‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”’ Isaiah 52:7
The one thing that struck me was the phrase was the beautiful feet of the messenger. Here, the foot, the least considered part of our body, is explained as the beautiful one. We usually never consider our feet much. We walk, run, play, but we never think of them as being important. The feet are referred to as “beautiful”.
Isaiah describes beautiful feet from the perspective of the “message” which they deliver. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. It is actually a picture a messenger who ran from the scene of a battle to bring news of the outcome to a waiting king and people.
We see that the feet are not covered with costly shoes or sandals, but just feet upon the mountains. The feet of the messenger who carries the message of the salvation are wounded and yet beautiful.
Naturally the news they desired was good news of some kind. In the context of the prophet Isaiah’s words it is good news of deliverance from the captivity of God’s people in Babylon and restoration to the Promised Land. It is news of God acting with His salvation in the lives of people!
Isaiah, though, calls us to listen in this season to the messengers who announce peace, good news and salvation. For most people Christmas is a time of calendars, chocolates, candles, countdown. But in its real sense Christmas is about preparation, expectation, waiting, longing, desire, rhythm, hope. I love this time of year to pause and reflect on the coming of Jesus in so many ways.
In the midst of holiday chaos, in the stresses and challenges of our lives, His words still rise in song, proclaiming hope to all the nations. For these messengers, it is plain to see – God is coming. Comfort is on the way. Redemption will be found.
The feet are “beautiful” because of the message which the messenger brings to the people. It talks about publishing or proclaiming peace good news of happiness and salvation. You can immediately see why such feet are “beautiful.” Much of the news published or proclaimed in our day is not so good. In fact, it is downright ugly, filled with stories of turmoil, war and unrest between individuals, groups and nations. Not only is much of it unhappy news but it can leave people broken and hurt,
A closer look reveals that the message brought by the messenger has four proclamations. They are peace, good news, salvation and the reign of God.
The peace announced by the messenger refers to the absence of enmity and conflict to a time of unity and togetherness among the people and with the other nations.
The good news announced was the freedom for the people of Israelites from their captivity. This good news also emphasises that it is not only freedom but also to come back to the own covenantal life with God.
The salvation is that God will deliver his people from the captivity and empower them to be the chosen people of God again.
Then, God will reign over his people and in that reign, joy, peace, salvation becomes a reality. The feet of the messenger are beautiful because of the news that the messenger brought across the mountains. It’s not hopeless because your God reigns and He is in control!
Through faith in Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem, your feet become “beautiful!”
Where have your feet taken you this Christmas? Your “beautiful feet” may engage and interact with family members with the opportunity to bring an atmosphere of good news to the table. They are “beautiful” as you exchange gifts with others bringing the good news of God’s free gift of forgiveness and love through faith in Christ Jesus.
The world’s idea of this “peace on earth good will toward men” can be misguided, thinking that it is something we can make happen by our choices, behaviours and character, and it proclaims that we instead of God reign by our own efforts on so many different levels. In order for our choices, behaviours and character to impact others they must flow from the peace which comes as a result of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.