Tuesday, July 2, 2013

the earth will sing

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. 

Isaiah 24:14-16a

The prophet Isaiah envisions a future in which all the peoples of the earth worship God in song. It is a powerful image of global joy and a hope which every worshipper of The Lord longs for. But this worldwide worship service should be understood in its context. Yes, the world will universally worship God in the future, but only after the devastating judgments that must come from the hand of God to wipe away idolaters, haters of His good, and abusers of other people.

Isaiah first envisions God dealing with sin among the nations. The very surface of the planet is twisted and desolate after God's judgments (Isaiah 24:1). Every social setting and caste of humanity is disrupted by the severity of the judgment (Isaiah 24:2). The earth is empty, mourning, and defiled by its inhabitants (Isaiah 24:3-6)... an environmental wasteland. All of this is the due result of the sin of the people of this planet (Isaiah 24:5-6). Cities are in ruins and there is no cause for human rejoicing, only misery among the survivors as the depth of loss sinks into the world (Isaiah 24:7-13). It is in this context that the vision drastically changes to this powerful picture of global praise. God is the focus of the people of the earth because God has brought them through judgment and He is all they now have.

God loves the world and He will move the very forces of the heavens and the earth to bring praise to Himself through the people of this earth. There is a future in which this world is destroyed and remade back to the Garden it was meant to be where people walked with God. It will come at great pain but it will bring great glory to The Lord. The earth will yet sing. We are far from Him now, but He will shake us back to Him!

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