Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church - Outreach - Blogs - TEEZing Out The Roots
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”—11:1-9
I strongly believe that this is one of those passages that should not be demystified. We should not read it as symbolic. We should not read it as allegorical. We should not get caught up in trying to decode the timing of it according to linear chronology. We should not scientifically analyze the possibilities of the ecosystems presented. We should not try to overlay the story of our Messiah on top of it and force the landscapes therein to perfectly match each other.
Instead, we should accept it as a piece of beautiful truth. We should accept it as possibility. We should accept it as that which was at the beginning, that which we can have now, and that which is to come—cyclical time and cyclical truth. We should accept that there are multiple meanings within this truth and multiple manifestations of its power. We should accept that our minds cannot fully comprehend the realities that exist within God’s vision.
We must decide what we believe about who is represented and the characteristics which define that entity. We must realize that those characteristics should be what we strive for in our own existence. We must seek the spirit of the LORD, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD. We must not judge by what we see or decide by what we hear. We must favor the poor with righteousness and choose equity for the meek. We must use the strength of our words to speak truth to power. We must seek to destroy evil. We must wear righteousness and faithfulness as belts that hold the rest of us together. We must seek to create a global ecosystem of just peace.
Many of us who are Christians see the coming of Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophetic image. If you are such a person, please take the time to reflect upon what this implies about Jesus and his mission. Reflect upon whether or not all has been fulfilled. If you decide all has not, then reflect upon how Jesus’ mission continues with a trajectory towards fulfillment. Reflect upon how we may be part of that trajectory. If are not such a person, please take the time to reflect upon the hope which this passage exudes. Reflect upon how you can be an agent for making that hope manifest.