Take It With You 11.28.2021
Sometimes God is super direct in His messages to us: love your neighbor; have no other gods before me; be anxious for nothing but in all things, trust God. I didn’t say these things are always easy to carry out, but they are easy to understand.
Other parts of scripture are trickier. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself reading a passage of scripture and thinking, “huh?” There is some beautiful poetry in scripture: the book of Psalms is essentially a book of poetry; much of the prophecy in the Bible is poetic in nature; even Jesus taught largely in parables, which are stories of a poetic nature. While this poetry is beautiful, it requires us to dig a little (sometimes a lot): learn from Biblical scholars about symbolism and meanings of the original language, revisit the scripture and ask God to reveal what He would have us glean from His word. This passage, Isaiah 19:1-11, is one such passage. At first glance, it seems like just a beautiful poem; but what does it mean? How does it apply to us, today? What is being promised in this prophecy? In a word: hope.
There is a lot of hope wrapped up in these 11 verses, and not only a general hope of things getting better in the future. Among all the promises, one particular promise stands out: reconciliation. Verses 6-8 tells of various pairs of natural enemies living peacefully together in this hopeful future. It signifies an end to violence, to fear, to conflict amongst God’s creation. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? In our contentious society where we constantly face so much conflict and animosity and violence and hate, it can be hard to imagine living in such peace; being able to “lie down” or rest alongside those who pose the greatest threat. But that is God’s promise, not just a future free of conflict, but a future in which all of God’s creation is at true peace with one another, with the love that God intended from the beginning.
Bring us your peace, Jesus. Reconcile your creation to each other and to you. Change our hearts to see our neighbors as your creation, beloved and made in your image. Thank you for giving us hope for a future that is difficult for us to imagine in this broken world, for the hope of reconciliation and peace. Amen.
~ Katie Herring