December 9th by The Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz
In the last days,
the mountain of Yhwh’s Temple
will be established as the most important mountain
and raised above all other hills –
all nations will stream toward it.
Many people will come and say:
“Come, let us climb Yhwh’s mountain
to the Temple of the God of Jacob,
that we may be instructed in God’s ways
and walk in God’s paths.”
Instruction will be given from Zion
and the word of Yhwh from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2.2-3a (The Inclusive Bible)
The Hebrew Scriptures, and Isaiah in particular, are certain that if God is going to do anything important and exciting in the world, the action will take place, or at least begin, in Jerusalem. The city on God’s mountain, Zion, Jerusalem – the names are interchangeable – is the location where God’s presence dwells on earth. More specifically, the Temple in Jerusalem is God’s home; with the most sacred place in the Temple – The Holy of Holies – being where God is enthroned and uses the Ark of the Covenant, where the tablets containing the 10 Commandments reside, as a footstool (see Isaiah 6.1-8 for more details).
Isaiah proclaims that God’s people will flock to Jerusalem to be “instructed in God’s ways and walk in God’s paths.” Jerusalem will be the place where divine Words of Instruction will be given.
The child of Bethlehem, whom we await in these Advent days, was born just a few miles from Jerusalem. Many of his most momentous life events took place within Jerusalem proper, and more specifically within the confines of the Temple. As his disciples, we understand Jesus to be the one who teaches us about God’s ways and shows us how to walk in God’s paths. As our annual celebration of his birth draws near once again, let us be watching and listening and learning – that we may receive afresh and then generously share God’s overwhelming gift of love!
Teach us, O God, that in Jesus we may walk faithfully. Amen!