“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Many of us have learned that we are to pray for the knowledge of the glory of God. The good news from this famous last verse is that this knowledge of God’s glory will fill the earth like waters cover the sea. The word picture is wonderful for what is the sea but water? God’s glory one day will be so evident that our world will genuinely be brimming to full with such knowledge. Thus when we pray for it, we can take with joy the promise it will happen.
But what we miss is that this promise is intended to be a comfort to the oppressed who endure evil and a challenge to the folly of injustice. All of man’s efforts that undermine knowledge of the glory of God reflected in treating God’s image bearers in unjust ways will one day be completely undermined. The knowledge of God’s glory will prove the folly of those who thought they could treat others with disregard.
Thus to pray for God’s glory to fill the earth like waters fill seas, which I think is a very good prayer, is to pray that we would increasingly see the folly of using others for our benefit. Injustice is the rejection of the image of God in people and a rejection of the belief that the cross affirms God’s love for humanity in all of the ways we refuse to treat people with equity.
Thus when we pray, we pray that as God increases knowledge of Himself we will begin to reflect God’s justice by becoming people that care deeply about justice in our world. Knowledge of God and justice must go together.