Bible passage: Isaiah 60:1, 5–17 (ESVUK)
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you;
the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,
and I will beautify my beautiful house.
Who are these that fly like a cloud,
and like doves to their windows?
For the coastlands shall hope for me,
the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your children from afar,
their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the Lord your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel,
because he has made you beautiful.
Foreigners shall build up your walls,
and their kings shall minister to you;
for in my wrath I struck you,
but in my favour I have had mercy on you.
Your gates shall be open continually;
day and night they shall not be shut,
that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
with their kings led in procession.
For the nation and kingdom
that will not serve you shall perish;
those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary,
and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
The sons of those who afflicted you
shall come bending low to you,
and all who despised you
shall bow down at your feet;
they shall call you the City of the Lord,
the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one passing through,
I will make you majestic for ever,
a joy from age to age.
You shall suck the milk of nations;
you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
and instead of iron I will bring silver;
instead of wood, bronze,
instead of stones, iron.
I will make your overseers peace
and your taskmasters righteousness.
Thinking about the new creation and prayer
Today we have combined our questions about the passage and “Think” section.
Write a list of 10 things that if they happened or if you had them, you would consider them a luxury. Be extravagant. Don’t just think about having lots of money. How would you spend it?
Isaiah paints a picture of how abundant life will be in the new creation. A quick Google search reveals that a camel today costs £40,000.
- How does this help you understand the picture Isaiah is painting? Guess how many camels you could fit in your flat or house. How much money this is?
- How does Isaiah 60 challenge the view that “the new creation will just be a slightly more comfortable version of life in the West?” How do these promises in Isaiah go beyond the promises we’ve seen so far?
- Pray: Psalm 136:1 says “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever”. Give thanks to God for his steadfast love that means through Christ, we will be able to enjoy these new creation blessings.
Imagine what it will be like to have all these things. Imagine the space you will need to fit them. How does what is promised compare to your list of 10 luxuries? You may think that thinking like this is materialistic. But remember, these things are only possible because God is here. This is similar to the picture we get in 1 Kings 3–10, the golden age under King Solomon—but so much better!
Try reading the rest of Isaiah 60. Think about the different pictures Isaiah uses to describe how glorious our future will be. Imagine what it will be like—if some of the pictures seem confusing, try and translate them into language that is more understandable for example: when Isaiah speaks of the “least one becoming a clan”, imagine a homeless man or baby becoming the prime minister.