Reflection: There are few environments more inhospitable to human life than the desert. And, in a manner of speaking, that’s where Israel is at the moment: in the spiritual wasteland of exile. The nation was supposed to reflect God’s character to a broken world, but injustice, idolatry and corruption had meant that Israel had gone far off course. As such, Israel now languishes in Babylon under God’s judgement. But in Isaiah 40, God speaks a tender word of comfort to the nation. God reassures his people that he will provide a way back in to his graces. In fact, God will himself come to comfort and rescue his people, because not even the abandoned and desolate places of the world are beyond the mercy of God. A desert may seem a lonely and frightening place. But if someone has carved a path through it, there’s hope of safe haven ahead.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you do not abandon us even though we grieve you and fail you. Thank you that you come yourself to rescue us, and comfort us, and to lead us back to you. Amen.