“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:6-8)
It gets frustrating to live in a media-saturated world with the collective attention span of a two year old. THE BIG, BIG, BIG STORY OF THE DAY dominates our lives….for a day or a week or maybe two…and then we move on to the next BIG, BIG, BIG, even BIGGER story of the day.
Today the world said goodbye to a beloved queen. But that will be buried in the vaults of history in short order. I had seen a snippet of an earthquake in Taiwan yesterday, and I had to search layers deep to find the story, because, after all, that was yesterday’s news. In this never-ending news cycle in which we live, our appetites can never be sated; we must be carried from disaster to disaster, horror to horror. And we must sell advertising to keep this going, so sensationalism is necessary to keep the eyeballs glued!
I’ve been thinking about this because I just read these verses from Isaiah 25. These verses too were written in an age where human deprivation and human devastation were daily fears; in a time when some people went hungry and others exploited them; when disease ran rampant and everyone felt powerless to do anything about it.
It was into that world that a promise cane – a new day was coming. That new day will not come riding on the back of whoever ends up on the throne of whichever country is next in line to be a “super power”. It won’t come behind the delivery van stuffed with well-aged wines and rich food. It won’t come via the politician who promises the same if we just elect them and throw those other bums out.
The new day comes only by the power of the One who can swallow up death and wipe away the tears from all faces. Only God can usher in that new day and that only in God’s power and God’s timing. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that God will be able to pull that off without Democrats or Republicans, or Fox or CNN, the CDC, for “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…” (Rev. 1:7).
I believe that new day is coming, as certain as the dawn. We read of those promises in the Bible. We hear them repeated week after week as we gather for worship. We even get “a foretaste of glory divine” as we gather around the Lord’s Table, now looking with eyes of faith, but then face to face. Everything else that blasts us with information every day is just background noise.
The writer of Hebrews exhorts us: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25). If we worshipped and prayed as frequently and fervently as we sat glued to the talking heads on the radio, the TV, our computers, and our smartphones, we would all be better off.
So, ‘let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). It is this Jesus who has “swallowed up death forever,” and it is he who bring that glorious Day when he “will wipe away tears from all faces.” “Come, Lord Jesus!”