Dispatch One Hundred Nineteen

Posted: April 5, 2015 in Thirty-First Bundle
Tags: , , , ,

ISAIAH 25:6-9

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
    of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
    the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
    the sheet that is spread over all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
    and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
    This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

The prophet Isaiah lived in the eighth century BCE in the southern kingdom of Judah. During this time, the Assyrians were pressing down from the north, having invaded and dispersed the ten tribes of the north just a few months earlier. Judah’s king had been considering the political advantage of joining some of the emerging alliances among smaller kingdoms in their effort to fend off the armies of Assyria.  But Isaiah was critical of this idea, since it represented putting Judah’s trust and fate in the hands of foreign powers. What was needed, the prophet insisted, was for the king and his people to anchor their faith in God.

At this point, Isaiah held forth a vision of the future. A vision is a clear and compelling mental picture of an ideal future that inspires new values and pulls our behavior into alignment with higher aims. By definition a vision is idealistic, and yet the influence of a truly powerful and long-range vision lies in its ability to help us see beyond the limits and conclusions of our present world – that is, the world as presently arranged. Isaiah saw a time when his people would have enough food, be free of sorrow, and live forever in joyful celebration of  God’s sovereign grace and generous hand. For those who could believe it, the anxious threat of Assyria would not be the last word.

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