Read Isaiah 40:1-11.
“Comfort, comfort my people! says your God.” Today’s passage begins with the prophet Isaiah promising God’s comfort to the people of Israel. This was a message of hope given to a people in need of hope, as the Israelites had been exiled from Israel and were living under Babylonian rule at that time. Even though we have not been exiled to live in a distant land under foreign rulers, we are living in our own exile of sorts, exiled from the comforts of pre-pandemic normalcy.
The good news continues throughout this passage. Isaiah tells us of a voice crying out from the wilderness, telling God’s people to clear a path for the Lord and that they will see God’s glory. Six hundred years later, John the Baptist preached the same message (John 1:23).
This passage closes with an analogy that Jesus himself later used. Isaiah tells the people of Israel that “like a shepherd, God will tend the flock”, just as Jesus said “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). Like a shepherd provides for their sheep, God promised to provide for the Israelites while they were exiled in Babylon, and God will provide for us as we live through our exile in this world full of Covid-19 based restrictions.
God, help us to remember that even in these troubled times you are there to comfort us. Help us to remember to look for you when we feel lost. Help us to remember that you are looking after us like a shepherd looks after their sheep. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.