Friday

“Come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” (v. 5)

Isaiah 2:1-5 Friday 22 December 2017

Psalm: Psalm 145:1-7


Background

In verses 2-4 there is a marvellous vision (also to be found in Micah 4:1-3) of God’s future rule over the whole world. The temple mount in Jerusalem will be raised up to become the highest on earth. (Think of the appeal of Mount Everest – but even more so!) People will flock there from every nation on earth. From the temple, God’s word or instructions (or ‘law’, the mix of illuminating stories and moral, ethical and legal requirements that Jews have always found in the first five books of the Bible) will teach all the nations. God will be like a solo United Nations’ Security Council, arbitrating in the disputes between nations and establishing peace without any nation needing to resort to war ever again.

In place of investment in military hardware, the era of peace will boost agricultural production (verse 4). For ‘ploughshare’ probably read ‘mattock’ (a wooden-handled implement with a short metal bar fixed at right angles at one end; the metal has a chisel edge at one end and an adze at the other).

The passage ends (verse 5) with the prophet appealing first to the “house of Jacob” (“Judah and Jerusalem” in verse 1) to turn their vision into reality. So they are called to turn to God, learn God’s ways and walk in God’s paths (verse 3) – the way of light, displacing darkness.

Isaiah wrote from Jerusalem in the second half of the eighth century BC, when (in his prophetic perception) the southern kingdom of Judah had lost its way, denied the centrality of God and become thoroughly corrupt.


To Ponder

  • Christians are convinced that it was when Jesus was ‘lifted high’ on a cross just outside Jerusalem that God’s inexhaustible love enabled new possibilities for people and nations in every era to live in peace, justice and truth. What does it mean to you to believe in Jesus as the Prince of Peace?
  • Christians declare God’s gift of inner peace, in the mysterious depths of our hearts, as the precursor to effective work for reconciliation and world peace. How will you make time over Christmas to ‘rest’ in God’s peace and allow God to rekindle commitment to and love for Jesus?
  • “There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions” (Hans Kung, address at the opening of the Exhibit on the World's Religions at Santa Clara University, 31 March 2005). What could you and your church do to foster inter-faith harmony where you live over the Christmas season?
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