The Mountain of the Lord
1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.
The book of Isaiah is a book of prophecy, which can be very confusing. Most of us think about prophecy in the sense of predicting the future, and there is that aspect to it. But it is also descriptive, as prophets also revealed the true state of the nation of Israel to its people. So when you read prophecy, it is important to keep two time scales in mind: the future, but the present as well.
And this is helpful as we read this passage. Isaiah clearly states that this is a prophecy about the future, that in the “last days”, God will establish his authority and his peace. This is a good reminder that eternal and final peace is a work of God alone, something that will only be fully completed at Jesus’ return. And this is reinforced by the fact that so much of the future prophecy of the book of Revelation, which deals with Jesus’ return, runs along the same lines.
But, we do have to read it with an eye for our present as well. What is striking to me is that peace seems to be the result not only of the establishment of God’s authority (mountain), but also…his word. As his word is established, people use it to know how to live, and to judge fairly between themselves, and have peace.
This seems very strange, because most modern people assume that peace is had through diplomacy and summits and treaties, those kinds of tools. While they are steps in the right direction, they are not solutions – after all, diplomacy has existed for centuries and has not turned the tide of man against war. Instead, peace is a fruit that comes from the Bible.
Really? The Bible is the key to world peace? That seems like a stretch…but is it? It teaches about throwing away the principles of “eye for an eye”, and instead, giving your cloak to your enemy. It teaches that there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. It reveals the concepts of grace and forgiveness not through internal strength, but through the forgiveness that we have through Jesus.
If a people, or a nation, really understood and embraced these concepts, would peace be very far behind?
1. What part of your faith gives you the most peace in your life?
2. Have you ever had an experience where you followed God’s commandments to forgive, and experienced peace you didn’t have before?
3. Is there a situation in your life, or in the life of others where there is a lot of conflict and division? How can you bring peace to that situation?