Isaiah 64:12-65:25 consists of three parts. The first asks of God, “Will you keep silent?” and God answers, “I will not keep silent,” and the problem at the center is that Israel is a rebellious, idolatrous, and polluted people. The second part contrasts the servants of God with the people called “you”: His servants would have plenty of food and drink, you would want for it; His servants would have joy, you would have shame and pain. And the third part builds on these to say that the past will be forgotten and gone and that God would create a new Jerusalem where there will be joy. Of this new Jerusalem, we might say, “You didn’t build that.” But when describing this new Jerusalem it is clear that if you build and plant in it then you will benefit from your labors. Until that new Jerusalem is fully realized we should already live as citizens of it — forgiving one another, building and planting, rejoicing at opportunities to show grace.
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