“You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” (Psalm 71:21)
讀經: 以賽亞書 四十 1~17
SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 40:1-17
釋義: 本章開始以賽亞書的下半部 (四十至六六章)。 有人看以賽亞書為聖經的縮影, 分兩大部份: 前卅九章多神按律法觀點, 指出子民未有盡心遵行, 引致神公義的審判──被擄 (也包括隨後的一些復興應許); 這好比舊約卅九卷的主旨。後廿九章著重神的赦罪恩典, 並指出被擄後的光明遠景(就如新約廿七卷的主旨)。而本章第一節: 「你們的神說：你們要安慰，安慰我的百姓。」正好是本章和本書下半部份提綱挈領的開場白。
INSIGHT: This chapter marks the beginning of the last half of the Book of Isaiah (chapter 40 to 66). Some people consider the Book of Isaiah the epitome of the Bible consisting of two major parts: The first 39 chapters talk about the people of Israel being carried off (also including some promises of subsequent revivals) as a consequence of God’s righteous judgment because they did not obey God’s laws wholeheartedly; this is along the same line as the major theme of the Old Testament. The last 27 chapters focus on God’s grace in forgiving sin, proclaiming a bright prospect in the distant future following the carried off (same theme as the 27 chapters of the New Testament). The first verse of this chapter says, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” It is the most fitting opening for the last half of the book.
- 赦免罪孽(2) — 以色列人犯罪、頑梗悖逆, 導致受罰。宣告罪孽赦免, 意即不再受罰, 這是最大的安慰。
- Iniquity pardoned (2) — The people of Israel sinned and refused to return which led to their punishment. Yet God proclaims that her iniquity is pardoned, meaning never again will punishment be imposed – this is the greatest comfort.
- 暢通明顯(3-5) — 在沙漠和曠野, 填滿凹地山窪、削平高高低低的山崗, 固然可令道路暢通無阻, 更重要的是除去視障, 使人能夠一覽無遺, 清楚看見耶和華所施行的安慰行動。
- A clear view/Free from blockage (3-5) — Lifting up the valleys and leveling the mountains in the deserts and wilderness will surely make traveling smooth and easy. But more importantly, it removes the obstructions in the line of vision, allowing people to have a clear view of God’s acts of comfort.
- 肯定發生(6-8) — 聖經多次用花草比喻人生 (伯 十四 2; 詩 九十 5~6, 九二 7, 一○二 11; 一○三 15~16; 雅 一1 0~11; 彼前 一 24, 等)。 這些經文大多著重人生命的脆弱, 但這裡卻強調人的短暫, 即使有所承諾, 也沒有機會實行。唯有耶和華的話立定, 祂既宣布安慰, 必定應驗。
- Unfailing (6-8) — The Bible uses flowers and grass numerous times to symbolize life (Job 14:2, Psalm 90:5-6, 92:7, 102:11, 103:15-16, James 1:10-11, 1 Peter 1:24, etc.). These scriptures mainly focus on the fragility of human life. Yet the emphasis here is on its brevity. Only the word of the Lord will stand forever. As He declares comfort, it will certainly be fulfilled.
- 具備能力(9-10) — 耶和華是「大能者」, 祂能夠施行審判, 也可以「賞賜」人, 使人得安慰。
- With great power (9-10) — The Lord “comes with might”. He is sovereign in judgment. He is also able to “reward” us, give us comfort.
A shepherd is the Bible’s favorite character in the symbolization of God’s affection for us. Isaiah said, the Lord “will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom” to comfort His people.
英國維多利亞女皇有一次聽聞一個工人妻子因意外喪失初生嬰孩,心中很難過。因為女皇自己也曾有同樣經歷, 所以能夠體會喪子之痛。她要請那婦人入宮同渡一晚, 開解她。
On one occasion, Queen Victoria of Great Britain heard that a servant’s wife lost her newborn in an accident, and she felt very sad. The queen herself had gone through the same experience, so she was able to empathize with her the pain of losing a child. She wanted to invite her to spend a night in the palace to console her.
第二天早上, 那母親回家後, 接受訪問。記者追問到底前天晚上女皇做什麼、說什麼, 令她得到安慰。
The following morning, the mother was interviewed after she went home. The reporter asked what exactly the queen did and said the night before that gave her comfort.
「女皇沒有說什麼, 她只是伸手抱著我的膀臂, 相擁而泣。」
‘The queen didn’t say anything. She only wrapped me in her arms and we wept together.’
Like the father of the prodigal son, our loving heavenly Father is reaching out with His arms, waiting to embrace us.
每日讀經 by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung