God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, December 20, 2007
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 hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea. (NIV)
About 20 years ago, a TV anti-drug campaign began using an image of an egg and a frying pan: “This is your mind…” (the egg sizzles in the pan) “This is your mind on drugs.” Imagine a vast empty desert: “This is the world…” (the ocean crashes down and fills everything to the horizon with deep blue sea) “This is the world filled with the knowledge and the blessings of the Lord.” When Christ comes to judge the world, the end result will not be desolation, but paradise. As Hebrews says about the heavens and the earth: “Like a garment they will be changed” (Hebrews 1:12).
The animals in this passage are predator and prey, but they picture a paradise of peace that is unlike anything we know today or could imagine. Even the abuses mankind commits in our God-given dominion over animals (Genesis 1:28) will be at an end. The universe will be, incredibly, as God imagined it would be in eternity before the creation began. There will be all of the beauty and peace and joy God would have, and there will be no sin.
Some of the Psalms take up the idea of Christ judging the world and filling it with his righteousness. Psalm 95, often sung in churches as the beautiful Venite (page 46 in our hymnal), sings to the Lord “for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand” (Psalm 95:7). Psalm 96 sings before the Lord who “comes to judge the earth” even saying that “all the trees in the forest will sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12). Psalm 97 says that “the heavens proclaim his righteousness” (Psalm 97:6). In Psalm 98, even “the rivers clap their hands” (Psalm 98:8) because the Lord “comes to judge the earth.”
Part of the focus of advent every year is not only to look back to the first coming of Christ into the world, but also to look ahead to the day when he will come again, to judge the world in his grace and his righteousness, to rescue believers (“‘all the nations that bear my name,’ declares the Lord, who will do these things,” Amos 9:12) whether living or dead, and remake the world in his own perfection.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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