The Best Banquet Awaits
Would you? If you were invited to a banquet let’s say at a restaurant on top of mountain in a foreign country would you attend? Before you answer consider the food. The food at this banquet will be unlike anything you have ever tasted. Only the finest of wine and best of meat will be served. This will be the best food you will ever have. Consider the view. The view would be like nothing you have ever seen before or will see again. In the climate we are in, would that be enough for you to attend this banquet realizing you would have to travel and rub shoulders with complete strangers?
Before you dismiss this question as being ridiculous, listen again to what the prophet Isaiah said to God’s people, “On this mountain the Lord almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples a banquet of aged wine the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
When Isaiah spoke these words to God’s people, I wouldn’t doubt they looked upon them as unrealistic and ridiculous because at the time, Israel’s peace and prosperity had given way to political uncertainty and economic depression. Civil war had even broken out between those who at one time called themselves brothers. As with us, the future did not look bright for Israel and Judah. In fact, Isaiah said that the day would come when Israel and Judah would be no more. They would be driven out of their precious land and their beloved city, Jerusalem, would be destroyed. How then was it even possible they would be able to enjoy this banquet on this mountain of Jerusalem?
With all we have gone through. We everything that we still have to go through with the virus, election and riots, it just doesn’t seem possible a banquet like this awaits. Banquets are for celebrating. What do we have to celebrate when banquet and after banquet is being canceled?
Simply this. Our best days are not behind us. The best banquet is awaiting our attendance. I don’t need to tell you Isaiah is talking about is heaven. While heaven is not found on a mountain and who knows if we will actually eat in heaven, the point is clear. The best is yet to come. The question that remains is what affect everything we are going through right now will have on our attendance at the banquet? We heard Jesus speak a parable about the kingdom of heaven being like a wedding banquet. But what did those invited do? 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.
Distractions. We had plenty of those before all this. Who has time to pay attention to a banquet when we are all consumed with covid, riots and politics? How can anyone be talking about a banquet now, when we are all just struggling to survive? Besides even if there is a banquet, it cannot be as good as advertised. I have had some pretty good food before with amazing views. Who is to say this banquet will not live up to our expectations? We have more important things to tend to right now.
But what could be more important than this banquet when we hear, “On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.” Isn’t that what we are all looking for; something that will swallow up death forever? Forget about swallowing up death forever. We would be satisfied if we could just find something to swallow up covid for a few months. But could you ever imagine a future where death was a thing of the past? Dying is our greatest fear. We spend our entire life either to prevent our death or try to prolong our life. As many innovations as man continues to come up with to prolong life or prevent death, the number of our years are still 70 or 80. Death is impossible for us to conquer. We will still wake up tomorrow and work to try and prevent our death. We still wonder when the day will come when we need to take a sheet and cover the body of our loved one. It is no secret why we cannot swallow up death. We cannot cure the cause of death. The best we can do is mask or alleviate some of the symptoms of death. We have made strides in curing cancer, repairing organs and protecting against viruses and other diseases. This is the best we can do just try and treat the symptoms so we can live to 70 or 80. We can say this person died from cancer or covid, a heart attack, car accident or just old age. We talk about these things as the cause of death because while we may not be able to swallow it whole, we can take a bite out of them. This also helps us avoid addressing the ultimate source and cause of death which we have no control over: sin. Not only cannot we not swallow up sin, we cannot even take out the smallest bite to limit it’s effect.
What we cannot do, our God has. Who are we told has swallowed up death? “He will swallow up death forever.” He not you. Not me. He, our God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reason that on this mountain death is swallowed up forever. Because in order for death to be swallowed up forever, there needs to be something missing on this mountain: the cause of death which is sin. He, the Lord Jesus Christ removed sin, the cause of death on the cross. When there is no sin, there is no death. If there is no death then you and I will enjoy a most amazing view on the mountain. We will be able to stand in the presence of our God and view all of his glory and majesty without fear of any death.
On that day we find ourselves on this mountain viewing our God in all of his glory we will say, Surly this is our God we trusted in him and he saved us. This is the Lord we trusted in him let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. I get it. It is really hard to trust and rejoice and be glad in our God when all that is around us day after day is fear of death. Day after day death seems to be winning. Who even wants to think about attending a banquet right now when it seems so dangerous and impossible to do so. Now is not the time to be attending a banquet. Again, maybe the banquet is not all that it is cracked up to be. This was not lost on the apostle Paul. Paul reminds God’s people when the saying, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” will come true in the great resurrection chapter of the Bible: I Corinthians 15. It is the day we find ourselves on this mountain imperishable and immortal. On this day death’s victory and sting will be nowhere to be found because he has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely this is our God, we trusted in him and he saved us. Rejoice and be glad even now knowing the best banquet awaits.
At the beginning, I asked if you would be willing to attend a banquet right now. That was really an unfair question because there is not one of us who would be willing. None of us would be willing to attend this banquet. Instead God was the one who not only extended to us the invitation but also made us accept the invitation. This is all the more reason to rejoice and be glad in his salvation and say he saved us.