Our words carry meaning. When we speak our ideas, thoughts, desires, and fears, others hear them and process them for a meaning in their own lives. Sometimes this valuable exercise can be life-changing. Sometimes the process breaks down and can be confusing.
One day my coworker was tasked with transporting a group of worshipers to a church service. He did exactly as he was told. He left the pickup point at the designated time and drove to the church. But the worshipers were running late. He drove an empty vehicle to the worship service! The words he heard me say were: “Leave the pick-up point at 4:45 p.m. and head over to the chapel.” Our words mean something.
Isaiah tells us that at some point, we will praise God. “In that day you will say: Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done” (niv). What words will come from your mouth and your heart as you praise God?
If you have not thought about what you will say, Isaiah has given us some tremendous advice. Even though you and I fall short of righteous living every day, God continues to reach out to us, to love us, and to offer us salvation. We can speak “on that day” from experience that God has turned anger into comfort, that God is our salvation, and that we can trust and not be afraid. We can speak about how God has protected us and lifted up our hearts and filled them with joy. Our words mean something; if we speak the truth of our divine encounters with God and our authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, then what we speak can be life-changing for those around us.
Holy One of Israel, we will praise you today because you have given us strength, salvation, and joy. Amen.
This week we read two passages from the prophet Isaiah. In the first, God promises a total restoration, a new heaven and a new earth— a theme repeated in Revelation 21. The new Jerusalem will be filled with joy and prosperity. Isaiah 12 offers thanksgiving to God for the gift of salvation. God’s praise will be proclaimed among many nations. In the epistle, Paul chastises a lazy faction among the Thessalonians. This passage has been misapplied as teaching against providing assistance to the poor, but Paul’s target is not the poor; it is those who can provide for themselves but fail to do so because they say they are too focused on waiting for Jesus. In Luke, Jesus foretells future turmoil for Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.
Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How can you play a part in Isaiah’s vision for God’s people? When do you have to accept that only God can usher in this vision? How do you know the difference between these two situations?
Read Isaiah 12. How can your words be life-changing for others?
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Who has mentored you in the faith? How has their guidance kept you disciplined and helped you grow?
Read Luke 21:5-19. How do you speak the truth of Jesus to those who say the end is near?
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