Read Isaiah 55-57.
Chapter 55 contains some wonderful, familiar, comforting verses (1-3, 6-9). It is the final chapter to the second main section of the book of Isaiah. Chapters 1-39 focused on God’s judgment and Judah’s exile in Babylon. The main focus of chapters 40-55 was on God’s deliverance and Judah’s joyful return home. Chapter 55 underscores for us that the way to forgiveness and life is to put our full faith and trust in our Creator and Redeemer God. That is the only way that truly leads home!
Chapter 56 and the following chapters were written some years after the remnant of Judah returned to the promised land. In chapter 56 a good summary statement jumps out at us in verse one: “Maintain justice, and do what is right”…The command is inclusive. God’s covenant grace extends far beyond Judah to include foreigners and eunuchs. It embraces gentiles. Thanks be to God!
The end of Isaiah 56 through 57:13 reminds us how easily our leaders and those of us who follow can fall into serving false gods. The prophet has some very harsh words for the wicked. But again the last words of the chapter are those of comforting assurance. As we celebrate advent one and await advent two, may all of us experience God’s lasting shalom!
– Warren Boer