There is haunting letter discovered by archaeologists in the ruins of Lachish. It was written on a pottery shard by the commander of a outpost during the time of Babylonian invasion of Judah. In the letter, the commander reports,
we are watching for the signal-stations of Lachish, according to all the signals you are giving, because we cannot see the signals of Azekah. (Lachish Letter IV)
Azekah is gone! You can almost feel the dread of those final days in the lines of the letter. And we are next! The enemy is at the gate and, at any moment, he will be in our house, taking everything from us.
I think Isaiah had a situation similar to that of Azekah in mind when he said, “How beautiful on the hill are the feet of him who brings good news! Who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!” Isaiah had prophesied the Assyrian invasion, and lived to see it happen, but his message was ultimately one of peace.
“All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field…” says the prophet, “But the word of our God is eternal”. Go up and proclaim it on a high hill! Shout it out! Do not be afraid! The glory of the LORD shall be revealed and all men will see it together. Behold your God!
And so too, John begins his Gospel with the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld his glory, John says, full of grace and truth.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests.