Isaiah 55 and the Restoration of All Things 2/4

In Isaiah 55 God proclaims that one day he will restore and fix the world that we have wrecked with our sin. Isaiah 55 is restoration of God’s creation.

Read verses 12-13.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Now, if you’re a Bible nerd you should have bells and whistles going off as you hear those words. In the beginning, God created a garden. He placed man and woman in the garden and told them to rule over the garden. They had complete freedom there. And God issued one command—they could eat of any tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

As you all know Adam and Eve, our first parents, turned their heart from loving and trusting God. They broke God’s command and ate from the tree. Do you remember what God said because Adam and Eve rebelled?

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

It’s important that you understand what is happening here:

  • Sin didn’t just cause division and war between humans, though it did.
  • And sin didn’t just cause division and war between humans and God, though it did.

Genesis 3 tells us that because of sin- God himself cursed the earth. All of creation is living and dying under the curse of God. Sin has devastating consequences and we live with them every day in a creation that is fallen. Though the language here is a picture of plants and gardening the metaphor extends to all of our endeavors. All of creation is cursed and waits for God to remove the curse. Humans have been trying since the beginning to escape the effects of the curse.

If you read any of the humanists at the turn of the 20th century — men like John Dewey — they all believed that modernism was moving humanity into a new age; a time without need of religion, in which human experiment and pragmatism would solve the world’s problems. In fact, they drafted a manifesto which ends with these words:  “Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement. He must set intelligence and will to the task.” The only problem is that the 20th century was the bloodiest century in human history. Two world wars alone resulted in the deaths of 60 million people. Now, at the end of another century, no closer to human peace and flourishing we’re all scratching our heads.

How many news articles did you read this week promising either the solution to all our problems, or the ending of our society based on the mid-term election results?

Do you see what Isaiah is saying? We should attempt to fix what is wrong in this world—but we have to do that with the knowledge that there is no human government, no manifesto, no vote that can remove the curse of God. Humans aren’t the rescuers. We are the ones under the curse. God is the rescuer and restorer. That’s why Isaiah bravely reminds us of the world as it will one day will be. It’s a world in which evil and death are reversed. It’s a creation, so relieved from the weight of sin that even the mountains sing, the trees clap their hands for joy.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

We know that God’s plan isn’t just to save us from division and war between our fellow humans, though he will. We know that God’s good plan isn’t just to save us from the division and war between us and God—which is what God did in Christ at the cross. We see that God’s plan of redemption will ultimately culminate in the refashioning and reforming of his creation.

So the question then becomes—how do we get it? If heaven will be the restoration of all things, how does it come to us? That’s what part 3 in this series is about.

This post is a part 2 of a series from my sermon on Isaiah 55.

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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