Comforter and advocate: Isaiah 51 (18 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Isaiah 51

This prophecy is addressed to a people who have been struck down and laid waste by their oppressors and by devastating circumstances that are beyond their control. One of the key themes in the chapter is ‘comfort’, especially in verses 12–16. In fact, in verse 12 the word is attached to the name of God that he revealed to Moses – ‘I am he who comforts you’ – and this signals that ‘comforter’ is part of his core identity. It is a way of defining who he is at his heart.

We might remember that in the New Testament, one word used to describe the Holy Spirit is ‘comforter’ (John 14.26, KJV and others). When we know God and have his Spirit within us, we always have access to his comfort, whatever the circumstances we are in. Our troubles are temporary but his ‘deliverance will be for ever’ (Isaiah 51.8).

In verse 22 we read another aspect of the way God responds to those who are oppressed: he is ‘your God who pleads the cause of his people’. Again, in John 14.26, some translations call the Holy Spirit an ‘advocate’, a person who speaks in defence of someone else (NRSV and others).

So the God who promised to comfort and speak up for his suffering people in Isaiah’s day is the same God who promised to be close to the disciples of Jesus, and the same God who walks closely with us today. We too can trust in his deliverance.

Pray

Pray

Thank you, Lord, that you are our comforter and defender at all times. Help us to let go of our fear and place our lives in your mighty hand.

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