Friday 02 March 2018

Bible Book:

or come to mind.” (v. 17)

Isaiah 65:17-25 Friday 2 March 2018

Psalm: Psalm 27



Today is Women’s World Day of Prayer and this year’s theme is ‘All God’s Creation is Very Good!’, which seems rather apt for today’s passage. We’ve taken a leap forward a couple of chapters in Isaiah, and we find an altogether different tone in the text from yesterday. Where before we had vengeance and bloodletting, here we find joy, peace, tranquillity envisioned – for God’s people, at least.

It seems that Israel’s disgrace is such that only the remaking of the world will suffice. Perhaps here we find echoes of the story of the great flood (Genesis chapters 6-9) – a sense that the only way to make things better is to wipe the slate completely clean. While this may seem extreme, many of us will have experienced a time when we felt things were just too broken and screwed up to be redeemed that the only thing we could do was to make a fresh start, to try again.

The opening lines of this passage will be familiar to many Christians, as they are echoed in the Book of Revelation. In Isaiah, we have the promise of the creation of new heavens and a new earth – Revelation imagines a time when that promise is fulfilled: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more” (Revelation 21:1). 

In Isaiah’s vision, the city of Jerusalem will become a beacon of joy and delight, with abundance promised for its people. No longer will they build things for others to enjoy, no longer will they plant crops to feed the mouths of other people – they will be able to see the fulfilment of their toil and to revel in its rewards. This utopian vision speaks to our basic human desires – peace within community, health and longevity for our loved ones, a secure place to call home, a sense of purpose – and the ability to enjoy the fruits of one’s own labour. It’s an interesting challenge to any vision of heaven that involves lazing around all day!

To Ponder

  • Have you ever made a ‘fresh start’? What made it possible for you to wipe the slate clean?
  • What would a perfect world – your vision of heaven, if you like – look like?
  • What would you like to see redeemed in the here and now?
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