By Brooke Holt
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” (Isaiah 65:17–19)
The Old Testament is full of drama. What started in Genesis 1 as a lovely and perfect creation was quickly marred by the fall of Adam and Eve. From that fall came relationship drama—drama associated with death, drama between God and his people, and drama between God’s creation and people. To get a glimpse of this drama, we just need to look back to the Israelites. Though they had been chosen by the Lord, abundantly loved, rescued from slavery, and given the Promised land, they continued in sin and rebellion against their God. Their story is one of the greatest dramas ever recorded!
This prophecy of Isaiah is the promise to God’s people amid their many dramas. Their sin and rebellion would lead to judgment and exile. Life in a foreign land would be humbling and challenging. Even upon their return to Jerusalem, life would continue to be difficult. But God’s word through Isaiah declares that judgment is not the end; exile is not the end; struggle is not the end. The new heavens and the new earth are the end, and this new heaven and new earth are the redemptive and mighty work of Yahweh the King.
Included in this prophetic word of the Lord is the promise that God will forget the drama of the past. All the sin and all the rebellion will all be wiped away. The old will be gone, and the new will come. Instead of drama, there will be joy, gladness, and rejoicing. God will rejoice in his people, and they will rejoice in their God. All the pain of the previous drama will be forgotten, and there will be no more weeping and crying.
Can you even imagine? God invites you to do so today. This world—all its drama and all its pain—is not the end. God’s word to Isaiah was fulfilled as his people experienced judgment, exile, and challenge. Then they returned to the Promised Land. God’s word was also fulfilled when Jesus came to dwell among us. He brought a new kingdom, a kingdom of healing, redemption, salvation, and eternal hope. Ultimately, this prophecy will be fulfilled when Jesus comes again to establish his final reign. Sin will be destroyed, death will come to an end, and Satan will be bound forever. The Lord will bring about the new heavens and new earth, and what a glorious day that will be!
Are you living in anticipation of the new heavens and new earth? How does contemplating this promise of the Lord bring you peace, hope, and joy, even in your greatest earthly struggles? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
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