First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14c
Insuring the Future
10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn over her; 11 that you may nurse and be satisfied at the comforting breasts; that you may drink deeply, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
12 For thus says YHWH, "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream: and you will nurse. You will be carried on her side, and will be dandled on her knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem."
14 You will see it, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like the tender grass: and the hand of YHWH shall be known toward his servants; and he will have indignation against his enemies.
World English Bible
What insures a glorious future? Despite the fact this question flies in the face of common sense (how can anyone really guarantee the future?), many people spend much of their lives in the search of future fame and glory. But, the writer of these verses dared to ask that question about the city of David. How could the glory of Jerusalem be not only restored, but insured for the future?
In the verses at the beginning of Isaiah 66, the author criticized those who reduced such insurance to Temple cult. Some asked, "How could the future of Jerusalem be insured?" Their answer, "Proper edict at worship." The author sarcastically answered with the hypocrisy of such a statement. A worshiper may have the right form, the right ingredients for sacrifice, only to try to manipulate YHWH. Would this work? No! God would speak for the future of the City. He would announce the pregnancy of the City, the coming sons for the nation. Only he had the power to deliver on his timetable, on his terms. Only he could insure the future of Jerusalem.
When the time arrived, when the sons appeared, there would be rejoicing in the David's city. Notice the author extended this pregnancy-birth analogy to child rearing. The season of deliverance would be comforting and joyful, like a child breast feeding and at play on the lap of her mother. The author pointed to a sign for that joy: the prosperity that came with pilgrim tourism, trade, and the tribute paid by foreign governments. The City would thrive. The glory of City would return.
Despite the best efforts of people to insure the future, the author of these verses remind us of one fact. Only God can insure our destiny. Our attempts are, at best, only partially successful. That is why faith, not self-initiative is the answer. We can do our part, but we should trust in God and follow his will. In the end, he is the One in charge of the future.
What have you done to insure your future? Your retirement? Your lifestyle plans? Where does God fit into your future? How do you put God in charge of your future?