Good morning! We have an embarrassment of riches today in these last six chapters of Isaiah (61-66)! There’s much that we could dwell on, and indeed preachers have, since several sections of these chapters come up in the calendar of readings (lectionary) that many churches use. But so that you can go ahead and focus on the texts themselves, let me just mention one overarching theme I see: human hunger for the newness that God will provide.
It would make more sense to me as a reader if the first few chapters of today’s passage focused on the desire and need for God’s deliverance, followed by a few chapters describing that salvation. However, Isaiah intermingles promise and problem throughout these chapters. There are fabulous passages throughout here, dedicated to the new creation that God will bring—complete with wolf and lamb eating together! Jerusalem will be God’s holy mountain again, a light not only to the Hebrews but also to the nations. Yet mixed in with these promises are also reminders of how people have failed to obey God in the past. They have missed the proper orientation of worship, called forth vengeance upon Edom with arresting imagery, and have no hope other than pleading for God’s newness to be manifest. In the face of this complexity, there is nevertheless room for human action. Isaiah exhorts the people to build a highway for that coming newness, proclaiming it to all the people. God’s embrace of creation—with marriage as a metaphor for God’s eternal commitment to the earth—will certainly be revealed, and all eyes will see it on that day. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Jeremiah 1-2. Thanks for reading!