New Heavens and Earth

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 66:22

Isaiah’s vision has often stretched beyond that of the other Hebrew prophets. He has repeatedly seen, for example, all nations coming to worship the God of Israel, and even participating in God’s salvation. In the closing chapters of this prophetic book, we hear language that envisions, not just a global turning to God, but a recreation of all things. In Isaiah 65:17, for example, the Lord said, “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” Now that’s a big vision . . . a new heaven and a new earth.

Isaiah 66:22 reinforces this vision of a new creation with an added promise. Not only will God remake heaven and earth, and not only will his new creation last forever, but also God’s people will always belong to him. Their name, which identifies them as God’s special people, “will never disappear.”

As we look forward to a new year, we are reminded of the greater newness yet to come in the new creation. At midnight tonight our calendars will change, but the world will be otherwise the same. Someday, however, God will renew all things. In that day, sorrow will be swallowed up by rejoicing (Rev. 21:3-4). In the meanwhile, even in the midst of life’s difficulties and pains, we rejoice in the fact that we are God’s people. We belong to him, and nothing in all creation can take his love away from us (Rom. 8:18-39). I can’t think of a better foundation for a new year: the hope of God’s new creation and the reassurance that we belong to him forever.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What are your expectations for the new year? How does the fact that you belong to God forever make a difference in your life today? How might it make an even greater difference in 2009?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, on the eve of a new year, I am reminded that newness doesn’t really come with a calendar change. It comes through you. Only the one who created all things has the power to recreate them. And this you will do one day. What a day that will be!

In the meanwhile, I live in the hope of your new creation. Thank you, dear Lord, that through your Spirit I can experience a bit of the future even today. This encourages me to keep on hoping and to live hopefully each day.

But what reassures me most today is the knowledge that I belong to you forever. What a wondrous reality! It gives me the solid foundation to approach the new year with confidence. I am yours: your servant, your disciple, your beloved child. May I live out this truth each and every day, growing in you, serving you, glorifying and enjoying you forever. Amen.