The Wolf and the Lamb (16-12-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 96:1-2
Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:6-9
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra's den, the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
As we continue to reflect on the coming of Christ, both his incarnation and his second coming, Isaiah’s prophesy continues with a beautiful image of the Kingdom of God that could not possibly be seen today.
In this vision Isaiah pairs a predator with its prey and sees them living together in peace, with their young lying down together and a child playing safely amongst snakes. He also sees the carnivorous lion eating straw with the herbivorous ox and the predators being led by a child.
Theologians interpret these verses in different ways, I wonder how you interpret this beautiful vision of Isaiah’s.
Some theologians see this as allegorical, speaking about the power of the gospel to so change the heart and minds of sworn enemies that they learn to live at peace together and that predator nations would live at peace with the nations they seek to conquer. This image of the world edging towards a form of Utopia may not fit easily with other images of a new heaven and a new earth but let us still pray for peace and justice at all levels of society; international, national and local.
Other theologians give a more literal interpretation. In God’s creation animals and humans were not meant to live in fear of a stronger predator but to live at peace together. Predation, in this understanding, is part of the fallen nature of the world in which we live, a situation that will be rectified at the coming of Christ. Paul says this about creation and the coming kingdom, ‘Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God’.
However we interpret this vision, let us rejoice in its beauty and the hope that it portrays and let us pray for its fulfilment both as an allegory and as a reality.
Father God, thank you that your justice is righteous and perfect.
Help me to follow your example and judge in favour of the poor and needy.
God is working his purpose out