Did you shop the Black Friday sales this weekend or were you like me and your fingers did the shopping online? The hustle and bustle of the season can really wear and tear on the body. All the wonderful, messy stress of baking, cooking, cleaning, and eating over Thanksgiving combined with binge shopping and family, leaves me with brain drain. The days following Thanksgiving and into December can quickly feel like I’m the one run over by the reindeer instead of Grandma. I crave peace.
Increasingly, our circles of exposure grow ever wider with the internet and social media. We hear daily of wars, violence, terror, and natural disasters. Unrest rules the nations, poverty proliferates, and chaos swirls. Via these means, we’re often spectators watching others endure hate and abuse. Some days the darkness in others appears to grow deeper. Like a pressure cooker, fear builds within us from the constant presence of despair, disillusionment, disappointment, and dread. Don’t we long and hope for a world of peace, a world where all is calm and all is bright?
Isaiah lived and ministered in a time when his people were rebellious, sinful, guilt filled, and corrupt (Isaiah 1:3-5). Their lands were invaded, burned, and robbed of their resources (Isaiah 1:7). They were led by corrupt rulers. And so the people began thinking only of themselves and their own survival. They forgot to uphold the cause of the fatherless and the widow. They forgot about peace and their hope seemed illusory. Their hearts sought comfort and solace in places that offered none. But into their world, the Lord beckoned a return to Him.
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains,and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, [a]and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2: 1-4
Isaiah experienced a vision from God. He saw a time when all nations would flow upstream seeking out the Lord God on His mountain. Not to see the sights or to grab a selfie with the Big Guy to post on Facebook but, to learn from Him. These people of the nations will come wanting change and desiring knowledge of God, His ways, and to walk in obedience to Him. During this time, God’s wisdom will trigger a 180 degree turn in behavior. Fighters will become farmers and justice will rule the land. Disputes will be settled because God is the Peace Maker. Isaiah saw that in these last days no one will need to be taught warfare tactics or learn hate because peace will be the rule. The common folk longing and desiring peace will find it.
“O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Isaiah 2:5
Isaiah gave the people a directive. He didn’t issue this command after the last days arrived but into their present moment. A moment looking toward the fulfillment. Because the vision hasn’t yet come to pass, the command is also a call to you and me. A call for us to remember that the darkness seeks to destroy but the light of Christ has come into the world. Christ is, Christ came, and Christ will come again (Hebrews 13:8). Into our shopping stupors, our hectic holi-daze dash to school programs and parties, to grandma’s house and friend gatherings, and into a bleak world that threatens the fear to grow in us, the Father beckons and calls us to hope. He calls us to lay down our weapons, settle our disputes and leave the paths of sin behind us. He calls us to leave the darkness behind because a great light is ahead of us. Advent is the time to redirect our thoughts and to walk now in the light of hope bringing peace.