We have a strong city. He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.

Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.

Isaiah 26: 1, 2

 

The first thing that comes to my mind is that this must be a comment that is rooted in history and is about a time long in the past. For in my world, there is no such place and none of the nations that I can identify could be described as righteous. This is a world that is filled with the exact opposite. The cities and their nations are places where strong-willed individualism reigns. They are environments in which greed, oppression, lust, and murder are lifted up as exemplars of virtue, and Godliness is mocked as foolishness or as superstition and weakness.

 

Yet, despite the fact that Isaiah was describing events in the history of Judah, I think that God was speaking to us about our world through the prophet. So, even in our sinful and defiant world, there must be a strong city and a righteous nation. God sees the place where His faithful can dwell in the peace and the protection of His walls of strength. Not only does He see it, but the Lord wants to lead us through its gates and into its joyous bounty.

 

In Christ we have eternal protection and current provision. Through the Holy Spirit we possess truth, its wisdom, and the grace of God. These are the essential components of citizenship in God’s temporal and heavenly kingdom, the everlasting dwelling place of God’s own people. Still, as individuals we do not stand as a city and gather into a nation. I believe that our Lord desires for those of us who know Him to commit to one another in a covenant of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to gather into a fellowship that is grounded and centered upon Christ, Himself alone. In order to do this we would need to subordinate all other allegiances and loyalties to faith in the one, true King. Yet, gathering as Christ’s body, we enter into His strength, and our feet are standing on the Lord’s holy mountain.