Read: Isaiah 51:1-5
1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
2 look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
4 “Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.” (NIV Isaiah 51:1-5)
Study: Most mainline Bible scholars believe the second part of Isaiah was written after Babylon conquered Israel, leaving the physical Promised Land ruined. But the prophet told Israel that the Babylonian army couldn’t destroy God’s vision for the Promised Land. God’s faithful people, like their spiritual ancestors Abraham and Sarah, were the true kingdom God sought, and he would give them eternal inner beauty comparable to the LORD’s garden. Imagine yourself as an Israelite living in exile far from home, or perhaps just back in the ruined city of Jerusalem. How would these words about your spiritual heritage, and God’s promise of comfort and restoration, speak to your heart under those conditions? You are a spiritual descendant of Abraham and Sarah (Galatians 3:29). How does God’s promise speak to your heart today?
Pray: O Lord, I value your justice as a light to the nations, when we humans fall so short of that justice. And I’m grateful that your salvation will endure forever, because I know so many of the things of this earth will not. Amen.