Isaiah chapters 34 and 35 seem to be written to a people who were already in exile. But the section of Isaiah they are in is pre-exile. That is why scholars conclude they are out of place. But aren’t all cries for peace out of place, appear pollyanish, seemingly unneeded, and many times unwanted?
Israel was not ready for God’s peace because they were still trying to control the quiet and security by selling themselves to the pharaoh in Egypt. Do we ever desire God’s peace until we run out of options of our own doing?
Israel was wanting to have peace by putting its head in the sand. But God’s peace is always first 1) justice for the perpetrator and 2) mercy for the victim. Any peace that does not begin with justice and mercy is merely a bandaid.
A. Compartmentalization (let’s ignore it and hope it goes away) is not God’s peace.
B. Tolerance (you do you and I’ll do me and we will agree to disagree) is not God’s peace.
C. Doormat syndrome (I’m fine, really…let’s just forget it and move on ) is not God’s peace.
The prophet wants to make sure the people knew what to do in Advent. Buy gifts, decorate the house and listen to Mixmas? Not quite. Strengthen the feeble hands and knees. Say to those in fear “Be strong, do not fear” Remind the doubters. Comfort the grieving. Sing the songs. Pray the prayers. Receive the sacraments.
Recite the poems of peace whether the people, or even us, are ready or not…for God is ready and it is God who will come to save you!
That is the hope of the world and the message of Advent.
God is ready. God is able. God will do it.