Why is God so eager to pour his eternal blessing on people like us?
It’s a question too many of us don’t really ask. Life often seems hard and stressful, and we grow blind to God’s present blessings and we tend to ignore God’s promises for our future. We lose sight of God’s kindness.
God’s people, stuck in Babylonian exile, faced this challenge on a grand scale. Their precious city, Jerusalem, was now a heap of smashed stones. Their temple, burned and trashed (Isaiah 64:11–12). In the rubble, the hopes and dreams of God’s exiled people probably never got much higher above imagining a return home for a chance to rebuild.
But into the crumbled-down world of God’s covenant people, Isaiah 60 paints a stunning picture of God’s promises and future blessing. Where God’s exiled people may have simply been happy with new walls around old Jerusalem, God promises a new creation.
The images of his promises are forceful. Just as the darkness once covering the formless earth was broken by light in the first creation (Genesis 1:1–2), so the darkness of sin fallen on the world, and felt deep in the bones of his exiled people, will be broken by the light of this new creation city (Isaiah 60:1–2).
Radiating from this light shine all the promises of Isaiah 60. Not only will the city be rebuilt, this New Jerusalem will become the 24/7, never sleeping, epicenter of world travel, global wealth, and cosmic praise to God. It will be a beautiful city filled with God’s people made beautiful.
There God’s people will be made majestic, and rejoice forever. They will become “a joy from age to age.” They will be fitted in gold. Adorned in beauty. Living in peace.
Behind all these promises was the most stunning and unimaginable promise of all: The sun will become obsolete as it gives way to the manifestation of the glory of God, his “everlasting light,” which will illuminate this city forever. In God’s radiant presence, all sorrow will cease. All sin will be done away with. All enemies will be vanquished. God’s people will possess this new land forever with no threat of exile. Nothing will threaten or hinder their joy.
These breathtaking promises blow the lid off all human expectations for exiled believers living in Babylon. None of them could have envisioned a remodeled Jerusalem coming close to the images of this New Jerusalem (images that all foreshadow the new creation in Revelation 21).
Isaiah 60 is compounded blessing upon compounded blessing cascading down in holistic human flourishing. It’s almost impossible to believe.
Written by Tony Reinke
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