Saturday, December 3, 2016
Is. 4:2 On that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. 3 Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6 It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
The words of the prophet remind us of what lies ahead for God’s holy children. The call to holiness is clear, as the city will be holy, filled with those whose names have been recorded in the book of life. They have been cleaned and purified and now make their dwelling eternally with God. This is not a world that is managed well by earthly leaders, but a place where the glory of God is present and serves as a shelter in all things. This is the hope and the anticipation for God’s children.
John Newton is probably best remembered for penning, “Amazing Grace.” He actually wrote more than sixty hymns and numerous letters and books in his lifetime. One of those hymns is, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” The hymn is based on this passage from Isaiah and ushers us into that space which we anticipate during this advent season.
1 Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God. God, whose word cannot be broken, formed thee for his own abode. On the Rock of Ages founded, what can shake thy sure repose? With salvation's walls surrounded, thou may'st smile at all thy foes.
2 See, the streams of living waters, springing from eternal love, well supply thy sons and daughters and all fear of want remove. Who can faint while such a river ever flows their thirst to assuage? Grace, which like the Lord, the giver, never fails from age to age.
3 Round each habitation hovering, see the cloud and fire appear for a glory and a covering, showing that the Lord is near. Thus deriving from their banner light by night and shade by day, safe they feed upon the manna which God gives them when on their way.
4 Savior, since of Zion's city I through grace a member am, let the world deride or pity, I will glory in your name. Fading are the world's best pleasures, all its boasted pomp and show; solid joys and lasting treasures none but Zion's children know.
May we live our lives in anticipation of the glorious presence of our Lord, which we can experience both now and forevermore.
Lord, please help me to rest in you today. Amen.