Readings: Psalm 85, 87, Isaiah 52:7-12, Romans 8:26-39, John 1:9-14
Yesterday, I spent my Sabbath rest in the hills above the Shenandoah Valley. A friend of mine has a farm where I take respite from time to time. As there is always “work” to be done on a farm, this respite often involves some physical labor, that I have found rest in. It is good for my soul and despite the physical exertion; it is a rest from the regular labors of living and working in the city. But it is more than that; it is a time to rest and pray and fellowship in the word of the Lord. In pastoral places like this, I more easily hear the glad tidings that God speaks. It is easier to quite my soul in a place with less noise.
What do you do on your Sabbath to rest and spend time with your Lord and experience His Good News?
In this section of Isaiah, God is foretelling how he will restore his people back to their homeland, after their deportation. It was Good News indeed for His people who were suffering much under the oppression of a foreign conqueror. Indeed, a promise they could rest in, knowing that the Lord was for them and would restore them. Our promise today from John 1:9, should encourage us as well: “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” We can rest in this. The true light of the world is here, among us, his power and peace available to us, his love to comfort us, his justice to prevail over us. As Paul reminds us in Romans 8 there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from this. Yet, we allow the noise of the world to drown out this truth. Take time, today if you can, to rest, be quite, and spend time with your loving Savior, Jesus.
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
11 Depart, depart, go out from there;
touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves,
you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.