April 26, 2017 • Life for Leaders
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Mount Everest fascinates people throughout the world. Every year, hundreds of climbers spend tons of money and risk their lives in an attempt to scale Everest. Though it isn’t an especially beautiful mountain, and though climbers say it isn’t nearly as challenging to scale as other lofty peaks, and though it’s difficult to reach even before climbing, nevertheless Mt. Everest draws potential climbers by the hundreds. Why? For the simple reason that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on earth. At 29,029 feet it surpasses K2, the second highest mountain, by 778 feet.
When Isaiah prophesied that “the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as the highest of the mountains” (2:2), he wasn’t predicting some massive movement of the earth that would make Mt. Zion, currently at 2,430 feet in elevation, literally higher than Everest. Rather, the temple mount would be, figuratively speaking, the highest of all. It would be more important than any other place, such that people from the whole world would “stream to it” (2:2).
Some Christians look forward to the time when the nations literally come to Mt. Zion. This may or may not happen in the future. But, from a New Testament perspective, we can see something different in Isaiah’s prophecy. In 1 Corinthians we learn that we who belong to Jesus Christ through faith are God’s temple on earth (1 Cor 3:16-17). We are the “place” where God’s presence is experienced. We offer to the world the good news of forgiveness through Jesus. By our words and our deeds, by our distinctive living and loving, the world should be streaming to us, even as we are called to go to the world.
Moreover, in Isaiah, the peoples of the world come to Mt. Zion in order that God might teach them his ways “so that [they] may walk in his paths” (2:3). We who follow Jesus Christ have the opportunity, indeed, the responsibility to live in such a way that people look to us for guidance about the best way to live. This happens when we reflect the truth, justice, love, and grace of God in all that we do, no matter where we are. Yes, some might reject us as fools for choosing to walk on a counter-cultural path. But others will want to walk as we walk, and will be drawn to follow the Lord in their daily lives.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Are you living in such a way that people are drawn to God through you?
Are you part of a church that lives magnetically in the world?
How could you live today so that people might see God’s grace in you?
Gracious God, thank you for this lofty vision of the future. You seek, not only the company of Israel, but also of all nations. The time will come when peoples from across the globe will be drawn to you. Indeed, that time has begun. How wonderful that people from formerly pagan countries are coming to you in such great number!
O Lord, help me to live as part of a “temple” that is the “highest mountain” on earth. Help my church to speak and live so as to draw our neighbors to you. Pour out your Spirit upon us afresh, so we might reflect your love and grace into this dark world. Help us to live as your people, not only when we are gathered together, but also when we are scattered in this world. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Arrogant Pride and Self-Sufficiency (Isaiah 2ff.)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.