The world is in turmoil. Last week it looked like the U.S. was on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea. This week the news is buzzing with reports of white supremacists marching and violence that flows from that. If you come across this post a few weeks from now, there will probably be some new disaster in the news that has people worried. There is a lot of genuine evil in the world, and it can get overwhelming.
Two days in a row, my devotions have pointed me to verses that seem particularly relevant to all the nonsense that's happening in the world.* Yesterday was Isaiah 9:6-7 "To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on the throne of David and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”
Now that you, my readers, all have Handel’s Messiah going through your heads, let me point out the themes that he overlooked. We’re talking about a king who establishes a just, righteous government that is never overthrown and establishes peace. The Hebrew concept of peace is much broader than just a cessation of fighting. It refers to wellbeing, flourishing, a state where all is, generally speaking, well.
Today I read Daniel 7:13-14: “The Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven. In the presence of the Ancient of Days, He will be given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and men of every language will worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
This verse isn’t about events that will happen in the future. It’s about Jesus coming into the presence of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) after His ascension to receive authority. Already we see people from all peoples, nations and languages worshipping Him.
Jesus already reigns over our broken world. On a cosmic level, all is well. That doesn’t mean we just sit around and wait for him to act. It means that as we do the work of advancing justice and righteousness, we can be confident that in the end good will triumph.
*The verses were collected by Ken Boa in his book A Journal of Sacred Readings, which I highly recommend.