“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”
It does not take a degree in any form of education to conclude that if someone is to be comforted there must first be a need for comfort. The king in his palace is calm and at ease living sumptuously. Should one come to him to give to give him comfort they would soon be dispatched from his presence and maybe from their life for the king is in need of nothing. This comfort must also be effectual. If one was cold and hungry and we were to say to them be warm and full without providing the necessary items to facilitate the desired condition our words would be futile and a vexation to the hearer. So when God instructs Isaiah to “Comfort ye my people” we may conclude that a real need for comfort exists and that the comfort that God is intending is effectual.
This comfort is not an open end contract for any and all who might desire it for it is directed specifically to His people. He does not provide a universal comfort that is contingent upon one utilizing it nor does He makes this comfort possible if certain conditions are met and kept. He addresses this comfort to His people who are in a specific form of distress that could only be satiated by the comfort He is sending. So we conclude that God, who worketh all things after the counsel of His good will, has ordained a distress or affliction upon His people which only He can attend to with the comfort that only He can provide and all of this for good.
He begins, in His instructions to the prophet, by identifying the comfort; “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her”. This address is so specific that it can only be applicable to those who ‘come forth out of peace’ (Jerusalem). Any one who does not have this peace is not from this place. They have no right to the message and no portion in the promise for they do not come from the correct origin. She, this Jerusalem, is to be told “that her warfare is accomplished and her iniquity is pardoned because she has received from the hand of Jehovah double for all her sins”. She is not told to don the armor and brandish the sword in order to vanquish the foe. She is not called to arms to defend the city or to champion the cause. She is told that she has received a finished work that removed her guilt from the hand of the Almighty creator of the universe. She has done nothing to deserve such a blessing because she is not mighty, nor rich, nor many. Jehovah is not improved by her through this act nor does He profit in any way. He has performed this act upon Her and for Her benefit because of WHO she is. She is His bride, His body, His people and the object of His eternal love. She is in Him and of Him, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh and He cannot deny Her nor forsake Her. Therefore, the promise to Her is that He shall come with a strong hand and His arm shall rule for Him. This is comfort to Her.
He has also prepared a voice in the wilderness, that place He has prepared for Her, that proclaims to Her to prepare the way of Jehovah, which is the exalted road of Holiness where on passes no unclean thing and to make straight (approve, esteem highly) the ‘lifted up’ way of Her God in the desert. This voice is not instructing Her to make a way or to seek out and find the way because Her God is the Way the Truth and the Life. He dwells in Her and She in Him. She walks in the way that He leads and esteems it the path of righteousness because of the Spirit that indwells Her. She is comforted by the fact that every one of Her members in particular shall be raised up and every thing that exalts itself against the throne of the Most High shall be brought low. She is not sent forth to find her members that are low as valleys for each and everyone who is not born of the flesh is born low by reason of heritage. Her children are strangers and sojourners in a foreign land. They have no place of rest and the things of this world cannot satisfy them. They are fools because they live by faith and outcast because the world hates them. Therefore, God has prepared the wilderness for them and when He was lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent IN THE WILDERNESS, so He drew all men (of His household) unto Himself.
He has also sent forth the Lamb into the wilderness for them. These who have become partakers of flesh and blood are in bondage to the death and corruption of the flesh. He sent forth the Lamb of God to take away their sins and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Here in the wilderness dwell His outcast and “in mercy shall the throne be established. He (the Lamb) shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David (the Beloved), judging, seeking judgment and hastening judgment” (Is. 16:5). He has not only removed the guilt but He has satisfied the requirements of the law, therefore She has received double for Her sins.
This wilderness is a fruitful field (yes the field again) where judgment dwells (Is. 32:15) where the inhabitants of the Rock dwell (42:11), which God has made like the Garden of Eden. This is a comfort to Zion for in Eden God dwelt with man. He provided for all his needs, protected Him, gave him His law and communed with him. But did this wilderness digress back to the original garden? No! This is the New and Heavenly Jerusalem that fled to the wilderness prepared for Her when She brought forth the man child who should rule all nations (Rev. 12:14). This is that Jerusalem which came down from heaven adorned as a bride for Her Husband in fine linen pure and white, which is the righteousness of the saints and this the that Holy City where “the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be his people and He shall be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
He has also planted trees in this wilderness (Is. 41:19) for the comfort of His people. These are not trees of the woods as we understand them but they are a representation of His people. They have ‘firmness of root’ (cedar) because they are of the same root as the Branch and the True Vine. They are protected by a black bark, like the tents of Kedar (Song 1:5), that has thick thorns (Shittah) to keep intruders and predators away. They grow rapidly (Myrtle) and are filled with the fatness to satiate and the ‘oil’ of anointing for His people. Each bears fruit (Fir) for the healing of the people (Rev. 22:2) shall endure to the end (Pine / oak) and is straight and erect (box) being planted by the rivers of waters. These are nothing less than the ‘man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. His delight (after the inner man) is in the law of Jehovah and in His law doeth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth fruit in his season whose leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:1-3).
The trees planted in the wilderness are the outcast of the world who belong unto Jehovah. They have been brought low (humiliated) by the hand of God that no flesh should glory in His sight and they are comforted by the true glad tidings of Zion and Jerusalem that the warfare is accomplished, the iniquity pardoned and that ALL FLESH IS GRASS. The tabernacle of Edom and the residue of Esau shall not be there nor shall it profit the inhabitants of the wilderness for it is contrary to the Spirit and cannot know the things of Jehovah. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. God in His mercy comforts His people (paraklesis - calls together) in the ‘pressing down upon’ (affliction) and the ‘pressing all around’ (tribulation) because it is given unto them not only to believe but to suffer for His name sake (Ph.1:29). He calls His people together by His Spirit, for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken it (Is. 40:5) in the affliction of the flesh that they may be able to call together those of the household who are in any kind of trouble with the same calling that they were called together (II Cor. 1:4) “that as the sufferings of Christ abound in us. So our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (5).
Wherefore Brethren, comfort ye one another with these words, for the light pressing down of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The fellowship of His suffering displays the unity of He and His people and no comfort is afforded to those who have not this fellowship for they are none of His.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
September 25, 2011