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Prophetic poetry about Eden restored

Posted Apr 20, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Isaiah 2:2-4

2 In the days to come
    the mountain of the Lord’s house
    will be the highest of the mountains.
    It will be lifted above the hills;
        peoples will stream to it.
3 Many nations will go and say,
“Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
    to the house of Jacob’s God
        so that he may teach us his ways
        and we may walk in God’s paths.”
Instruction will come from Zion;
    the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.
4 God will judge between the nations,
    and settle disputes of mighty nations.
Then they will beat their swords into iron plows
    and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
    they will no longer learn how to make war.

Isaiah 11:6-9

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
    and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
    the calf and the young lion will feed together,
    and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow and the bear will graze.
    Their young will lie down together,
    and a lion will eat straw like an ox.
8 A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole;
    toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den.
9 They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain.
    The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
    just as the water covers the sea.

Isaiah 65:17-19

17 Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth:
    past events won’t be remembered;
    they won’t come to mind.
18 Be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I’m creating,
    because I’m creating Jerusalem as a joy
    and her people as a source of gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad about my people.
    No one will ever hear the sound of weeping or crying in it again.

Reflection Questions

In Isaiah’s day, conflict between the dominant Assyrian Empire and the military power of Egypt was a constant threat to Israel. (Like them, we at times feel as though we live with the threat of violence.) Isaiah’s God-given vision was not of one power wiping out the others, but of swords made into plowshares. He wrote prophetically about God’s dream of a world restored by the Messiah, a world where “they will neither harm nor destroy.” He even used startling images to show us the serene nature of this new Eden. Imagine lambs lying down safely with lions, or children playing near cobras!

  • In what ways are national identities and borders a blessing to human life? In what ways can and do they often trigger hatred and conflict? Is your heart open to let God grow peace and forgiveness in you even toward those you fear and distrust? How can you join God’s work by seeking to make today’s world a place where more people can live in peace and safety?
  • Patricia Tull clarified the meaning of “swords into plowshares”: “For the nations seeking God’s ways, weapons will no longer be necessary. These will instead be fashioned into tools for tending the earth and nurturing life.”* As centuries rolled by, and swords were still swords, God’s people realized their ultimate hope was in a world dramatically recreated by God’s redeeming power. What inner tendencies do you, and the communities of which you are a part, need to move beyond before weapons are no longer necessary?

Prayer

O Lord, let your peace reign more and more in my heart, in my life. And keep my hope and faith focused on the day when you again reign fully over our world, and violence and sadness give way to complete peace and harmony. Amen.


* Patricia K. Tull, study note on Isaiah 2:4 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 1097 OT.

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Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

If I’m ever discussing a point with you and know that I’m right, there is a pretty good chance that you’re going to hear my point at least once, probably twice. More than likely, you’re going to hear it in multiple variations until you agree with me. I’m sorry. I just hate it when people don’t agree with me when I know that I’m right. I have a terrible tendency to be overly tenacious about this. I generally fall just short of saying, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

There are times I’ve taken this approach for causes in which I strongly believe, but there have been other times when it is just a matter of arguing over trivial details. I recently got into a “discussion” about which was the most superior type of Oreo cookie (it’s not double-stuff, if you’re wondering). The problem with this tenacious approach is that it automatically creates a disconnect with whomever I’m conversing. It’s me against you. You might as well put us in a boxing ring and bring out the gloves.

I doubt that I’m the only one who does this. It’s this same approach on a much grander scale which leads to wars. It’s interesting; when it comes to conflicts between nations, my inner beauty pageant queen comes out, and all I want is world peace. Certainly peace between countries is good, but it’s hard to expect world leaders to come together if I’m not willing to back down when it comes to Oreos.

The Bible talks about paradise being the ultimate place of peace, where nations will no longer learn how to make war. I long for this day of reconciliation and harmony among the nations, but I believe that it is our call to strive towards that now, in our own lives. We must approach disagreements with an attempt to be unifying rather than always right. Doing so involves humility, listening to others, and truly seeing their side of the story. Is it easy? Nope. But I’m going to stand firmly on this one. I know (okay, I’m pretty confident) that striving towards peace is the right and Godly thing to do.

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