Comfort and Assurance

Comfort and Assurance

 

“I have said: my strength is lost and my hope from the Lord… “The Lord is my portion”, says my soul, therefore I will hope to Him.” (Lamentations 3:18:24)

 

There are times when all seems lost. Sometimes we wonder; what assurance do we have that we are on a path that ultimately leads to goodness and to light? How can we, the people of Israel, be comforted while we are still in exile from our land and our Temple lies in ruins?

 

The prophet took comfort in the fact that God is his portion, that was his hope and assurance. The comfort and the assurance of the Jewish people is the fact that their portion is God.

 

What does this mean? How is God our “portion” and our “lot”?

 

We tend to think of our faith and belief in God as something that is coming from us towards God. As if, so to speak, we are “doing God a favor” by believing in Him. But the facts are quite the opposite. God went out of His way to bestow upon us the great gift of
faith in Him. He performed all the great miracles of the exodus, He spoke to us
from heaven so that the truth of His reality be seared into the core of our
beings (Deuteronomy 4:35). He sanctified us with His commandments, so that we may remain a unique nation to Him (Leviticus 20:26, Deuteronomy 26:18). It is God who put His faith into our hearts through the miracles of the Exodus and the revelation at Sinai. It is God who preserves this faith in our midst by protecting us both physically and spiritually.

 

When Jeremiah sees the confusion that covers the nations, he exclaims: “This is not the portion of Jacob!” (Jeremiah 10:16). The fact that God grants us the clarity and the truth
to know that all of creation is subject to Him and to Him alone, is the greatest comfort and reassurance. All of the suffering that we endured in this exile are worthwhile if that is the price of being the witness to God’s truth. The faith that God poured into our hearts gave us the strength to look the holocaust in the eye and thank God that we are His people.

 

As King David put it: “Even if I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil because You are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

 

That, is our comfort and our assurance.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

 

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2 Responses to Comfort and Assurance

  1. Yedidiah says:

    As usual, I am typing this in on a phone and it is hard to spell check, edit, and organize my writing as I would like to. I sometimes copy and paste a sentence incompletely and sometimes I leave out a close parentheses. But, most words I chose carefully, to avoid being misunderstood, but that still I am misunderstood not matter how clear I make my point.
    ———
    eric,
    when you use such extreme, inflammatory words as “outraged”, it is more likely that those feelings are your own, so I apologize if my points have upset you to that degree. Or, it could be that you are a very careless reader, so it may help you if you remain calm and read as if you were not being personally attacked, which you are not, at least not by me. Most people who know me, would say that I am the person who would be one of those least likely to be upset by others and one of the people they know that would be least likely to upset others, even unintentionally. I try to write like I drive, defensively. I try to anticipate how others might act or react and I try to address their possible objections before they can respond to me.

    There is absolutely no reason for me to be outraged. I am not being attacked in front of an audience of 100’s and I am not verbally debating someone in front of 100’s in a situation were I have only seconds to respond. When writing, if I were somehow to be “outraged”, I can step away for a minute or 2 before I respond. Plus, I am not a Jew that I might feel insulted by the many hurtful words that many (or should I say most?) Christians might use in discussing their beliefs (although most sincerely do not intend to hurt another’s feelings). Most of my bible studies was as a Christian hearing what Christians taught or reading what Christian scholars wrote. I think someone posted a list of a number of Christians scholars a few days ago who would disagree with the interpretation of many other Christians who somehow need Isaiah 53. So “they” or “we” might agree with Jewish scholars or ordinary Jews like several who posted comments above.

    I once tried to learn all I could about Jesus and I used to try to “prove Jesus”, but “truth” is hard to find if you are biased and closed minded. To be a good student or a scholar, you need to have a “healthy skepticism”. But, I soon learned why my fellow Christians thought that there was much danger in that. I learned why one should avoid the “OT” or writings by Jews. The more you hear what Jews believe, the harder it is to maintain what Christians believe (no matter what set of beliefs that you call Christian). Many years back a well known pastor of a “mega-church” not too far from where I live, told a small group of Jews that if Jews had a good Jewish education, there would be little concern that they would convert to Christianity. I don’t quite agree with that, because from my observation, a Jew who is “not very religious” is not likely to become a “very religious” Christian (less so than secular-type non-Jews might become radical Christians.) I looked around at a messianic “Jewish” congregation and seen the several different types of “believers” (many of whom were non-Jews who were strong followers of “Yeshua” and almost “despised” calling Jesus by the name, Jesus).

    Eric, (I dislike addressing individuals by name, since often the person takes a rational argument as some sort of personal attack, perhaps so they can dismiss the argument without good cause?), you might not be a very careful reader. I anticipated what one of your objections might be. I tried to point out that it seems you try to read “somebody else” into some particular places where the prophet clearly intended to speak about God or where God is speaking. You seem to put an individual servant or a messiah in places, without any real good reason. The author, first and foremost, was speaking to his intended audience for a good and clear reason. He was speaking about his world and the situation he & his people were in. He was giving himself and his people hope in their time. Not people or situations, 500 or 2500 years later; not to unknown persons in unknown times in unknown situations. Any other interpretation, whether it yours or whether it a common Christian one or a Jewish one is secondary. Isaiah must be read as Isaiah or his neighbor would have read “Isaiah”. Not as Matthew or Luke or the Essenes or Rabbi whoever might read and interpret it. Isaiah did not write a gospel of Jesus. But the NT writers knew about Isaiah and they occasionally used Isaiah and other “OT” writings; not wholesale, but selectively and in some cases, unintentionally or not, incorrectly. NT writers may have Jesus saying unabashedly & unapologetically, that he did some things “to fulfill prophecy”. They say he did things consciously in order to tell “their story, their way”. No messiah needs a narrative story when historical facts tell a better, more believable story. No real messiah or prophet needs someone else’s story to prove and justify their story.

    In your last paragraph, in your last comment eric, you seem to insinuate that I am a “bible illiterate”. I know about Moses, Esther, and numerous other servants. You just haven’t a good case about interjecting your servant, where Isaiah put himself or “his servant” or his God. I was anticipating that you might be a careless reader, so I ended my comment that you replied to, by writing, “God can act through an angel or angels, or through a servant or servants, or alone (whether invisible in the background” or “on the front lines”).

    I believe God can act alone (whether invisible in the background” or “on the front lines”). Do you wish to deny that? God can act through an angel or angels, or through a servant or servants, or alone (whether invisible in the background” or “on the front lines”). But I doubt that God needs a man-god in imitation of the “neighboring pagan gods”.

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