Yesterday I preached on Isaiah 40: 1, 2. The heart of God for his people is comfort: tenderness and tears. Isaiah is to speak tenderly and to cry for Jerusalem. Comfort in the midst of his peoples suffering and grief is the thrust of this passage. Just as we can experience a foretaste of the kingdom, so too this passage is an Old Testament foretaste of what it means to be in Christ. This text sounds so different from many people s Christian and church experience. Many people have only experienced the church as a comfortless center for judgment and rejection. Many feel that sinful people shouldn t be comforted. What does this passage have to say about that? Tell her that her time of hard service is over. The Hebrew word means conscription or draft. We are no longer required to serve the Lord as if we have been forced into his service. Some translations say that the time of her warfare is ended. It is finished. God s people are liberated from required hard labor! We are free to go, and we are free to serve him. Secondly, her penalty is removed. The Hebrew word means that she is through her time of depravity. God s people have been bent over with the weight of her sin. It is over! We can now stand straight and boldly with dignity, no longer bent under guilt and shame. We owe nobody anything. By the grace of God we are who we are! Third, the punishment for our sin is doubly paid. Our punishment is over. I experience discipline from the Lord, but that is different than punishment. Punishment is vengeance for past sins. Discipline is to make me a better disciple. We are forgiven! My sins from yesterday, today and tomorrow have been paid for. I no longer fear punishment from the Lord. Oswald Chambers said, The bedrock of Christianity is repentance! We must recognize that we need comfort, we need liberation, we need dignity, we need forgiveness. This is our repentance. Our truest selves are found in this promise of hope: we are set free, we can stand unashamed, and we are forgiven. No disclaimers! That s the good news. Let it be!