“God the Consoler of His people”
It is usual for us to comfort those who are afflicted by saying, “Human life is not without its trials,” that it is not only sweet but also bitter (cf. Job 2:10). Everybody without exception surely needs a faithful “Consoler,” namely God. What is expected from Him? It is to give us the strength to cope with hardship and to come back from failure, as well as effective ways to heal our wounds and a guarantee to compensate our damages. The heart of human race needs deep consolation and healing since the time their ancestors sinned by disobeying God’s command in Eden and got separated from Him. In this respect, it is written: « To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children…” ; “And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, „You shall not eat of it,‟ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life » Gen 3:16-17. This suffering involves: the fear of death and tomorrow, the accusation of the devil, the condemnation of the conscience. These are the heavy burden borne by a sinner who has not repented in order to be forgiven, and who is not yet reconciled with God. However, « Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity » Ps 32:1-2a.That is the consolation for the sinner. To those who believe, indeed, God gives a great promise for consolation and encouragement. In this regard, Jesus said, « I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you » Jn 14:18, « Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid » Jn 14:27b, « But take courage; I have conquered the world! » Jn 16:33b. These words are most trustworthy, so that Paul said, « For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure » 2 Cor 4:17. This is all about the victory over suffering. Jesus says: « Peace be with you » Jn 20:19.
Monday, 23th: God provides comfort for His people.
« I am he who comforts you » Isa 51:12a.
Reading 1: Jn 14:1-4. Reading 2: Isa 51:9-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 51:11-12a.
Introduction: God gives a sure comfort to those oppressed and deeply wounded―the word of God that is “alive and active” (Heb 4:12) and which has the power to do what it pleases (Is 55:11). As He is the One who searches the heart and examines the mind (Jer 17:10), He says: »O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires » Isa 54:11.
Tuesday, 24th: God commands Comfort for His people.
« Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God » Isa 40:1.
Reading 1: 2 Cor 1:3-7. Reading 2: Isa 40:1-5. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 40:1-2.
Introduction: God does not willingly afflict His people Israel, even if He punishes them for their rebellion. As He loves to forgive sins (Is 55:7) and desires mercy (Hos 6:6). Therefore, He sends His servants to exhort His people and to invite them to turn to God and to be reconciled with Him, saying, « we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God » 2 Cor 5:20b. That is the greatest consolation of all.
Wednesday, 25th: Christ, comfort for the sinners.
« Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? » Rom 7:24.
Reading 1: Jn 2:1-2. Reading 2: Rom7: 18-25. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 5:24-25a.
Introduction: It is absolutely a shame and an agony to feel the misfortune and the misery of being sinner, like the lepers who used to be rejected by the society outside the town (Lev 13:46). But Jesus said: « For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10, « For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners » Mt 9:13b.
Thursday, 26th: God comforts those who believe in Him.
« Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well » Mt 9:22a.
Reading 1: 2 Tess 2:13-17. Reading 2: Mt 9:18-26. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 9:22.
Introduction: It is by faith that the comforting message of God ’salvation is received: « And without faith it is impossible to please God » Heb 11:6a. The Apostle Paul emphasizes this when He says: « Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word » 2 Tess 2:16-17.
Friday, 27th: Those who receive God’s consolation praise Him.
« My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have rescued » Ps 71:23.
Reading 1: Rev 14:2-5. Reading 2: Ps 71:17-24. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 71:23.
Introduction: The psalmist praised God for answering him when he cried out to Him because of the oppression of the wicked: « When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul » Ps 94:19. Simeon’ song of praised was similar when he took the baby Jesus in his arms, « Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel » Lk 2:29-32.
Saturday, 28th: Trust in God’s consolation.
« Do not fear, for I have redeemed you » Isa 43:1b.
Reading 1: Gal 3:7-14. Reading 2: Isa 43:1-5a. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 43:1.
Introduction: God does not forsake His people, even if it is afraid to come back to Him. It is written: « God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us » Rom 5:8. He wants His people to come back to Him; for He is willing to welcome it and to forgive its sins and to rejoice, saying: « Let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate » Lk 15:23b-24.
This pericope is available in Malagasy, French, English and German; it can be found on the website www.hifi-madanet.org and on Facebook “Hifi – english.” Listen to hifiradio.org 24/7: teachings, testimonies, songs, … © Madanet