so hard for the safety and security of our society, all the staff of the NHS, the Shop workers, Delivery Folk, Police, Fire and Ambulance Service, those who bring us the news and ask the difficult question in order to seek the truth.
We ask a blessing on all those who are ill, awaiting treatment, in hospital or at home and all those who worry and wait. We pray for the anxious, the lonely and those who are afraid. Gather them in Your arms O Lord that they might know Your Peace.
I ask in Jesus name,
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