The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.2In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.3Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.4He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.5O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! (Isaiah 2:1-5)
Isaiah’s vision opens in an unsettled and anxious time, with scenes that would fit in today’s evening news. The “Israelite Dream” has not come true. Visions of success have turned to despair. Self-interest has trumped justice, leading God to turn a deaf ear to Israel’s valued traditions and rituals. Yet here Isaiah’s prophetic imagination kicks in. He reminds the people of God’s dreams for them – that their energies would flow toward God and not to their own individual concerns; that they would see their interconnectedness rather than seeing themselves as adversaries; that honest labor would prevail rather than seeking unfair advantage through might. God will make this happen! If only the people could look past their fear and uncertainty to grasp God’s mercy.
In perilous times such as ours, it is tempting to seize on the certainty of Isaiah 1: The obedient will thrive; rebels will fall to the sword. “The Word of the Lord” will conquer all. But in today’s passage Isaiah invites us into reflection. Which way is the stream of my life flowing? Am I journeying toward the mountain of the Lord, or have I exalted my own desires? When am I too quick to grab the swords of anger or indignation to support my own positions? How can I be the Lord’s messenger of peace and justice? Grappling with these questions can be a first step or a next step in walking in the light of the Lord.
O God, direct the rivers and trajectories of my life so that they flow always toward you. Help me to release the desires and concerns of my life so that I might perceive and experience the large, beautiful dreams that you have for your people. Amen.
(Originally published in The RevWriter Resource)