Reader: “At the right time,”
Response: “I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
Scripture: Isaiah 60:15-22
“Though you were once despised and hated,
with no one traveling through you,
I will make you beautiful forever,
a joy to all generations.
Powerful kings and mighty nations
will satisfy your every need,
as though you were a child
nursing at the breast of a queen.
You will know at last that I, the Lord,
am your Savior and your Redeemer,
the Mighty One of Israel.
I will exchange your bronze for gold,
your iron for silver,
your wood for bronze,
and your stones for iron.
I will make peace your leader
and righteousness your ruler.
Violence will disappear from your land;
the desolation and destruction of war will end.
Salvation will surround you like city walls,
and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,
nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set;
your moon will not go down.
For the Lord will be your everlasting light.
Your days of mourning will come to an end.
All your people will be righteous.
They will possess their land forever,
for I will plant them there with my own hands
in order to bring myself glory.
The smallest family will become a thousand people,
and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.
At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
If you have some time, read the first fifteen verses of this chapter. One thing to note in Isaiah is that “Zion is a theological name for Jerusalem, the City of God” (NLT Bible, notes p.1195). There is no more significant city in all of the world. Zion is a symbol of God’s presence. The Temple that Solomon built was symbolically called Mt. Zion. In Solomon’s day, God dwelt in the Holy of Holies above the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple. To be a citizen of Zion meant that one had been redeemed by God.
In this portion of Scripture, Isaiah is describing a future day following the return of the Lord. We will see the Lord in all his glory. There will be peace, trust, justice, righteousness, purity and holiness. There will be no impurity, idolatry, rebellion against God, unrighteousness and immorality anywhere. The citizens of Zion have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and are pure and holy. Do you realize no one who has ever lived, except those who were physically in the presence of Jesus during his days on earth, has ever been with a perfectly pure and holy person? I wonder what that would be like. Read again a description of those days. “I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler.” No fraud here. “Violence will disappear from your land.” That would be a welcome relief in this world. “War will end.” Yes! “Praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.” Can you imagine our leadership openly praising God without being mocked? We won’t even need the sun or moon for God himself will be our light. Think of that! God will bring back his people to Zion from everywhere in the world.
Earlier in this chapter Isaiah writes, “And what do I see flying like clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests? . . . They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel.”
(I’m sure you are aware that there are agencies now dedicated to flying Jews from all around the world home to Israel.) Isn’t it amazing how Isaiah described this roughly 700 years before Christ?
All of this is to bring glory to God. I’m afraid we live in a world that is so consumed with itself that the thought, let alone the act, of bringing glory to God is not even on our radar. How can you bring glory to God today? Stop and think about it before you read on. That is what will happen in Zion when we get there. The last sentence of today’s reading gives me chills, “At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” Jesus’ journey to the cross made all of this possible. Glory to you, Lord, God.
Music: “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” BuPyeong Methodist Church (S.Korean)
“Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” Glorious Philharmonic Choir (African)
Prayer: Fix thou our steps, O Lord, that we stagger not at the uneven motions of the world, but steadily go on to our glorious home; neither censuring our journey by the weather we meet with, nor turning out of the way for anything that befalls us. The winds are often rough, and our own weight presses us downwards. Reach forth, O Lord, thy hand, thy saving hand, and speedily deliver us. Teach us, O Lord, to use this transitory life as pilgrims returning to their beloved home; that we may take what our journey requires, and not think of settling in a foreign country. ―John Wesley, 1703-1791