READ : Isaiah 51:1-11
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. (v. 3)
Which hymn comes to mind when you read the verse above: Now Thank We All Our God or For the Beauty of the Earth? Music runs deep in our memory. Indeed, my wife says that her first memories are of singing songs in church. Many of those musical memories give us joy and gladness. They remind us of God’s grace.
In this passage the people of Israel yearn for comfort and solace. They are in exile and are homesick for their homeland. This word from God promises that they will return home with singing and with everlasting joy. Their sorrow and sighing shall flee away, like darkness in the presence of a bright light. On this day of homecoming the wild places will become like Eden and the desert will be like the garden of God.
Not many of us are literally homeless, but many people today are homeless in other ways. Some are psychologically homeless—not at home emotionally even if they have a roof over their heads. Others feel ecologically homeless—no longer at home in their homeland because the plants and animals have been destroyed or driven away. And all of us are spiritually homeless because of sin. This text reminds us of the joy-filled homecoming and our song of gratitude when God brings us home at last.
Give us, O Lord, the voice to sing songs of thanksgiving.