I remember I was in 5th grade when I learned the word “utopia.” It was social studies, and we were examining ancient civilizations. I remember being mesmerized by the word, wondering what “utopia” would mean for me. Wikipedia defines it as “an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.” When I read today’s passage, “utopia” was the word that came to me.
God promises to create a new heaven and new earth. From the sounds of it, it will be glorious – so wonderful that people won’t miss the old! As Isaiah’s first audience was finally free from captivity, these words must have held such hope for the future. They were returning to their home, Jerusalem. In reality, they would find it in shambles. Quite the fixer-upper! Would these words have encouraged or led to disappointment?
Looking beyond that moment, we know that Jerusalem was rebuilt and the temple was splendid. It was going to take some time before the true fulfillment of these words would come true. God said, “I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy.” That sound utopic to me. But it gets better. “And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.” The verses that follow are so comforting. After living in captivity, these promises must have sounded too good to be true.
I loved this verse, “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” What I think is so marvelous is that our communication with God is more than just one way. We can expect to hear from God in response to our pleas. He will rejoice with us in our victories. He will meet us where we are and draw us to him. What he won’t do is chase us or pester us. He wants us to find him. In the meantime, he likes to answer our prayers!
“The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Some of what we read here has not happened yet. Case in point, what’s up with the lion eating hay like a cow? And then, it’s like God has put his stamp of approval on this prophecy. All of it! “In those days” may be still to come. Alternatively, the wolf, lamb, and lion are symbolic of enemies coming together and trying and enjoying new things. Bottom line, no one will be destroyed. You might ask, where is God’s “holy mountain?” Sounds like a great place, like utopia!
What would your vision of “utopia” look like? Have you thought about that recently? Sometimes we get caught up in our routines or let our fears of the future keep us stuck. It doesn’t hurt to dream. It does our souls and minds good to imagine what God may have in store for us. How can we expect to move forward and live the life of our dreams if we don’t know what that looks like.
Take some time today to reflect on the “utopia” God has for your ultimate destiny. Ask God to show you what is possible.
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for all the blessings you have given me. You have laid out before me such a marvelous path. Help me to stay true to you. I want to grow closer to you. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. Continue to guide me and use me to reach the hearts of others who need you in their life, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.