“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Beauty and Joy in Zion
(Please read Isaiah 55:1-5)
Isaiah the prophet foresaw a time when the captive Israelites would be permitted to return to their homeland, Zion, and our text indicates that many would not want to go back. Perhaps they would be so well acclimated to the Babylonian lifestyle that they would hate to give it up for the more austere situation they were bound to find in Jerusalem. They might not even be swayed by the beautiful picture of a restored homeland, or the promise that foreign nations who formerly despised them would seek their help because of the splendor they could see in Zion.
Think now of today’s world. People who worship the Lord Jesus Christ are continually inviting others to come and partake of the security and happiness available in his kingdom. Yet, for the most part, that invitation Is ignored, probably because people value the world’s attractions more highly than what they see as the joyless hardships of Christians.
And that idea about the church may be based largely on how outsiders view Christians. Perhaps we don’t exhibit much joy in our salvation. Maybe we sound as if we sing the songs of Zion by rote instead of with the heart. Or even, to our shame, possibly our lives are visibly less righteous and happy than we claim they should be.
Let’s show the watching world, by our very lives, that the kingdom of God is truly “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:17-18, NIV).