This is what Isaiah, Amoz’s son, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 In the days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be the highest of the mountains.
It will be lifted above the hills;
peoples will stream to it.
3 Many nations will go and say,
“Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the house of Jacob’s God
so that he may teach us his ways
and we may walk in God’s paths.”
Instruction will come from Zion;
the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.
4 God will judge between the nations,
and settle disputes of mighty nations.
Then they will beat their swords into iron plows
and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
they will no longer learn how to make war.
5 Come, house of Jacob,
let’s walk by the Lord’s light.
This is the first week of Advent and around the world we lit the first candle of the Advent Wreath, the candle of Hope. This candle is also known as the “prophecy candle,” because it signifies our hope that God will fulfill the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, that Jesus will come again and establish a world of justice, love and peace. But peace can’t happen until there is justice, and who will judge the nations of the world? While we can work for peace, only God can bring peace to the world.
Across from the United Nations is a small park named after Civil Rights Leader Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Dedicated in 1948 during the construction of the United Nations, the wall in the park is inscribed with the words from Isaiah 2:4; “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.”
This sentiment was echoed in the prohibition on the use of force in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter; “All members shall refrain in their threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” This was certainly the world’s hope after World War II. But in spite of our best efforts, peace hasn’t happened. We continue to view each other as separated by national interests, divided by fear and hatred, fighting over resources and ideologies rather than see that we are all children of God. Until then, we live in the hope and assurance of God’s promises, following Jesus, who taught us how to walk in the Lord’s light.
So we continue to put our hope in the Lord. Our hope is made of strong stuff, it doesn’t break or fade. You can feel this hope in your heart. It isn’t a hope that is just a glimmer far off on the horizon, but a hope that is assured, right here and now, because God is steadfast, faithful and loving. God keeps every promise, doesn’t fail us, God stays with us through every adversity. God is love and love never fails.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer.
This Advent, let the light of hope shine out from your heart, following Jesus and walking in the Lord’s light. What are the ‘swords,’ the tools of war and division, in your life that need to be beaten into peaceful iron plows that plant a harvest for God?
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, thank you for the gift of hope we have in Jesus our Savior. Guide us to walk in your light, and transform the tools of war and division in our lives into instruments of your peace. Amen.