THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT. Reflections in Isaiah with Roger Ellsworth, 276 pages. Published by Evangelical Press, Grange Close, Faverdale North, Darlington, DL3 0PH, England, (or PO BOX 825, Webster, New York 14580, USA). ISBN 0 85234 549 6.
In his book, Roger Ellsworth offers us a heart-warming collection of devotional readings based on the last twentyseven chapters of the prophecy of Isaiah. The author sees this final section of Isaiah as a book, within a book, for the message presented consistently throughout these chapters is one of comfort, God’s comfort extended to a needy undeserving people. In reading God’s word, we look first to understand the message as it applied to its original recipients. However, some prophetic utterances have deeper significance again, predicting events destined to occur far ahead in the future. Many of the ‘purple passages’ that are found in Isaiah’s prophecy have yet to reach total fulfilment, and this, on occasion, the author points out in his comments. For the most part throughout these readings he is happy to take the text at its face value, as it applied to God’s ancient people who were compelled to endure the unhelpful hostile conditions of a long captivity in Babylon. He then widens the application to include God’s people of today who, similarly, seek to maintain their identity and hold to their faith in a godless world.
Roger Ellsworth’s style of writing is uncomplicated and his message direct. This makes for easy, pleasurable, reading. The author suggests that we compile a journal of our reflections upon these chosen sections of scripture, and at the end of each chapter he submits questions that are likely to stimulate our thought processes, and lead to a very personal application of God’s word to our lives. Isaiah’s messages in these chapters were so necessary for the godly of his generation for they were in sore need of encouragement: we too can take encouragement as we study them for like God’s people of old we are ever in the mind of ‘the God of all comfort who comforteth us in all our tribulation’, 2 Cor. 1. 3.
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