“For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.” (NRSV)
These beautiful and powerful words of hope were spoken to a people forced by the point of a sword to live in exile, to leave their home and live in a foreign land under a kind of “house arrest.” Their exile was their punishment for disobedience and for chasing after other gods. These were not just words of hope. They were words of forgiveness, too! Their time of punishment would soon end. And not only would God send them home, but God would also make them God’s “delight” once more.
As followers of Jesus, you and I are heirs to this promise. Jesus showed us that this eschatological vision (ultimate destiny) is not so much about what God will do, as much as it is about how we will choose to live in right relationship with God, one another, and all of creation. Jesus showed us that love has always been the way.
Be a blessing to someone today!