Saturday Sermon: Tidings of comfort and joy
By Bill Walden
"Comfort ye my people". Isaiah 40:1
Included in the Gospel today is the great responsibility of comforting God's people, and if we lose sight of this great expression of Almighty God, we have lost a very important responsibility.
Recently, I was asked by a very sincere young mother my thoughts on the spiritual values held today by so many people in our country. She was concerned that the various news media keep declaring that our people have departed from our traditional respect for God and emphasizing that we are no longer a Christian nation.
We may be comforted in knowing that God has not vacated His majestic throne of sovereignty or forsaken His people, neither should we raise the white flag of surrender.
This is a comforting fact when we begin to adopt our "Elijah Syndrome," and find ourselves in a cave of despondency, as he was: "And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, what doest thou here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:9)
Of all the activity that occurred regarding this great event in the life of Elijah, he heard "a still, small voice." We would do well to listen for the still small voice of encouragement. One way is to reflect in our mind about the people whom we know.
We will probably remember many of our friends who remind their children that "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1), instead of "heaven and earth are the result of millions of years of evolution," as they are taught in some of our institutions of learning; thankfully, not all.
Parents still have the primary responsibility to teach their children the precepts given by God: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6), and it is comforting that we all know parents who do this very thing.
"Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." (Isaiah 40:2)
I remember hearing in the 1950s of some Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Islands who came to some of our military personnel to surrender. All the years of war were over, and they were hiding, thinking the war was still going on. They had not received word that the conflict was over. Sadly, many of God's dear people have not heard the comforting news that their "warfare is accomplished."
Our great King Jesus went to the cross and fought a battle for us that we could never fight, and in His last words on the cross, He announced: "It is finished."
Bill Walden is the pastor of Stratton Primitive Baptist Church.