Lesson 8 - God of All Comfort

  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

In this verse, we offer our adoration and obeisance to our Father and to our LORD. We address them both as blessed and make joyful thanks to bestow blessing and praise upon them. This wonderful letter opens with praise, and all of it goes to the Father and Lord of us all. Praise also goes to the Savior who has given us eternal life and restored our fellowship and communion with Him.

This verse states that God is the Father of mercies. He was the original giver of this awesome gift. Mercy always follows grace, and both are by-products of love. Mercy means to pity or have compassion on someone. When we think of pity we usually think of being looked down upon because we found ourselves in need. Pity usually leaves a bad taste in our mouths because of our knowledge and experience in the secular realm. In fact, in many cases we were repulsed, offended, and stumbled by the lack of caring and response to our need.

God’s pity is different from the world’s. God sees the needs of His children and goes beyond the need. The scriptures define pity as to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, and to have compassion upon. When God pities someone, He not only ministers to the need but also lavishes more supplies upon the need than is really necessary. A good example of this is found in John 3:16. We didn’t want a Savior but our heavenly Father knew we needed Him to save us from our sin, so He sent His only Son to die in our place. By doing this, we, who were poor, became rich in Christ. He gave us more than we would ever need or could imagine and in the process—He solved the unknown and unrecognized problem that all mankind suffered from—separation from God. (Ephesians 2:13)

God also is the God of all comfort. Comfort means consolation, a calling near, summons (OLB). When we call out for comfort, God will come alongside us to bring us consolation. We gain comfort and consolation because we call out to Him. We draw near to God, and when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us.

When we are in tribulation, we cry out for God to come near us and He does. Tribulation means a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaphorically: oppression, affliction, distress, straits (OLB). We are told in Romans 12:2 that the world desires to press us into its mold. The world is always applying pressure upon us. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed ... ”

Because we have received this comfort from God, we are now able to comfort others because of the new life in us. We have a desire to come alongside others in similar situations who cry out, and we respond by coming alongside them. The love of Christ compels you (from the KJ “constraineth”), which means to hold together with constraint, to compress, to press on every side (OLB). When the world tries to tear us apart or crush us, God, who indwells us, keeps us together. He presses out all the dents that the world perpetrates against us as we go against the flow of the world. He balances the pressures that are in constant play in the environment of this world.

Serving is one way of bringing comfort to another person in times of tribulation or suffering. We are able to meet the need with the same comfort that we received from our own experiences. This keeps both of us from focusing on self and helps them avoid the snare of self-pity.