By Brooke Holt
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion shall die down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
Like most parents, I have made many trips to the zoo in my child-rearing days. All my children loved animals, but my daughter had a very special love and care for the animal kingdom. She could never bear to see any animal injured, neglected, or killed. If anyone could appreciate the language from Isaiah today, she could!
Isaiah eleven is a chapter of Scripture that beautifully describes the Messiah’s ultimate triumph in establishing the new heavens and the new earth. It is a picture of paradise, and one that you simply will not see in our zoos today. Though zoo animals are well-cared for and well-fed, it still would not be safe for either a leopard and a young goat or a calf and a lion to share a habitat. Animal instincts would kick in placing those small, weaker animals at great risk! However, in this vision of Isaiah all animals will be safe together and at peace with one another. And not just the animals but also the humans among the animals – just imagine a small child being safe to lead them.
Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord is painting a picture of his creation again in perfect peace and harmony. If these animals can get along together then it seems is fair to expect that God’s redeemed people will experience such harmony and peace, even those who find themselves at odds here in this world.
Can you even imagine such peace, harmony, and unity? Do you eagerly await that day? The Messiah has triumphed over sin, Satan, and death. While we have been given the partial fulfillment of this prophecy through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Advent calls us to look to the complete fulfillment – the second coming of Jesus, the new heavens and the new earth, and the time when all will be made right, and the world will be at peace.
For today, you are called to practice life as it will be. Who can you seek to be reconciled with? Where can you be an instrument of peace? What would it look like for you to surrender your perceived rights or desires to serve another? God’s redeemed and healed people can be instruments of this reconciliation and peace today.
Do you yearn for this fulfillment? How can you begin this process of reconciliation and unity today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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