Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
When I read Scripture these days I do so through a “trinitarian lens” and then I think about how what I find applies to our contemporary context.
Recently, I was reading Isaiah chapter 40 in that way. It struck me that what I saw (a message of hope) is so different from what we used to see there (a message of doom). In Isaiah’s day it was a message of hope for the Jews in captivity. In our day it is a message of hope for all humanity, declaring that God has included all people in his eternal plan to be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
In the first eleven verses of Isaiah 40 are four dramatic prophecies concerning the hope of God coming to rescue his exiled people, the Jews. In verses 1-2, God tells the prophet to “comfort, comfort my people” who are exiled in Babylon. Then in verses 3-5, a voice cries, “prepare the way for the Lord,” as a highway of rescue is formed through the desert leading from Babylon back to Judea. In verses 6-8, the prophet announces that though life is ephemeral (“all men are like grass”), God’s word of rescue and hope is eternal (“the word of our God stands forever”). Then in verses 9-11, those keeping watch over the ruins back in Jerusalem are called by God to declare from the highest height that God’s victory is sure – he will bring his exiled people home and sustain them in a work of rebuilding.
This is not a message of doom, but of hope – humanity’s hope in the God who is the Deliverer and Rebuilder. I pray that this message will resonate in your heart, bringing you hope in difficult times. And I pray that it will move us to action as a people called to share this message with the world. Concerning our part as a fellowship in that work, I encourage you to read the accounts in this issue of Weekly Update (click on the links above the line at left; links below the line are for general reference). It’s my joy and privilege to share these stories with you.
Warm Advent greetings from my family to yours,