How great is Your name, Lord my God, through all the earth. When I see the vastness of space, I am amazed that You keep me in mind.
Read Isaiah 4:2–6
The Branch of the Lord
2 In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit[a] of judgment and a spirit[b] of fire. 5 Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory[c] will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho would you like to be standing near in the assembly on ‘the day of the Lord’ (2)?
After Saturday’s harshness, today we come to a glorious vision of our final destination. ‘Branch’ (2) can more exactly be understood as ‘shoot’ – fresh growth for a new kingdom. This is an image which appears elsewhere in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 23:5). It foresees the completely new life we shall eventually enjoy in Christ.
On that day (3), citizens of Jerusalem will be made clean and holy. Reading the small print (4), one has to say the process seems far from painless! Tough love is the Isaiah way. Apparently, there is no other route from the grim place described in chapter 3 to the ultimate sanctuary reached by the end of chapter 4.
Wonderful, vivid prose, but what has it to do with us – living ordinary Christian lives today? A central idea here is ‘the day of the Lord’ (2:12). This idea describes the age – or perhaps the eternal life – we shall share when the Lord Jesus has resolved the issues between God and humankind. For us as Christians, it speaks of the second coming of Christ when we shall be reunited with God in love. Grasping this truth brings each of us to a position of standing there on Mount Zion (5), gathered as a community. There we will be sheltered and safe from all harm (6).
Meditate on your place under the blessed canopy described in verse 5. Rest in the glory and presence of God today.
Lord God, You are a refuge and a strength for me, a helper close at hand in times of distress. My heart’s desire is to fully trust in You.
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