Twenty-six Sunday after Pentecost (Nov 13th)

Pastor's Summary of Isaiah 65:17-25

"O that you would tear open the heavens and come down" (64:1): thus the people of Israel pray that God will reveal himself to them as in days of old. God answers, speaking through the prophet, "I was ready to be sought out" (65:1) but no one has sought my help.  Instead, Israel was disobedient and self-centered; they will be punished, but God will preserve a faithful line, chosen by him. Fortunes will be reversed:"my servants shall eat" (v. 13) and be joyful but the majority will go hungry and be shamed. God will give "a different name" "to his servants" (v. 15), the faithful. God will completely transform the cosmos ("new heavens and a new earth", v. 17); he will forget waywardness. The inhabitants of the new Jerusalem will be joyful (v. 18); sorrow will cease (v. 19). Long life was considered a blessing; now lifetimes will be even longer (v. 20). Life will be stable and harvests plentiful; God will bless his people (vv. 21-23). In v. 22, the "tree" is probably the tree of life in the Garden of Eden; there will be a return to the people to seek him (v. 24). All will be at peace in "my holy mountain" (v. 25), the new Jerusalem. Conflict between animal species will cease, and humans will live in harmony.