The big temptation for the people of Judah, who were facing conquest and exile, was to lose faith in God’s rulership. In a world where military victory was often seen as proof of the superiority of a nation’s god, the conquest of Jerusalem and the
destruction of the Temple could easily have been interpreted as a failure on God’s part.
But Isaiah gives the people a very different perspective. This setback was a temporary consequence of the people’s lack of justice and faithfulness, and the time would come when restoration would happen. The promise of God’s salvation included images of peace and security, of divine order for their society, and of divine care for the people. And all of this would be accomplished through God’s king, the true shepherd of God’s people who would reign with justice and grace and lead the people
back to worship of God.
As we celebrate the Reign of Christ this week, we may also find ourselves tempted at times to doubt the authority of Jesus. When evil and injustice seem to triumph and when our lives are threatened by everything from crime and corruption to economic collapse or joblessness, we may begin to wonder whether the Reign of Christ really can make a difference in our world. Yet, like the prophet who proclaimed hope to a people who were facing despair, so the Scriptures speak to us today of God’s hope and God’s promise in the face of our struggles.
Whatever setbacks we may face are ultimately temporary, and God’s life, grace and peace will be revealed in the world in the end. The challenge is for us to hold on to
this hope and allow it to guide our attitudes and actions each day. How can you nurture hope in Christ’s Reign in your heart today?
Discipline: Even in the toughest times there are always things to be thankful for – companions who walk with us, God’s presence that sustains us, our ability to imagine a better future. As you seek to nurture hope and optimism in your heart, allow the practice of thanksgiving to inspire and strengthen you today.
Pray: In the midst of a turbulent world, I thank you, O God, for the hope you inspire in my heart.