Scripture: Isaiah 65-66
Key verses: (65:17-19)
For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
Reflection: In Isaiah 65:17 – 19 we hear a promise that will be reiterated in Revelation 21: “See, I will create a new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”
This promise recognizes suffering while also heralding a new day to come. Prior to the extensive reading and studying this “Year in the Bible” offers, I had imagined for both Isaiah and Revelation that the new day would solely be God’s action and initiative. But, the verses preceding Isaiah 65 make a different claim.
There is a tension in verses 1 through 16 between those who earnestly seek God and those who do not. The verses offer judgment upon the wicked whose value is questionable, and hope for the “remnant” who seek God and the common good.
The “a-ha!” for me in this text is the new heavens and new earth will emerge not just from God’s creative and redemptive work in our world, but also through the hearts and minds of those who create space for God’s initiatives. We do not hope for God to magically fix things. Instead, we work together with God toward that new heaven and new earth.
Author: Lisa Hickman
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].