Sunday 1st November 2020

Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Reflection: In the day of his salvation

Isaiah speaks of a day when hope may be the centre of our thinking. A time when favour from the hand of God will be placed upon the earth. The setting of this text is on Mt. Zion, for the people of that age, the centre of God’s Kingdom on earth. All of the hope of that day is based on the things that God will do. The prophet proclaims God will reign victorious over all when his Messiah returns in power and great glory to rule and reign upon the earth.

In the day of His salvation: God will lead a celebration of His triumph.

The glory of that day is expressed here in symbolic imagery as God is seen to be preparing a lavish banquet, an occasion of great celebration. Nothing is to be spared for the occasion all peoples will be among the invited guests. The finest wine and the finest of food is served an occasion symbolic of the fulfilment of complete joy and a celebration of the people of God. In the previous days of earlier chapters no celebration was to be found. All things were in ruin; the wine was bitter. But now there is to be a new day, when gloom will be turned to celebration!

In the day of His salvation: the truth of the Gospel will be known to all.

The veil or covering mentioned may be one of two things a veil of mourning under the state of judgment to be removed in the time of celebration or as a veil that obscures the truth where ignorance and blindness are keeping us from receiving Christ’s offer of salvation. Either way I think Isaiah intends us to look for the day when the religious confusion and conflict in the world is replaced with the true knowledge of Christ.

In the day of His salvation: God will swallow up death.

Christ at the cross and through the empty tomb conquered death for all. Of course we live with death as a real and present enemy, Christ knows death as a defeated foe. Through Christ, death will one day be forever vanquished. The Apostle Paul argued the theology of eternal life. Near the end of his discussion, he cited the coming of Christ for his own and the resurrection of believers

as fulfilment of the prophetic words of Isaiah 25:8. Often we stand at a graveside, grieving the loss of one loved. The separation of death brings with it a sting. Yet we are reminded also that death will one day itself be swallowed up in victory, forever!

In the day of His salvation: God will eliminate sorrow.

The prophet further assures us that God will wipe away the tears of all people. The cause of tears here is not mentioned and in some respects it may be better to leave it as nonspecific, life brings many possible causes of grief. All of us who experienced grief have wept those bitter tears that sting your eyes. All or probably most of us have worked our way through those broken relationships, those conflicts with another, whether verbal or even escalating to physical each of them often prompt tears. A godly mother grieves over a spiritually wayward son. A prodigal son grieves over the sin that has ruined his life. God will ease the pain and wipe away the tears.

In the day of His salvation: God’s people will rejoice in His salvation.

God’s people have long-held the expectation of the last day and the fulfilment of life in salvation. They have waited for him to save them, which is an indication of faith. For me that is one beautiful aspect of faith in faith we do not look for nor dwell in the difficulty of the present moment but in faith we expect, nae we look forward, to the promised future of God. In this waiting, The people whom Isaiah addresses,

like the people of faith today, place their trust that God will do that which they or we cannot do.

Powerless to make all things right among the nations; unable to remove the blindness that the veil causes; death and sorrow seem to be inevitable experiences Yet hope and ultimate joy is found in the God who saves. The message of the biblical prophets, it would appear swings widely, from judgment and despair on the one hand to hope and salvation on the other. This is a question and even at times an accusation, how is it both extremes could be true? Some would argue such radically different messages constitute contradictions within the text of scripture. Such messages are not contradictory. Rather, they speak of seasons in the plan of God. Remember a few weeks ago when we looked at the reading from Ecclesiastes, I said that we serve a God of different seasons and different times that are all required to make the journey of life’s experience complete. At different points in time and situation, differing facets of God are in evidence. This reality comes through in Isaiah’s prophecy. At points he anticipates the judgment of God. Yet he also writes of a day of grace and salvation, anticipated comfort for a people experiencing anew the blessing of God upon them. Isaiah pictures this future feast prepared by the Lord. A spiritual feast of rich food, overflowing with spiritual blessings. Death will be no more. The tears of pain and mourning wiped from every eye forever. Christ, his Anointed One, at his first coming died for sinners. At his second coming, he will establish his Kingdom on earth. Let the celebration feast begin God’s Plan. Surely reason enough for God’s people to rejoice and be glad in the day of his salvation.

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