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Isaiah 4:2–6 (GNT) Jerusalem Will Be Restored
The time is coming when the Lord will make every plant and tree in the land grow large and beautiful. All the people of Israel who survive will take delight and pride in the crops that the land produces. Everyone who is left in Jerusalem, whom God has chosen for survival, will be called holy. By his power the Lord will judge and purify the nation and wash away the guilt of Jerusalem and the blood that has been shed there. Then over Mount Zion and over all who are gathered there, the Lord will send a cloud in the daytime and smoke and a bright flame at night. God’s glory will cover and protect the whole city. His glory will shade the city from the heat of the day and make it a place of safety, sheltered from the rain and storm.
This passage from Isaiah describes the future. In the chapter before this, Isaiah had just told of chaos and depravity and a city on its last legs. Isaiah had told of God’s judgment and wrath that awaited Jerusalem, and how that judgment might not work out for some. This passage though, is the plot outline’s resolution, after the climax, after the bad guy kills off all the under-developed characters, this is where the good guy beats him in a quick-draw duel.
Our future feels uncertain. Our time here and now feels chaotic, disordered, and confused. The pandemic is leaving a trail of questions and fewer answers. It’s hard to make plans, impossible to forecast the days ahead, and difficult to even see the horizon. Many are out of jobs. Many struggle for food and housing and security. Many are forced to return to work in dicey circumstances. Folks can’t wait for things to get back to normal.
When we eventually reach the other side of this, hopefully the plot outline isn’t lost and we don’t suddenly lose the newfound respect we’ve developed for those that have kept the country running during the chaos: health care workers, teachers, grocery store workers, shop keepers, truck drivers, janitors, police, and firemen. Hopefully, the sting will be deep enough amongst the suffering to make a healthy portion of the relatively unscathed feel sufficient contrition to make things better. Jet flyovers and parades of cars with homemade signs are nice, but a livable wage or an affordable doctor’s visit would go a lot further to show appreciation. Everyone knows what they think they’re worth but don’t give too much thought to what other people are worth as long as it’s cheap. And that needs to change. We need to want the basics and good things for others that we want for ourselves. We need to want the future full of promise and a branch from the Lord for everyone. Let’s not go back to the way things were. We need to do better than that.
Let us live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Help us be humble and gentle. Help us patiently put up with each other and love each other. Help us do our best to let God’s Spirit keep our hearts united. Help us be kind and help us live at peace.