8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: I will not again give your grain to your enemies to eat, and foreigners will not drink the wine for which you have worked; 9 but those who harvest it will eat it and praise Yahveh, and those who gather it will drink it in my holy courts. 10 Go through, go through the gates, prepare the road for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an flag over the peoples. 11 Yahveh has proclaimed to the edge of the land: Say to daughter Zion, “See, your deliverance is coming; his reward is with him, and his repayment in his presence.” 12 They will be called, “The Holy People, The Redeemed of Yahveh”; and you will be called, “Sought After, A City Not Abandoned.”
getting ready for God
The LORD continues to express his love for his people and his holy city through Isaiah. Crucial to the message that God loves them is his promise to send his deliverance to them, whose reward is with him. Part of that reward is the restoration of justice to the people, and that is demonstrated by the promise to no longer allow a foreign oppressor to steal their crops. But there is more to it than that. Holiness will be restored again. The husband who promised to marry them will be restored to them, and their value will be restored. That is why the people are urged to clear the highway of stones and other impediments, levelling it out. The LORD is returning to his people.
John the Baptist came preaching this centuries old message, and the nation flocked to him. One of the reasons for his success was that he was not simply calling on individuals to “get right with God.” He was calling on all society to get itself ready for God. Likewise, today – our evangelism is not biblical if we just call on people to repent of their “personal sins.” God’s challenge to us is not to change ourselves so that we will be prepared for death. His challenge is for us to change our whole world so that we are ready for what he wants to do with it.
LORD, give us the zeal to want to prepare our society for your arrival, and the wisdom to know how.