Day 7: Isaiah 60:19-22
The sun will no longer be your light by day,
and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you.
The Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your splendor.
Your sun will no longer set,
and your moon will not fade;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and the days of your sorrow will be over.
All your people will be righteous;
they will possess the land forever;
they are the branch I planted,
the work of my hands,
so that I may be glorified.
The least will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the Lord;
I will accomplish it quickly in its time.
1. Isaiah has been in a long conversation with God beginning way back in chapter 40, when his focus changes from the immediate repentance of the people of God in Jerusalem to the future restoration of the exiles people. The last six chapters of the book are Isaiah’s final dialogue. God has just promised “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore” (Is 59:21). Isaiah then receives these words of promise. Isaiah responds with an amazing prayer (chapter 64), and God reaffirms that he will do what he has promised, when he has chosen to do it.
2. Jesus is the everlasting light, the splendor of God, the righteousness of the people, the branch God planted, the fulfillment of the work of [God’s] hands, and the first and greatest example of the least and smallest becoming a mighty nation. Jesus is the means, manner, object, and outcome of what God intends to accomplish…in its time.
3. Anticipation is all tied up in long patience in the book of Isaiah. The prophet sees more than perhaps any other person in the Hebrew Scriptures (Daniel the possible exception), but he sees it far off and longs for it, leading to his agonized prayer in chapter 64 for God to appear right now. God’s promise is not to fulfill his promises on our timeline, but on his. We can learn from Isaiah to hold hope tightly, doggedly, while also surrendering to God’s timing in all things. Isaiah teaches us to embrace the “already and not yet” of the Kingdom of God.
4. The “already and not yet” is not the final state of the world. While the appearance of Jesus has already brought the light into the world (John 1), it will one day fill the world in every place without exception. As the apostle Peter wrote in his second letter, that this seems long to us is in no way a repudiation of God’s promise to accomplish it quickly– but it is an act of supreme mercy. God, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9) forbears to bring on the eternal state. We find ourselves again in the place of Isaiah, looking back at the first Advent as a lesson in long patience as we await the fulfillment of everything we have ever longed for in the second.