Advent explained, advent expressed – Monday, 1st week in Advent – Isaiah 2:1-5 (crf Micah 4:1-5)

The text of today occurs twice in the Bible-with minor variations; here in Isaiah and again in Micah 4:1-3. Interpreters have had as little success solving the “which came first” question as people have had with the proverbial chicken and egg. Micah and Isaiah are contemporaries, both are prophets of the eighth century B.C. and both were concerned primarily with issues of justice and integrity before God in a time of social inequality and hypocritical worship.

We know little about Isaiah other than what is revealed in this book. Most scholars believe that this Isaiah wrote chapters 1-39 of this book and that another person or persons added chapters 40-66. We know nothing about his father Amoz, who should not be confused with Amos, the prophet. Our text today is from the historical Isaiah or what is called ‘first Isaiah’, son of Amoz, who lived during the reigns of King Uzziah to King Hezekiah in Judah. His partner in life was a prophetess (Isaiah 8:3) and together they had several children.

The text of today opens with the words, “In days to come or in latter days.” This phrase, points to the future, but offers no clue as to how far in the future this might be, signalling that, however attractive the promise of no more war sounds, it is not one that we can usher in in our own time or in our own way. When and how it comes is God’s business; though this does not at all mean that the word has no message for present hearers. What is clear is that it will be, by the grace of Yahweh, a glorious future.

When you look at the text of today, the word of promise in Isaiah 2:1-5 is embedded within prophetic oracles of judgment (see Isaiah 1:21-31; 2:5-22). In the prior chapter, the “holy” city of Jerusalem is accused of murder, rebellion, injustice, and corruption (Isaiah 1:21-23). And the texts immediately following Isaiah 2:1-5, claim that God’s people have forsaken God’s ways (Isaiah 2:6-9). So, while chapter 1 speaks of Judah’s sin and the judgment that its people could expect, it also offers a brief glimpses of hope; of Yahweh’s enduring love.

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