I offer two hopeful passages today, written centuries before the birth of Christ. Both look forward to a future day when God will act in some mighty and awesome ways.
Day 7 – Peace in the New Creation – Isaiah 11
11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 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.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 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.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, k from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.
I love the imagery of peace in this text that imagines a world where all animals are at peace, there is no more violence and God’s knowledge covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. It also reminds, as so much does, that though the coming of Jesus was the center of history and a huge step along the way, we are still not there yet. May we work for this future peace and God-filled creation in our world today.
Day 8 –The New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Again, I love the imagery here. The old covenant was written on stone, the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. The new covenant, instituted by Jesus, is written on our hearts. We are all God’s people as we come to Jesus Christ in faith, may we be open to what God is teaching us through the Spirit speaking to our hearts.