Monday, January 16, 2017

Isaiah 60:15-18

Isaiah 60:15-18
English Standard Version (ESV)

  It's interesting to think about where our hope rests.  We see a lot of this with politicians -- they try and convince us to place their hope in them, assuring us that they can deliver us from and through various obstacles that face us as a country, as individuals.  What we discover is that all politicians are ultimately unable to make good on each of their promises, because the system they work within is filled with broken and selfish people.  They can help some, but cannot give us all that we need.
  God, however, exists outside of time and space.  The limitations that bind us do not bind him.  Our human minds cannot comprehend the limitless sphere in which God eternally exists.
  God also exists outside of our sinfulness.  He is not tainted by it, not corrupted by it, so he can deliver us from out of it.  Since we cannot ascend to the place where he is, God enters into our sinful world, into our broken systems, into our corruption, and somehow is not tainted by it, but takes it all upon himself so that we might not be doomed by it.  As a result, God can issue the promises we find in Isaiah, promises that exist beyond our heartbreak and into 'a joy from age to age.'

Friday, January 13, 2017

Isaiah 60:8-14

Isaiah 60:8-14
English Standard Version (ESV)

  Let's be honest -- most of us are a little afraid.  We're insecure.  We worry about our health or our security or our safety or our loved ones.  When we're not sure what to worry about, we invent new things to frighten ourselves.  We scheme elaborate crises in our minds and convince ourselves they might happen, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.  We're creative, if nothing else.
  One of the things we worry about is our home security.  There exists a multitude of companies willing to sell you alarms and other devices to keep your house safe.  We have locks and sirens to keep people out.
  What God promises, however, is a world where we don't have to close the doors because others are coming to bring things to us!  We don't need locks because others, even our enemies, will bring a tribute.  How different will that feel?
  God promises a radically transformed future, one completely different than the one we know.  We are charged by Christ to live into this future in the here and now, to live in such a way that communicates these different values, that proclaims a greater truth, that points to Christ and his future.  It's not easy and often runs counter to everything our culture proclaims, but we are charged to live in such a manner that proclaims our ultimate trust in Christ our King and his future.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Isaiah 60:4-7

Isaiah 60:4-7
English Standard Version (ESV)

  What makes your heart thrill and exult?  What can you glimpse that will make you radiant?
  I think we're often left looking for external stimuli, things in this world that will delight us and transform our lives.  To that end, we often go in search of experiences, looking for food or companionship or notoriety that will offer us satisfaction.
  What God promises, through the prophet Isaiah, is a different level of satisfaction, one that is buried deep within us and bubbles up like a spring due to the working of the Holy Spirit.  It is a hope, a deep trust in God that the world will one day be gathered up into God's eternal arms.  All that is broken will be set right.  All that is torn apart will be mended.  He who has a mighty arm to save will reach down and gather up those who submit to his Lordship.  The world's treasures shall proclaim his name, and our hearts will join in the song.  In that moment, we will realize why the world's pleasures couldn't satisfy the hunger deep within us -- only God can do that, and the hope we have that we shall one day stand before the throne of grace and sing with all that we are.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Isaiah 60:1-3

Isaiah 60:1-3
English Standard Version (ESV) 

  There is a default setting in our minds -- we tend to assume the worst in so many situations.  We get wrapped up in catastrophic thinking whenever the smallest thing goes wrong.  We so easily make the transition from forgetting one thing in our jobs to imagining ourselves as homeless and living under a freeway overpass.  Someone passes us in the hallway without saying hello and we automatically assume they despise us and are busy plotting our downfall.  We feel a minor twinge in our back and we assume there is a massive tumor eating away at our lives.  It just happens.
  Here, we're told that darkness shall cover the earth.  This part makes sense to us.  But the rest of the promise is where God breaks through and shatters whatever expectations we may have of fear and trembling.  In the midst of night, we're told, the Lord's glory will be seen upon us, and nations (presumably in darkness) will rush to the light, eager to see whose power can break the night.  So many who have believed in their own ability to stave off fate will suddenly be humbled, and they will come to the realization that the hope in us is born as a baby in a manger, hung on a cross as a criminal, and witnessed not by those in power, but by those who were willing to be led by a Savior and reborn in grace.