TODAY’S READING: Isaiah 23–27
Isaiah is the most missionary of prophets for he cannot stop talking about the glory of God among all the nations. The indomitable vector of the Bible is the glory of God. Both nations and persons are invited to find their highest joy in worshiping Jehovah. The invitation is universal as will be the judgment on all those who try and take God’s glory rather than freely give it. To scorn that invitation, they face His terrible judgment.
In Isaiah 23 the prophet unloaded his burden against Tyre, Tarshish (Spain), Cyprus, the coastlands (Europe in the Old Testament), Sidon, Sihor, Egypt, Canaan, Chaldea, and Assyria reminding them that the Lord will bring to dishonor all nations that glorify themselves instead of Him and that their wealth will be set apart for the His purposes (23:9, 18). Chapter 24 spreads the warning to all the earth and culminates with stating that Jehovah will punish all false gods, including the moon god and the sun god that were worshiped all through Syria and Palestine. Whatever “prophecy” has fallen to in our day, in the Bible it has an irrepressible missions thunder. I suggest a self-proclaimed prophet who does not constantly reference the glory of God among all peoples does not speak for the Master.
The prophetic call for the judgment of all nations that refuse to glorify Jehovah is always accompanied by the prophetic joy of all peoples being invited to Jehovah’s embrace. The God who does wonderful things always has and always will do them for all peoples of earth (25:1). The Lord of Hosts will make a feast for all people (v. 6). He will liberate all people and remove the veil that is spread over all nations (v. 7). He will swallow up death forever and wipe away tears from all faces (v. 8). He will take away rebuke from all the earth so that all peoples will one day say: “Behold this is our God; we have waited for Him…and we will be glad…in His salvation” (v. 9).
The great longing of the Bible is that of all peoples for the Desire of all nations. What makes us most human is the spark of the divine in all of us. The image of God in Jews, Arabs, Indians, Asians, Europeans, Latinos, Americans, Africans, and all races is what we have in common; thus, it is only in the God of the Bible that we can be most united. Other masters have had dominion over us and it has not gone well (26:13). Only those who trust in Jehovah are kept in perfect peace with themselves and with one another (v 3). We best celebrate the divinity within us by recognizing it in other cultures. We best honor the Father when we unite with all His children from around the world.
The spirit of prophecy continually calls us back to both the terror and the joy of God as relates to all nations and all the peoples of earth. There certainly will be a terrible final judgment that spans all the earth and there certainly will be a trumpet blown for a global gathering to feast in unified celebration. And all nations will be represented at both events. Let us once again be God’s prophetic people. Let’s open our mouths and warn all people groups of the judgement to come and win some of each for the joyful feast. If any of us claim to speak for the master, we must constantly speak to and of the nations.