Our English word “comfort” is derived from two Latin roots, con, “to be with,” and fortis, “strong.” Comfort means “to strengthen by companionship.” Comfort in times of distress is one of the principal benefits of walking with God. Hence, Isaiah implores his countrymen who have suffered God’s chastening to seek His forgiveness and comfort through genuine repentance and humility. Isaiah yearns for the Jews to experience the meaning of his name, God’s salvation. It is not surprising then that “comfort” (Hebrew nacham) appears more times in Isaiah than in any other book in the Bible. Godly comfort is the sole lasting solution for life’s sorrows. Additionally, no other book in the Bible has more occurrences of the word “sorrow.” Plainly, sorrow and comfort are intertwined qualities of the prophet’s messages to God’s covenant people (Isa. 51:11-12). Isaiah reveals how God can righteously forgive repentant sinners and share with them His glory through the finished work of His faithful Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ – Israel’s Messiah. We, in the Church Age, do well to consider all that Isaiah reveals about God’s means of forgiveness, extending salvation, comfort, blessing, and the fullness of joy to the repentant.
Sorrow and Comfort is the eleventh book in the Old Testament Devotional Commentary Series.