This is copied from a devotion I wrote for The Christmas Risk series at my church.
This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Isaiah’s prophecies here are sandwiched in between sad pictures of present-day life in Jerusalem: the people are rebellious, offering multiple sacrifices without any true repentance. They follow the idols of the day, including carvings and magicians. War and strife have ravaged their God-given nation, and corruption is the norm.
Notice, the present shows people turning away from God; it is lip service, war, and materialism. Does this sound familiar? It is a good picture of my heart when I’m living life my way instead of for the one, true God who has restored us to Himself. If I am not daily – no, hourly, connected to God, I quickly become greedy for what others have, impatient and unloving towards others, assuming the worst about them and living out the worst of myself – overall a terrible mockery of what God intended for us to be to the world.
Instead, the future shows people flocking to God; it is willing obedience and peaceful living. The restoration that brings this future is Jesus.
I want to recognize that what Jesus did on the cross matters today. It should affect my life in a powerful way. It makes me wonder, Would the output of my life be any different if God had not reconciled me to Himself? Specifically, I was very challenged by verse 4 – to live at peace with others.
My Christmas Risk: Stop reading malice into others’ actions (and thereby often causing conflict where there was none). Instead, I will seek the peace that God’s restoration provides.