Devotions this week based on the Message: “Believe the COMFORT of Christmas!”
Isaiah 40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed,
I will admit I am not a military person, so forgive me if I make a wrong assessment. If I were, I would think these two words would bring relief to any military personnel. “At ease” tells a soldier they can relax. The tension of battle or keeping watch 24/7 is complete. Their time of warfare or potential warfare is complete.
Another two words any soldier loves to hear after serving in a combat zone for a period of time. Their battle is over and they are safely home.
Isaiah is given the words from God to tell the people of Israel, “your hard service has been completed.” “At ease.”
There is coming a time when the reality of sin and its consequences would no longer affect God’s people. The battle against evil will be finished and the time of warfare will be over.
There is comfort knowing the struggle is over.
Muscles relax. Stress goes down. Heartrates subside. Tension evaporates.
I’m waiting for that day when I see Jesus face to face and he says, “At ease. Your time of hard service, of warfare is over.”
The battle is real. It isn’t fought with weapons of physical war, but it is a spiritual battle that is being fought to win souls away from Jesus. The Apostle Paul but it this way:
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The battle is around us. We live in a culture that is seeking to remove God and a biblical worldview from our society and even call it hate speech if biblical values are expressed. The miracle of creation has given place to the random chaos of evolution. The order of creation and the fact that God created male and female has succumbed to the woke idea that gender is chosen, not given. The institutions of marriage and family that God created for the benefit of people and society are being dismantled into alternative lifestyles and living together without the commitment of marriage. We applaud the killing of babies to the freedom of a woman’s “right to choose” rather than upholding the value and sanctity of each human life…from the moment of conception. We pit one race against another instead of seeing humanity for what it is, one human race in which each soul is valuable to God and to each other. We excuse sin as a mental illness and dismiss it as judgmental should anyone hold another to a standard – God’s or societies.
Do I have to go on? It is wearisome isn’t it? It seems like our small witness in the world is so dim that the forces of darkness are having their way.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus told us that life would not be easy for a Christian:
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-13)
It gets wearisome, doesn’t it? It feels like it doesn’t matter. It feels easier to surrender and give in than continue to “fight the good fight of faith.”
Don’t give up. Your faith and witness matter. You/we are here for such a time as this. Christmas still matters. Jesus still matters and people still need Jesus.
I know, there are days we want to crawl up on God’s lap and hear him say, “It’s going to be ok. At ease. Your struggle is over.”
Christmas reminds us that day is coming. Don’t lose heart!
Apply: What struggles are you engaged in because of your faith? What happens to those struggles when you take a few minutes to focus on the focus of Christmas, Jesus your Savior?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for taking on our biggest struggle and in that struggle defeating sin, death and the power of the devil. We look forward to the comfort we will have when you speak to our hearts, “Well, done. At ease.” Amen.