The Sum of Comfort

There are times when only a person — someone who loves us whom we love — can be our comfort. Nothing nor anyone else helps.

Some examples of this based in Scripture are:

  1. When we have lost a loved one, God may send a special person to take his or her place: And Isaac … took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Gen 24:67)
  2. God may replace the love we miss from a special one or refocus the subject of ones heart's desire: Leah was an unloved wife, so God consoled her with children. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (Gen 29:31)
  3. God may enlarge our family circle or restore to us a distant member: Naomi was bitter after the loss of her sons and husband, “Call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” (Ruth 1:20b), but when Ruth (her bereaved daughter-in-law) married Naomi’s kinsman she gained a grandson. Her friends marveled, “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” (Ruth 4:15)

God designed us to cherish the comfort of a loved one. Nevertheless, as we go through life we will have times of aloneness even if married and in the midst of a company of people. Then, we need God's comfort, and we understand why he sent his Son to be our brother and savior.

Jesus Christ was, for a time, human as we are, even though the heir of all things by whom God made the world. (Heb 1:2b) For a brief span he was made a little lower than the angels and tested by suffering as we are. (Heb 2:9-10)

That is why he can comfort us. Though our high priest, he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having experienced them exactly as we do, but without sin. (Heb 4:15)

Some special people understood from the start who he was. One of those was Simeon, a devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). He cradled baby Jesus, saying, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:25-32)

Jesus is the consolation of Israel, the sum of all comfort, the whole greater than its parts. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isa 11:2)

When he knew it was his time to die, he promised to send One in his place, the Holy Spirit: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)

He knows our need for consolation and the love of a special Person.

Job's Revelation

The consolations of God - Second in a series

The phrase consolations of God is found in the Bible only in the book of Job: Are the consolations of God small with thee? (Job 15:11).

After losing his children, servants, livestock, camels, health and appearance, as Job sat and scraped the boils that covered his body, three friends came to comfort him. Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad sat with him for seven days in silence, mourning his losses.

Then Job spoke: Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. (Job 3:3)

Eliphaz, alarmed for his soul, said, Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? (Job 4:7) He shared a vision he had been given: A spirit had stood before him and said, Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust… (Job 4:17-21)

This counsel seems to have assisted Eliphaz in his own relationship with God, as he testified: Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole… (Job 5:17-27)

Job objected to Eliphaz's exhortation. Job was a man who knew good from evil and endeavored to do right in all ways. What he had experienced was not a chastisement but a decimation! He needed much more than a clucking disciplinary word from an older friend. But the jabs continued, with Bildad and Zophar joining in.

At one point, Eliphaz reminded Job, What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? (Job 15:9-11)

There, we see the phrase in context. A careful reading of Job 15 makes clear that Eliphaz felt that the vision and insight he shared with Job (see above) ought to have consoled him by ministering to his need for guidance. Job would have realized this, had he not been rebellious, vain and perhaps hiding a sin. Yet, it is not the word or vision that another considered so special in their life that can minister to our specific circumstance. Each of us needs his very own consolation of God.

In the end, Job was led to confess that he had considered himself to be God's equal, even to the point of challenging God's wisdom. He had been a man who thought he could be just or acceptable to God by his lifestyle. Indeed, he had worked hard every day to demonstrate his righteousness to God.

He had wanted God to explain why nearly all his possessions and loved ones were destroyed, but instead he was given a new way of seeing: Then he exclaimed, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (Job 42:5) He understood that he had been presumptuous. One cannot approach God as an equal. Isn’t this what Eliphaz tried to say?

After Job’s change of heart, God called on him to intercede for his friends. They had not been loving. Job obeyed and then God restored his life.

The Lord's own exhortation (found in Job 38-41) deeply consoled Job for his immense losses because it led to a repentance that opened his heart to see God in His glory— things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. (Job 42:3) Neither let God's consolations be too small for us nor his exhortations too great.

Are the consolations of God small with thee?

The consolations of God - First in a series

All but the youngest Christian can relate to this question: Are the consolations of God too small for you? (Job 15:11)

The older members in the family know that God often fulfills our expectation with something that seems "second-best." Or, after we have made a mess of our lives or others have done that for us, he provides something new or simply a word of help.

Thus, God's consolation

  • may come following a "No" answer to a prayer for something we desire greatly, or
  • it may be given after we ruin our lives to the point that we cannot have his highest and best, or
  • it may arrive as a way of countering what another person has done to hurt us.

As well, God's consolation is poured out continually in the friction or silence of life according to our need.

In American lore, the "consolation prize" is the lesser award or gift to console the loser who did not win first-place, but this may obscure the true meaning of the word. "Consolation" means pity or mercy. The Lord consoles us, not because we are second-best to him in any way, but because he knows our frame and understands our deep need for encouragement and love, specifically, HIS love. When we KNOW he perfectly understands our exact feelings and circumstances, it is a great relief to our hearts. All will be well, no matter what.

Here begins a series on the consolations of God— It will not be a comprehensive listing!

The Series image in the front page slideshow pictures the Church. Often we find consolation there. All photos in the collage are found on the Wikimedia commons site. Photo credits: Not ashamed; Moravian Church; Romanian Orthodox Church; Christ Church of China; Valinhos congregation

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut 33:27)

God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Mat 22:32b)

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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