This is the vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: — Isaiah 2:1 NLT
In the first chapter of Isaiah, our author shares vivid imagery in the current relationship between Israel, Judah and God. Harshness doesn’t hide in the recorded text with sentences like, “Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me!” and “As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting—they are sinful and false (Isaiah 1:13).”
Clearly, God is angry. After God unspools all this frustration, the tone in the text noticeably changes. “Learn to do good,” God decrees. “Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows (verse 17).”
More than forward-thinking is necessary to achieve what God has in mind. Vision work is needed.
This same vision work is needed today. When we give with a cold heart or toss pennies into a plate when we have far greater resources, it is possible these gifts are meaningless to God. Some of our offerings may disgust God.
See the vision work God requires of us. God asks us to look into the harsh realities of the present day to see what isn’t there yet. As God speaks through this prophet saying in the second chapter that swords will turn to plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, God is equally calling us to see through the harshness in some of our headlines to tap into the potential in our hearts and united faith. Our gifts aren’t for ourselves to make worship pretty; our gifts are meant to move our world toward justice, equality, and universal care for all.
If we can daydream, we can also see into the future and then create with God a world that is pleasing to our Creator, and, in turn, to all of us.
PRAYER: God, help us see what we need to see so that we do what we need to do. Amen.