What Does it Mean That God Will Comfort as a Mother Comforts?
David Guzik writes that this is a prophecy about “a day when the victory will come easily to Jerusalem, when she will be as the promise of Romans 8:37, more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” This will be Jerusalem’s comfort. “No one can comfort like a mother, and God will bring that kind of comfort to His people.” Guzik quotes Spurgeon: “a father can comfort” but “he is not much at home at the work. When God speaks about his pity, he compares himself to their father,” but “when he speaks about comfort, he selects the mother.”
According to Peter Pett, “the new born people of God” or Christians as they would come to be known “will find the source of full blessing in God’s provision in the heavenly places. All who come to them to drink will find solace. And through them God will supply His comfort, indeed He will comfort them Himself.”
The comfort Isaiah wrote about, though compared to that which a mother provides, is still God’s comfort. In the eighth century, His people look forward to an intimate sort of comfort which will come through Christ, the promised Messiah.
Where else is the mothering imagery seen in the Word of God?
The Israelites grumbled to Moses in the desert and he asked God “did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant?” (Numbers 11:12)
Moses was not a mother, but The Lord spoke of Himself as a nurturer.
He told Ezekiel He would replace the “shepherds of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:2) who “eat the fat [...] but do not feed the sheep.” (Ezekiel 34:3). The Lord would tend His people “in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There [...] they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down.” (Ezekiel 34:14-15)
This verse echoes that gentle, nursing-mother image found in Isaiah’s description of Mother Jerusalem.
Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that “just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
The Apostles were instruments of God’s nurturing provision towards the new Christians, providing the solace Guzik wrote about.
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