18 But rejoice and keep shouting joyfully over what I am creating; because I am creating Jerusalem as a reason to rejoice, and its people as a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem, and have joy because of my people; the sound of weeping will be heard in it no more, nor the cry of distress. 20 No more will there be in it a nursing infant who lives only a few days, nor an old person who does not live out a lifetime; because one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They will not build for someone else to inhabit; they will not plant for someone else to eat; because the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, and my chosen will get long use from the work of their hands.
the days of a tree
I recently enjoyed another walk among the Redwoods in Rotorua, New Zealand. Some of the trees there are quite old, and we saw one which has a memorial plaque dedicating it to the memory of one of the forest’s early developers. These trees are designed to last. Isaiah knew trees like that. His message from the LORD spoke of a renewal in Jerusalem. He spoke of an era when the inhabitants of that city would not see the disappointments that they saw in Isaiah’s day. He promised them a new place where everyone would live lives that lasted – like a tree.
· Infants would not die before getting a chance to live in that wonderful place.
· Old people would know the security of a long life filled with joy.
· Builders would enjoy the homes they build.
· Planters would enjoy the harvest of their crops.
These promises are just examples of the new age, and the new Jerusalem that God is creating for his people. The promises are there to get us through the difficulties and disappointments of living in this age, when things almost never go as planned.
Isaiah tells us that we do not need to wait for those promises to be fulfilled. We should start rejoicing now, because God is in the process of creating a new dwelling place for his people. That new Jerusalem is being prepared for us now, and will come down from the sky. But God’s word for us now is to start rejoicing now, while we wait.
LORD, give us the faith to worship in response to your promise – to rejoice while we wait.