The Father of Comfort.

During this unique time in our world, we will suspend our regular series and instead look at passages that remind us of who God is, what He has done for us, and how He comforts us so we can comfort others. Our church family is personally and corporately strengthened as we continue to learn and live in the comfort of God.

Characters throughout the Old Testament experienced the comfort of God. The Psalms often illustrate the writers' running to God for comfort. The prophets urged God's people to return to Him and experience His comfort again. Jesus' life exemplified finding comfort in our Father. The whole book of 1 Peter was written to comfort suffering saints.

Christian culture has many cliches about experiencing trouble. Most of them have their origin in Scriptural truth. How many of these have you heard?

  • God will never give you more than you can handle. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • When the burden grows greater, ask for bigger shoulders to carry it.
  • God is in control. He's still on the throne, and He can be trusted.
  • This too will pass.
  • The Lord leads the way through the wilderness; all we have to do is follow.
  • "When God puts His children in the furnace, He keeps His hand on the thermostat."

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 can be broken into 3 different sections as outlined below. We will work our way through this passage in the weeks to come.

An Announcement that Gives Confidence

Regal announcements describe the nature of a royal position and the quality of a person. Both are to be seen in how they live their lives. Paul makes a regal announcement of God's position and character in 2 Corinthians 1:3. This passage can also be read as a hymn of praise. God is to be "blessed," praised, and exalted because He is our Creator and still working in our lives and our world today. Two other passages describe God with similar words: Ephesians 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:3. Paul describes what God has done for us in providing salvation. Peter describes our living hope, our eternal future that compels us to persevere in the present.

Though what our world is experiencing now is unprecedented within most of our lifetimes, trials are not new to God. He is always capable to sustain us by grace.

The description of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" is worth noticing. When Jesus came to Earth, He changed our human relationships with God. Through Him, we can know God personally as our Father (John 1:12). In Christ, we have a precious relationship which is also described in Matthew 6:9, John 17:23, Ephesians 1:6, and Galatians 4:6-7. God sees His Son in us and loves us as He loves His Son.

God is also "the Father of mercies." He is the originator of mercy, which can be defined as withholding from us something we deserve (wrath for our sin). In Christ, God's beloved experience ultimate mercy (Lamentations 3:22). God's mercy is abundant, free, and eternal. It reminds us that we need Christ, then gives us peace in Christ when we accept Him as Lord of our lives.

The word "comfort" is used 10 times in this whole passage. In John 14:16, the Holy Spirit is called the divine Comforter. Romans 8:26-27 describes His intercession for us in the most difficult moments. God tailor-makes comfort for our unique circumstances. His comfort is personalized in each trial. Then He works through us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4). We will pick up at this phrase next week.

An Advocacy that Strengthens Our Hearts

2 Corinthians 1:5-7

An Awareness that Refreshes

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Application Points

  • Take a few moments to praise your Creator for who He is! What has He done in your life? What is He doing now? Focusing on our living hope helps us to persevere through whatever circumstances we face.
  • Can you approach God as your Father? Do you have a unique relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ?
  • Have you experienced God's mercy?
  • Have you experienced God's comfort? Turn to Him first for personalized comfort in any trial.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 25:6, Nehemiah 9:19, Numbers 14:19 – The mercy of God.
A Hymn to Encourage: "He Giveth More Grace"

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.