Going Deeper 11-26-19

(NOTE: click the link at the bottom to listen to another wonderful Lauren Daigle song… this one perfect for Thanksgiving)


The first reading for the first Sunday of Advent...

Isaiah 2:1-5   The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."  For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!


As I have shared recently (and repeatedly over the years), prophecy can be very tricky to understand, interpret and apply.  I am far from comfortable in proclaiming myself as any sort of expert.  (Honestly, part of my discomfort comes from observing so many so-called experts over the years whose interpretations have proven to be off-target.)


Prophecies are challenging because it has become pretty clear that there are often more than one potential fulfillments for most of them.  A prophet most likely is speaking to his/her contemporaries about something that is just over the horizon, anticipating a fulfillment in the not-too-distant-future.  But in many cases, especially in terms of prophecies related to the coming Messiah and messianic age, those very same prophecies may have at least one or two future fulfillments as well.


For example, when we consider the word and vision from the Lord Isaiah receives in this text, it seems as though we are still waiting for it be completely fulfilled.    As a matter of fact, at the time of Isaiah Judah and Jerusalem are in big trouble.  Most of the first part of the book is filled with gloom and doom, for a time of destruction is coming soon.  Here Isaiah is looking beyond the fall of Israel to a time of restoration.  And that restoration is not yet complete.


Yes, we can interpret part of the text as having been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, who established a new “Israel” in the form of His Church, and who called for love in the face of hate, and who proclaimed peacemakers as being among the blessed.  But we are still waiting for swords and spears to be converted into tools for promoting growth, and waiting for nations to stop “learning war.”


And yet we are not to simply wait.  We pray for that Kingdom to come more and more fully into the here and now, and as God’s children, we desire to be part of the fulfillment as we work for healing and peace.


With You in His Service,



Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."