Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Isaiah 62:1-5 (NRSV)
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
A home in shambles, a divided community, all symbols of hope destroyed…was the reality the remnant of Israel faced when they returned to Jerusalem after exile. Yet, as they looked at the rubble, Isaiah spoke these words—God’s promises to restore and strengthen them. A people who had finally made their way home to a land of brokenness. Silence. Emptiness. Ruins. And then the prophet stepped forth and announced: Light. Warmth. Beauty. Joy. It would take centuries of work to reach these promises in tangible ways—Temple walls, commerce, a restored community, but as is always the story of Israel and all God’s people—we find these promises even within the journey, within the waiting.
As the people worked together to restore their homeland, their trust in God gave meaning to their symbols of hope. Their unity made way for the light, warmth, beauty, and joy God had promised.
When you feel forsaken and desolate, remember that God has promised you something new. As you step into that promise, you do not go alone. What in your life most stands in need of remembering this truth?
God, you restore that which is most broken and reconcile that which is most divided. Help me to trust that the One who is powerful enough to restore a nation can surely repair my heart, my community, and this world. Amen.
Go with God.