In the first chapter the prophet Isaiah attacked Temple worship in Jerusalem as a burden and abomination to God (see last post). Yet a chapter later Isaiah made a completely different declaration about temple worship.
In days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountain and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his way. (Isaiah 2:2-3)
Isaiah is not saying that Mount Zion (where the temple sat) would suddenly become a volcano and literally become a new Mt. Everest for mountain climbers. Rather, using metaphor, Isaiah declared that the Temple would become a magnate drawing all people into relationship with God and the esteem given to Mount Zion in Jerusalem would be sky-high. The temple would be a great blessing to all nations, just as Abraham had been promised in Genesis 12.
The shift from attack to blessing and promise may seem abrupt to our ears, but Isaiah believed the people’s hearts would be changed. No longer would they go through the empty motions of sacrifice and prayer, but rather their worship would be the avenue by which they renewed their covenant relationship with God. Worship would become real and heart-felt. Prayer would be honest and transforming.
Perhaps too often we approach worship as a kind of therapy session to fix our life problems. We want to consult God like Google: to type in our worries and have him list out possible solutions. Thomas Kelly proposed a deeper, more intensive view of worship similar to Isaiah.
It begins first of all in a mass revision of our total reaction to the world. Worshipping in the light we become new creatures, making wholly new and astonishing responses to the entire outer setting of life. These responses are not reasoned out. They are, in large measure, spontaneous reactions of felt incompatibility between the world’s judgment of value and the Supreme Value we adore deep in the Center. (A Testament of Devotion, p. 47)
Lord Jesus, you are the true temple which draws all people to yourself.