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Up to Restoration

This is what Isaiah, Amoz's son, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the days to come the mountain of the Lord's house will be the highest of the mountains. It will be lifted above the hills; peoples will stream to it. Many nations will go and say, "Come, let's go up to the Lord's mountain, to the house of Jacob's God so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God's paths." Instruction will come from Zion; the Lord's word from Jerusalem. God will judge between the nations, and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against; they will no longer learn how to make war. Come, house of Jacob, let's walk by the Lord's light. Isaiah 2:1-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let's go to the Lord's house!" Now our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built like a city joined together in unity. That is where the tribes go up-the Lord's tribes! It is the law for Israel to give thanks there to the Lord's name, because the thrones of justice are there-the thrones of the house of David! Pray that Jerusalem has peace: "Let those who love you have rest. Let there be peace on your walls; let there be rest on your fortifications." For the sake of my family and friends, I say, "Peace be with you, Jerusalem." For the sake of the Lord our God's house I will pray for your good. Psalm 122

Have you ever lamented about the good old days? Thinking back to when you thought, boy, life was simpler, easier, better? Sometimes that's true. But the great sage Billy Joel sang in his song, Keeping the Faith, but the good old days aren't always as good as they seemed. And there's some truth to that. I've heard a lot of people over the years lament about, oh, things were so much easier when the dirts were unpaved and you could leave your house unlocked and fill in the blank of all of those things that you or others have maybe lamented about. But the truth of it is, those weren't always the best days either. Look at the medical advances that we have. Treatments for things like diabetes, cancer, improved quality of life. I suspect some of you probably grew up without air conditioning, and I think we're all glad for that now. And so the good old days, yes, there are fond memories of them, but there are things about today that are good and we'd be missing out on if we'd somehow managed to get stuck there.

For the people of Israel, hearing the words of the prophet Isaiah, they were thinking back to the good old days. The good old days of eighth century BC when the nation was independent and thriving and things were good. Well, until the Assyrians and Babylonians came along and conquered them, carted some of them off into captivity, destroyed their city. Boy, those good old days sure were a lot better than things are now. And yet it's in the midst of that that the prophet Isaiah begins to speak a message to them and begins to tell the people, in days to come. Now this is the word of the prophet concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the days to come. Some translations of the Bible will actually say in the last days, in the end, as if it's only going to happen when there's this apocalyptic time that comes and the end of all things. But really the prophet speaking to the people saying, you know what, in days to come, it's just around the corner.

The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established at the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills. All the nations shall stream to it. This city, the City of God is going to have a place of prominence where all of the people are going to come. And he says all the people will come and say, come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of God, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. This may be a literal meaning for some of the people that heard it, but I think about this passage for us today of God in his city, on his throne, we're just God, God's self, all nations turning to him, coming to God to learn, to be taught, to walk in his paths. Because it says, for out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, that God will speak and all will hear that word of God. And what is it that God would teach? What is it that God would speak? What would God impart to the people who come to hear?