Week One: Hope
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
3 and many 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 the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and 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 anymore.
5 O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.
Hope doesn’t mean what it used to. We use the word in a doubtful way (“Well I hope…”). But hope in the Bible is a confident assurance of what’s to come. For Christians, hope is connected to our faith in God.
Theological virtue of hope
Verses 4 and 5 promises everything anyone could possibly hope for their land. Isaiah promises a time when God himself will be like the President and the Supreme Court combined: teaching his ways to the country, judging all of the policies and problems with perfect wisdom. What is impossible with human beings is possible with God.
Anxiousness – our default state
This opening prophecy in Isaiah came at a time of real hardship and anxiety. Anxiousness is fear, born of uncertainty about the future, that we feel in our bodies. Medication can help us with these bodily symptoms. But the cure is faith, which leads to hope.
How does faith lead to hope? If we trust someone, that means we can trust the promises that person makes. Having faith in God also means holding certain assurance that what God promises will come.
No matter how things look now, we know where this is all going!