Independence Day is this week. I’m thinking about more than just hotdogs and barbecue. In our anxious, conflicted world I’m thinking about peace. The prophet Isaiah preached in an anxious time. The Assyrians had wiped out the Northern Kingdom, and the Babylonians were threatening the Southern Kingdom. Where is peace?
Lord, though the world around us struggles with chaos and conflict, I find my perfect peace in you. My your Spirit spring up within me that I might trust you even more in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday – Isaiah 2:1-4
Though they lived in anxious times of war, Isaiah gives the King a vision of peace. According to this passage, what makes for peace? What are the signs of peace? I don’t have a spear or a sword. What do I do to turn weapons of war into instruments of peace?
Tuesday – Isaiah 11:1-9
We often read this passage at Christmastime. What we see fulfilled in Jesus, Isaiah could only anticipate in faith. In verses 6-9 Isaiah paints a picture of peace. How would you describe it? Who is the source of this peace? How would this vision give hope to a land that was engulfed in fear and uncertainty? How does Jesus fulfill this vision, not only for Israel in that day, but for us today?
Wednesday – Isaiah 26:1-6
The Kings of Isaiah’s day believed peace came through strong armies and stronger walls. After all, when David was King, Israel was in her Golden Age. The borders expanded. The land was secure, and the people were prosperous. But that day has gone. Isaiah reveals the true secret to peace and security. What is it? How do we find it? We don’t talk about armies and walls today, do we? How do we find peace in the 21st century?
Thursday – Isaiah 32:1-20
Long passage. I would divide it into 3 parts: vss 1-8 – a picture of true peace that comes through the righteous rule of a king; vss 9-14 – a prediction of what actually happened; and vss 15-20 – the vision of God’s preferred future. What is God’s preferred future? What will trigger it? If peace is the result of righteousness, how do we become righteous?
Friday – Isaiah 55:1-13
Isaiah’s tone changes from warning to hope, so much so that some commentators believe these words are written by a different hand. It feels that the disaster Isaiah anticipated has happened. These are invitations into God’s covenant again. What are the invitations? Note the action verbs in your Bible: come, seek, pay attention, listen, call. (The verbs in your translation may be slightly different.) How does peace come in this vision?
Saturday – Isaiah 57:1-2, 14-21
Peace does not come in capitulating to the values and standards of popular culture. The prophet denounces the pagan culture of his day. To whom does God give peace? What triggers this gift from God? How can we find peace in our world today?