a merciful god who comforts us
There’s something wonderful about the mercy of God, which is today’s focus. The Old Testament word most used to express this is ‘hesed’, sometimes translated as ‘loving kindness’. It reveals a God who, despite where we may be at or what we have done, remains faithful to His covenant people.
This theme of the mercy of God undergirds the whole of the first part of the chapter, starting with the beautiful words Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. – Isaiah 40:1. This comfort is linked to the compassion of God and has the broader meaning of encouragement or to impart courage.
God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water or deprive the sun of its light or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.
– Charles Spurgeon
preach - part two
by Dave Smith
God loves to speak His COMFORTING PROMISES over us. And so, taking this first section of Isaiah 40, make these declarations over your life:
God still LOVES me. ‘Comfort, comfort my people.’ – Isaiah 40:1
God has completely FORGIVEN me. ‘…[our] sin has been paid for…’ – Isaiah 40:2
God will REVEAL Himself to me. ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord…a highway for our God…’, with the resulting promise that ‘…the glory of the Lord will be revealed…’ – Isaiah 40:3,5
God will TENDERLY CARE for me. ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…’ – Isaiah 40:11
Knowing that He is merciful and will tenderly care for us is like a breath of comfort and encouragement. In case we’re tempted to doubt this, Isaiah uses a beautiful contrasting picture – people who oppose God are like grass and flowers, ‘The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. – Isaiah 40:8. In other words, when there is uncertainty and change, the only thing that is certain and enduring is the Word of God – His promises WILL prevail.
Pray for yourself and those in your sphere of influence who need God’s mercy and comfort at this time:
- Pray for those suffering from grief and loss; that they would know God’s deep, abiding comfort. Pray that they would know they are not alone, for He is with them. Pray that their hearts would be healed as they lean on Him for comfort and guidance, and that He would give them strength and sustenance in difficult and dark times.
- Pray for those battling with sin; that any tactics of the enemy bringing guilt, shame or condemnation, would be broken in Jesus’ Name. Pray that they will know forgiveness and freedom so that they can walk worthy of God’s call on their life.
- Pray for those fighting against discouragement; that the power and presence of the Holy Spirit will come upon them and give them a supernatural courage and strength to face the disappointments and challenges of life. Pray that they would feel a tangible sense of the Lord’s tender loving care in this season.
- Pray that as a church family, we would trust in the Lord in all things and not lean on our own understanding but take time to draw deeply from the Holy Spirit, so that we can rise up on wings as eagles in every season of life. Let’s prophesy fresh energy, life, joy, and health over each other.
pray for afghanistan
The compounding effects of drought, displacement, decades of conflict, and Covid 19, are creating a massive humanitarian crisis for the people of Afghanistan, resulting in millions of men, women and children in need of life-saving aid. The healthcare system is in near collapse, having a particularly dramatic impact on women and girls, further compounding a multitude of daily challenges including protection risks and human rights violation. Pray that God would bring peace to this country so that children and families might live without fear of violence.
Because of your generous giving, last year, we gave £10,000 out of our Mission Fund to help Tearfund support the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.