Isaiah was the son of Amoz and a member of the royal family in the kingdom of Judah in 8th century B.C. He first appeared as a divinely inspired prophet in the year of King Uzziah’s affliction with leprosy and ministered to the people through his prophesy for about 90 years. Isaiah brought the message of the holiness of God at a time when idolatry seemed to be taking hold. He preached justice and charity when the morals of the people had reached a new low.
In Isaiah 56:1-2 we hear: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.’”
The Rev. Dr. Kristine Blaess explained that we must continue to heed the warning of Isaiah. We are mostly in agreement that we should be just and avoid doing evil, but we often fail in keeping the Sabbath. She asked us, “Why is rest so important?”
We must guard against making an idol out of busyness. Our striving needs to be set aside, for the Lord gives us ample time to do His work, but He also gives us ample time for rest. When we are capable and comfortable in resting in the Lord, we lose our fear of not having enough.
When we practice justice and righteousness with rest, we become bound to the Lord. In verse 7, the Lord promises that He will bring us to His holy mountain and give us joy in His house of prayer. No one is excluded if we serve and love the Lord by acting justly, renouncing evil, and keeping the Sabbath.
It is only then that we become temples of Christ in the world.
As I await the Lord’s coming, I pray for ample time for justice, righteousness, and rest in our new year.