Friday

The wolf shall live with the lamb. (v 6)

Isaiah 11:1-10 Friday 21 December 2018

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-21

Background

These are visionary verses indeed. Isaiah’s vision is of the godly king or anointed one who will rule his kingdom with righteousness and justice. The vision goes a step further in verse 6 to a picture of a world very different to ours where even the animals will live together in peace.

King David, who was remembered as a very special king, was the son of Jesse. So a shoot from the stock of Jesse was the hope for a new king, a son of David or Messiah. The hope expressed is for not just a good king, but a godly king; a person of righteousness, justice and the fear of the Lord. I wonder how you read the section about animals? Do you read it as expressing a hope that one day the animals will be vegan and peaceful? Alternatively you might see it as like other wisdom style passages in the Bible where references to nature are about the characteristics they exemplify, so the snake was about cunning and the wolf fierceness. The passage may be more about a new human age when the mighty will live peaceably with the weak and the vulnerable will be immune from danger. The vision is of a world characterised by justice and peace. How we treat animals is surely part of this, but not the central concern of the passage.

Today we read it more about Jesus who was described as David’s son. Jesus promoted righteousness and justice, standing up for the weak and oppressed in his words and actions. In many ways he embodied the vision of these words, and yet, as the carol sadly observes, ‘beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong’. There is a now and not yet quality – so much remains imperfect and in Jesus’ name we must still struggle for righteousness and peace.

To Ponder:

  • What vision do we have for our leaders?
  • Should Christians be more active on animal rights, or have our attitudes to animals been distorted by media images?
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