Julie E. Hinz
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.(Isaiah 11: 6-9)
Read the above text as someone might a novel; with no vested interest in it other than entertainment. I have never known Isaiah to dwell in fantasy or fairy tale as he seems to here. And yet, this is not that. This is the reality of God’s creation turned back to what God intended it to be.
What we understand about this life is its predictability – bears and lions are dangerous, children should not play near poisonous snakes, etc. For now, that is the created order and has been since the fall into sin.
But this vision of a world in which wolves and lambs, calves and lions all lie down together clearly moves beyond the possibilities of today. This is truly more like a fairy tale or a magical kingdom. But, by bringing together in peace the child and the snake, the text reminds us of that moment in Eden (Genesis 3:14-15) where God put enmity between Satan and the woman. God set a permanent divide between Satan and God’s beloved children.
That divide is Jesus, the babe we anticipate this season. That little child who leads not with armies or weapons, nor with an iron fist. But using the brute strength of God’s love for his creation, Jesus conquers the hold Satan has claimed on our lives and returns us to the wholeness God first intended. Where there will be no more sorrow, only joy. Where the lion and the lamb lie down together without fear.
Father, you show us glimpses of your kingdom here on earth. Help us to recognize them, build on them, make them part of our lives so that we might create for others those same glimpses of peace and joy that come through you. Amen.