ODJ: Together before God

May 15, 2018 

READ: Isaiah 66:18-24 

All humanity will come to worship me (v.23).

Last summer, my city was embroiled, yet again, in a confrontation with the ongoing realities of racism in our nation. To protest the removal of a local statue honouring a general who fought to preserve slavery, some white-supremacist groups descended on our town. The pain caused by the hate-filled demonstration opened wounds that were hidden below the surface. In America, we like to pretend that these issues are ancient history, but until we deal head on with these sins, we’ll never be healed of the evil.

The prophet Isaiah described a day when all divisions and sin will be dismantled and God’s people from all nations would be healed forever—to worship God together (66:23; see Revelation 7:9). But this healing won’t happen because humanity has somehow evolved to the point that we’re too enlightened for such depravity.

Rather, we will be healed because God has moved in power to redeem us and transform us (Isaiah 66:18). He has promised to heal the whole world, to make everything new (Revelation 21:4). And this newness includes healing the discord we as His image-bearers have sinfully enacted with one another. “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain,” He promised, “so will you always be my people” (Isaiah 66:22). Believers from every part of the world will be joined as one, as God’s people.

The final signal that our selfishness and our narrowness and our estrangement with one another has been crushed will be when we bend our hearts and lives under God’s overwhelming presence and authority. And there, together before Him, “all humanity” will worship (v.23). We will worship as one beloved people, and racism will finally be dead. I long for that day, don’t you? Let’s move towards it now.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Psalm 51:1-19

Read Colossians 3:11-13 and reflect on how Jesus overcomes hierarchical divisions or barriers between people. 
Why do you think society is prone to create hierarchies that discriminate against others? How does worship reorder our view of God and of one another?