HOPE IN OUR WORLD
Read: Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:6-9, 65:17-19
2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (NIV Isaiah 2:2-4)
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (NIV Isaiah 11:6-9)
17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. (NIV Isaiah 65:17-19)
Study: In Isaiah’s day, conflict between the dominant Assyrian Empire and the military power of Egypt was a constant threat to Israel. (Like them, we at times feel as though we live with the threat of violence.) Isaiah’s God-given vision was not of one power wiping out the others, but of swords made into plowshares. He wrote prophetically about God’s dream of a world restored by the Messiah, a world where “they will neither harm nor destroy.” He even used startling images to show us the serene nature of this new Eden. Imagine lambs lying down safely with lions, or children playing near cobras! In what ways are national identities and borders a blessing to human life? In what ways can and do they often trigger hatred and conflict? Is your heart open to let God grow peace and forgiveness in you even toward those you fear and distrust? How can you join God’s work by seeking to make today’s world a place where more people can live in peace and safety?
Pray: O Lord, let your peace reign more and more in my heart, in my life. And keep my hope and faith focused on the day when you again reign fully over our world, and violence and sadness give way to complete peace and harmony. Amen