“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”
“Talk nicely to me!” Is a phrase that I hear routinely from my oldest daughter these days. She learned it from me of course but she doesn’t exactly use it in the same way. I say it to her when she is being sassy or rude or when she is screaming. She says it to me whenever I, regardless of my tone of voice, tell her not to do something or that she isn’t allowed to do something or that something she did was naughty. She thinks, as many these days do, that it’s not nice to tell someone they are wrong or that they can’t have something.
In these opening verse of the second half of Isaiah’s prophecy, God speaks “Nicely”, tenderly really, to us. But his nice talk does not consist of telling us whatever we want to hear. Rather, in telling us that our sins are forgiven! Even the hebrew words which begin this section emphasizes the tender speech God has for us. In hebrew “comfort, comfort” sounds somewhat like a mother cooing comforting noises at her baby. So God is doing here. He makes it well known here what the goal of His Word and therefore of His preachers is to be – to comfort, to tell the people of God that He has ended the war we began with our sin and rebellion. For He has sent His Son and He speaks tenderly to you “Your sins are forgiven.”