Yes, Even You
From Isaiah 60
Isaiah 60 opens with some big, beautiful promises: “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come” (v. 5 NIV).
In verse 6, we make the connection to Jesus: “They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord” (cf. Matthew 2:11 ESV). Realizing this, our shoulders may slump a little: Oh, right—by you Isaiah means Him, he means Jesus. I guess I should have known. I mean, my life isn’t brimming with radiance and joy and all that. They’re nice promises, but they aren’t for me.
This past week, a friend of mine went into the hospital, again. When I got the text, my heart sank. Why, Lord? Why can’t some people catch a break? It’s painful to watch the ones you love—especially people who so faithfully, so purely, so persistently love the Lord—continue to battle, continue to hurt, continue to face complication after complication and obstacle after obstacle. What of the promises, Lord? Have You forgotten? If they’re not true for her or him or that family or this friend, are they true at all?
We’re tempted to think: they’re nice promises, but they aren’t for us.
Then we read things like Psalm 37:4—“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV)—and think, That would be nice, instead of believing it’s true. We doubt the surety of “call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15). We wonder whether the Lord truly is “forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to [Him]” (Psalm 86:5).
In my Bible, most of Isaiah 60 fits on two pages. After reading the first, which tells of promises concerning Jesus, the coming Messiah, the second page ends with these words, promising good things for God’s people: “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever” (vv. 20-21).
And just in case I missed the tiny word “all” when I read verse 21, I turn the page and find this at the top. The final words of Isaiah 60 beckon my attention like a lighthouse, like a lone star:
The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. (v. 22a)
If ever I feel like “the least” or “the smallest,” well guess what, the promise is for me too.
And praise it—the promises of God are more than nice. They're true. They’re dependable. They’re stake-your-soul-on-them worth it. Maybe we don't see it yet, but the radiance and joy are coming. The Lord said, "I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly" (Isaiah 60:22b). He sealed our hope with a promise that one day our suffering, like His Son's, will be traded for glory (Romans 8:18).
Turn the page, dear one. The promise is for all of God's children—yes, even you.
Next week’s reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 1–6.