A WONDERFUL PROSPECT
I praise You Lord. There is no power in heaven or on earth like Yours. You have done wondrous things!
Read ISAIAH 2:1–5
The Mountain of the Lord
2 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
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.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
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.
‘God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”’1
In this chapter, Isaiah provides two pictures of what the future may be like, one hugely positive, and one very negative. Each ends with a challenge to Israel, saying in effect, ‘So if that is what you want/don’t want, this is what you need to do.’
Did you ever play the game of ‘what would you do if suddenly presented with a fortune?’ For most of us it would probably involve health, wealth, and happiness – and maybe being able to give something to charity. What is your picture of an ideal world? In these verses, Isaiah gives us a picture of God’s ideal world. Do you notice how universalistic his picture is? It involves ‘all nations’ (2). Israel is key, but only in the sense that all kinds of people and peoples will come from everywhere to worship Israel’s God, the One who can teach them truth. Everyone will want to hear about and from God, so they can follow Him. If there are disputes, He will settle them, not by increasing military spending so that the evil onescan be adequately controlled and conquered, but by getting rid of weapons altogether! Military academies around the world will close because there will be no need for training. Fair settlements will be the norm all around: real peace, not military power, is God’s ideal. This section is a real challenge to those of us living in powerful societies who seek to control the world by military might. I’m not sure that the argument that ‘this is in the last days and we have to be realistic about the now times’ is strong enough to release us from responsibility to strive for peace! Isaiah’s challenge to ‘walk in the light of the Lord’ (5) comes to us as well as to ancient Israel!
Are you for, against, or undecided about disarmament, nuclear or otherwise? What arguments have convinced or might convince you? Is the church fulfilling its responsibility if it prays – or should it also be involved in action?
Lord Jesus, I remember Your words, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God” (Matt. 5:8). Enable me to show others how to cooperate rather than compete or fight.
1 Heb 13:5,6