"Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever."
As someone noted in our Tuesday morning reading group, the beginning of Isaiah isn't exactly peaches and cream. The first part of Isaiah is largely judgement oracles, but every once and a while you get a different image, a glimpse of the reality God is trying to create through the tribulation that he is bringing about. Isaiah 32:16-17 is one of those images. I love it.
In most churches I'm aware of, discussions about righteousness largely revolve around being good so we can go to heaven. Not so in Isaiah. Righteousness matters now, in this life. Righteousness has a direct impact on what life is meant to be, pre-death life, not just post-death. True righteousness, true obedience to God makes a way for peace. Righteousness has results, quietness and trust!
As congregations continue to decline, it is a regular event to hear congregations blame other people. It is the government's fault, the culture's fault, the Democrat's or Republican's fault, the economy's fault...the list goes on and on. However, if there is no peace, quiet, or trust in our congregations, maybe we need to look in a mirror. Are we as righteous as we claim? If we bear no fruit, could it be that our tree has caught a disease? As the old saying goes, "When you point a finger, three point back at you."
Righteousness matters, here and now, and God would have it be part of the reality we experience. Let us do our best to cultivate the type of soil God can sow peace, quiet, and trust into.
Stopping point: Isaiah 35