“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 40:1-2)
Notice God is speaking. He is speaking through the prophet Isaiah. And he is calling on someone else to speak to the people of God.
God had revealed (through Isaiah) that at some point in the future, God’s people would go through a terrible time of trial. The first 39 chapters of the book of Isaiah lay this out – it makes grim reading.
Enemies would come to the gates, and the city of Jerusalem would be plundered. The temple would be destroyed and the survivors would be taken as prisoners of war to Babylon. This actually took place a long time after Isaiah. But when it did, godly people needed to know what to do.
What we have here is God giving direction, through Isaiah, to those who (in the future) would speak the Word of the Lord to the people of God. Godly people in future generations would look in the Scriptures to find what they should say and do in their time.
Imagine the joy as the exiles studied a scroll of Isaiah the prophet: They would plow through 39 chapters that anticipated everything they were experiencing. Then they would come to chapter 40 and find that the Scripture is speaking to them directly with a word of hope.
“Comfort my people! Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…” These are directions given first to those who would speak the Word of God in the time of the exile. But they are also directions for us. They lay out how we are to speak for God to broken people.
Who are the broken people of God that you are aware of? (Try to list some names)