Read: Isaiah 2:1-4
Sin is real. Peace is elusive, and often fragile. Love does not convince every heart. The spiritual truth of good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is a truth that must be learned generation to generation. And the coming of the Kingdom of God? That remains a mystery. It is here and now, as Christ holds sway in people’s hearts, and it is not yet established on Earth, as many resist His ways and refute His lessons. Still, Isaiah caught a glimpse of it, right?
Let me give you some background. In the past couple centuries there have been astounding developments: In politics: the American Revolution of representative government spread to France, and throughout Europe. In science: medical advancements ended many diseases that caused death, debilitating conditions, and terrible suffering. In the workplace the industrial revolution created an impressive avalanche of invention and progress, making workers much more productive, and making work much easier. In the home: conveniences drew a remarkable contrast to the required efforts of previous generations. That trend of progress impacted theology too; the result was that many became convinced that God’s will was that human beings would usher in the Kingdom of God on Earth!
That naive optimism ended in Europe with WW I. Europeans saw how all of the advancements could be and were used to produce greater destruction and killing. Progress hadn’t brought the Kingdom of God. Human nature hadn’t changed. The dark side of human nature persists. Americans learned that lesson in WW II, when we saw how the Nazi genocide killed millions with great efficiency. Human beings will not create the Kingdom of God on Earth. Human nature will not “evolve” or outgrow sin. That sin persists is a proof of humanity’s need for a Savior.
However, that peace can be broken does not mean we shouldn’t strive for peace, greater peace. Jewish wisdom says: “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it”. We can’t stop every war, heal every sickness, or feed everyone, but we can do, what we can do. Such moments are “Kingdom moments,” that witness to the hope and faith we have in Christ. The Kingdom, says Jesus, is “within us”, and “among us”, Isaiah saw the vision.
Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom