January 27

Anticipate Godís New Creation

Isaiah 65:17-25

KEY VERSE: Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

-- Isaiah 65:17

After years of captivity in Babylon, the ancient Jews questioned the wisdom of returning home to Judah. It would be a hard trip. They had grown accustomed to living in a foreign land. Perhaps it would be best not to go back home.

Isaiah was looking ahead and saw the need for a vision for the people of God. He knew they would need to have hope that God had the power to make all things new. So wisely he encouraged the people to anticipate a wonderful future that would be made possible for their great God who could create "new heavens and a new earth."

God gives to his people the marvelous gift of anticipation. We learn not to grow weary in doing good because our God promises that, in due season, we will reap a bountiful harvest. Faithfulness will be rewarded by our God. Though we will surely suffer in this world, we are journeying toward a home where there will be no pain and no tears.

These deteriorating earthly bodies will be replaced with new bodies. Our new spiritual bodies will not have creaking, aching bones. The old and useless will give way to the new and lasting.

Years ago I knew and loved Joe Hamilton. As he struggled with age and illness, one leg was removed, and then the other. I shared his misery and the frustration of being so helpless and unable to walk. As a young pastor I began to realize how precious to believers is Godís promise of a new body, in a new home, where the agony of earth will be replaced with the ecstasy of heaven.

Now, as an older man, my anticipation grows for that precious land that is fairer than day. It cheers me to imagine that perhaps Joe will be at the door, standing on his new legs, saying with a smile, "Welcome home."