So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. (Luke 3:18 NASB)
There was a lot more of this—words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them. The Message! (Luke 3:18 MSG)
An exhortation is a little speech (or a few sentences) strongly urging people to do something. John didn't just tell them to repent. He gave specific examples of how repentance would look in their lives. He helped them find their way through the early days of this remarkably personal faith they had embraced.
I love how the Message describes it. "Words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them". John spoke with words that they could remember, that they could hold to and use during the difficult days. Remember, they lived in an occupied nation with enemy soldiers who were often harsh and cruel, and who served under a ruler who was cruel, if not insane. A word of encouragement that strengthened their heart was exactly what they needed.
The psalmist described the Word (God's Word) this way: "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." (Psalms 119:105 NASB) That is exactly what the word of God is supposed to be for us. It's like a little palm-sized lamp that gives us just enough light to see the next step. It strengthens and encourages us if we will allow it.
Spend some time today pondering those verses that you know as God brings them to your mind, and allow them to strengthen and direct you. Maybe you need some time in Scripture to learn new verses. Let those words from God infuse your being and allow them to make you stronger in your faith and more diligent in your obedience.