A Daily Dose of Good News
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
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Good morning! It’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News! It’s December 15 and we are in Isaiah 11:1-9.
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.
Here ends the reading.
This message may be familiar to you. You may even have seen pictures of the imagery of these animals lying down together- animals who are enemies with one another- but being at peace. In these nine verses, there are multiple places where the unexpected happens. Specifically, unexpected. I’d like to focus on while it seems unexpected, can we reframe that to ourselves of being normal in God’s provision? Normal in God’s eyes? So, for example, the beginning talks about this shoot, which is going to come off of the stump, and that looks unexpected when you see something like that happen. But in reality, it’s completely normal of what happens in healthy growth. So it’s indicative of healthy growth and God is always about healthy growth. So while it may look unexpected to us- that’s really, in some ways, pretty normal.
The next section talks about how the leader, the ruler, is going to have wisdom beyond what his eyes see and what his ears hear. That wisdom is going to be, it sounds like, Godly wisdom, Godly instruction. This person is going to rule with righteousness. Again, that seems unexpected because most people go with what they see, what they hear, or what’s obvious to them. Yet with God, there are deeper truths revealed. Deeper wisdom that would be a normal part of the process- if God’s involved. A deeper sense of understanding. A deeper wisdom being evident and available to us as a normal part of engaging with God.
The third section is about this whole collection of animals who lie down together. It’s reminiscent in some ways of the Garden of Eden- being a very peaceful place, but there aren’t enemies between these creatures. Even the baby can put his hand in the midst of snakes or sit above the snake pit and is unharmed. So it’s normal in this- that people live in peace and they’re not in danger or harm’s way. It’s unexpected to us. It’s different than our normal experience of how we experience life in this world. But in God’s realm, it’s normal to have pervasive peace. Pervasive safety. Pervasive care. Even while we would view that as unexpected. There’s not destruction and hurt and pain on God’s holy mountain. That’s the place where God reigns, so that’s a place of peace, wisdom and new growth. I love the imagery of this because it’s something unexpected, but it shows us so much deeper who God is.
So I’m doing my own similar version of Isaiah 11, because you’ve heard that before, and I was thinking: what other unexpected way can I think of it as a way to describe God? I thought of: pizza! (Laughs). Another unexpected thing! But that might show us who God is normally. God is: care, provision and enough for us. Can we think of God in that way? When we think there’sscarcity, we think that we’ll be left still needing more, we’ll still be hungry, or we’ll still have needs which are unmet- can we think of God as being our Chef who’s going to provide what we need to sustain us, it’s going to be enough and it’s going to be good?
So I thought, okay that’s myversion. Can we think of God in a different way, with some sort of imagery that gives us a sense of who God is? God is one who: provides peace, provides well-being, provides wisdom, provides growth, provides for our needs, cares for us, sustains us, gives us enough. Can we really see that? Can we really believe that? Can we really digest that as true and real about God? Can we think about God in these unexpected ways- which are normal for God and for interaction with God? Have a great day everybody. Bye-bye.