Matthew’s Beatitudes are meant to give comfort, not to challenge.
Until now I never appreciated the beautiful message of this week’s Old Testament passage. God’s promises to Israel—to not be drowned by water or burned by fire—make this text almost as comforting to its readers as the 23rd psalm.
The Gideon Bible treats the Bible as comfort food. But a diet of the Bible consists of conflict and confrontation.
The preacher must remind those who feel worthless already that Isaiah is not trying to make them feel worse.