October 16 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.” ~Isaiah 59:16

OLD TESTAMENT

Isaiah looks into the distant future to a time of great restoration, and his vision is epic! What he sees extends beyond the salvation of his people to the restoration of all things. The Christ is coming, and He will call people from every nation to be part of a new community that will never end. He will reign over the new creation in the City of the Lord!

Isaiah uses poetic language to describe a real kingdom. There are ships and seas and people and a City. There are nations and kings in other parts of the world that come to the great City of the Lord for worship. Why are they coming in and out of the City?  The City of the Lord is not the kingdom; it is the capital of the kingdom! The kingdom is comprised of many nations just as the Commonwealth of Nations is comprised of more than 50 nations from around the world, such as Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom, all represented by the Queen of England. The capital city, the City of the Lord, is also called the New Jerusalem and is as real as any great city you have ever visited. (Heaven, where God dwells now, is only a temporary waiting area, where believers stay until Christ returns to establish His kingdom. See Revelation 21:1-5.)

While Christ’s kingdom with its cosmopolitan capital is in the distant future for Isaiah (it’s somewhere still ahead for us too), God calls His people to follow Him in the present. God calls out to them, ready to save and bless those He loves if only they will turn to Him. We’ve seen this message so many times in Isaiah’s book and elsewhere in the Old Testament, but it is important to let the message of the prophet sink in. None of us are perfect. There are aspects of the prophet’s message we need to hear. Warnings we need to heed.

God promises rescue and restoration to His people, but their present is one of turmoil. He allows His people to experience judgment not because His arm is too short to reach them or His ear too dull to hear them, but because of their sin (Is. 59:1). They see injustice in the world around them and say nothing (Is. 59:4). They see orphans and old widows abandoned and take no action (Is. 1:17). They are a bunch of rebels who ignore their preachers and spread malicious gossip (Is. 59:13). They abandon the day of worship in favor of doing their own thing (Is. 58:13-14). Money and material gain is their god. They aren’t living the truth! These are Isaiah’s words for a wayward ancient people, but each one sounds very much like an indictment of the modern Western church! May we listen to the message of the “Spirit of the Sovereign Lord” and take it to heart (Is. 61:1).

NEW TESTAMENT

A great day is coming when Christ will return. We will know because there will be a loud sound—I imagine it will sound something like the great horn of Gondor from The Lord of the Rings only bigger. The reverberations will shake planet Earth. Then something will happen that makes every epic sci-fi film look cartoon cute. The God-man will invade earth with His great armies, and graves will open so that the dead can be raised to life. He is coming to take over the world, to defeat the Evil One and cast him out forever. Those who are alive—and have accepted Him as the coming king—will rejoice and begin looking for their loves ones, who will be fully alive. We are to comfort one another with these words. We will see the God-man, and we will be with each other again FOREVER.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.