COMFORT Andy Hollifield 1-4-17
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). (KJV)
What words? If you look in the entire fourth chapter, and especially from verse 13 to the end of the chapter, you find the words that should bring us comfort. The words that in Christ, even in death, we still have our blessed hope. The bible says in 1 Corinthians “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We often misquote that verse. It doesn’t say that death shall be defeated, it says destroyed. An enemy that is only defeated can live to fight another day. An enemy that is destroyed is no longer a problem. It is of great comfort to know that death has one shot at us in the flesh but Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Death couldn’t conquer him and it can’t conquer me because I am in him. Now tell me that don’t bring you comfort? Death has no victory over a child of God!
The word comfort is in the bible 66 times. There are also 66 books in the bible that we can read to give us comfort. Comfort is in the New Testament 23 times. Zechariah 10:2 is the last time the word is used in the Old Testament. It speaks there of idols and diviners that have seen lies and told false dreams and it says “they comfort in vain”. The verse continues on saying “therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” The shepherd is the ultimate in protection and provision for a flock of sheep. Everything a shepherd does is for the maximum benefit of his sheep. With that in mind, we look to the New Testament. Who do you think was the first one in the NT to talk about comfort? If you guessed Jesus you would be right. Guess what he is to us. In John 10:11 Jesus said “I am the GOOD shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Talk about the ultimate in protection and provision! If that don’t bring you comfort, you need to read it and let it sink in until it does. Remember, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” and the good shepherd said he “Giveth his life for the sheep”. In him, we never have to face death because he faced it for us and destroyed it. This earthly body may one day return to the dust from which it came, but Genesis 2:7 said “And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” That breath is eternal because it came from an eternal God. He made us a living “soul” not just a living body The body he formed with his hands but he breathed into us the breath of life. He put his mouth over our nostrils and breathed life into us. That is a picture of intimate love. Nothing else in creation did God put his hand to. He spoke everything else into existence. Mankind however, he got down on his knees in the dirt and formed us and sculpted us with his hands and then breathed into us. Everything else he simply said “Let there be” and there was. What an intimate picture of his love. Nothing else except man was made in the image of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He made us to favor our Father to resemble him. I didn’t evolve to look like him, he made me that way on purpose. He cannot deny me because he made me to look like him. As I got older and realized I had a choice of who I wanted to serve, he drew me with his spirit and I accepted him as my personal Savior. At that point, he became not THE good shepherd but MY good shepherd.
I haven’t strayed too far off of the subject of comfort. If you look in Matthew 9:22 Jesus’ garment has just been touched on the hem by a woman with a major blood disease that she had been plagued with for twelve years. It says that Jesus turned, and saw her, and the first word he said to her was “Daughter.” I have always read right over that but it is important to see the family connection. He claimed her as his own and then he told her to “Be of good comfort” Not just any comfort but “good comfort”. He then told her that her faith had made her whole. Why is that important? Who can give good comfort to a fearful daughter like a father can? In Mark 10:49 a blind man who sought Jesus’ help is told to “Be of good comfort” because Jesus called for him. On over in Acts 9:31 it speaks about the churches being edified or lifted up, and “Walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” If you remember Jesus had said before he ascended that he would send a comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, that would testify of him. Romans 15:4 says “…That we through patience and the comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” 1 Corinthians 14:3 says “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort”. That simply says that when we talk of the things to come concerning the Lord, it should be to lift up and encourage and comfort each other. In 2 Corinthians 1:3 we find that God is “the God of all comfort.”
That brings me back to the opening scripture; “Comfort one another with these words”. I am so thankful that there is comfort to be found when we go to the Lord in prayer with faith believing. Even when our faith gets weak, he gives comfort as a father to his daughter. As you go about your day, my prayer is that you are lifted up and encouraged and comforted with these words. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!