An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Eight

 

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Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of theLord.
He will delight in obeying theLord.
He will not judge by appearance
    nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
He will wear righteousness like a belt
    and truth like an undergarment.

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for as the waters fill the sea,
so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.

In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.

Isaiah 11:1-10   -NLT

The Peaceable Kingdom, that’s what many call this passage from Isaiah 11. A picture of the future, where all of God’s creatures will live together harmoniously. Animals of every size and shape interacting peaceably with children; scorpions no longer lethal, cobras not to be feared.

And I love that imagery, too – although, to be honest — even though artists have rendered it repeatedly, I have a really hard time picturing all that wild animal/human conviviality. For me, it’s the picture in the first half of this passage that sings. That old Jesse stump, the tree from which David and then, Jesus, grew and flourished.

My spirit resonates with these lines, this picture of a righteous ruler, one who looks beneath the surface of things before pronouncing judgment. Righteousness and truth the garments nearest to his skin, closest to his person.

Yes! I love this picture. And in just the right light, I can see that this is a picture of Jesus. At least, this is one picture of Jesus. One that I like and look forward to, but one that is not yet fully realized. We still await the coming of this One, don’t we? A truly just ruler and judge, one who looks out for the needs of his people and will not abide cheating or oppressive behavior. 

Can I hear an amen?

Of course, I can. We all long for such leadership, if we’re honest with ourselves and with one another. And we’re all still waiting for him to show up, aren’t we? This is the deepest layer of Advent waiting, I think. We wait for the Just One to come and make things right; we wait for justice to reign; we wait.

Lord of Righteousness, will you help us to wait with hope? To know in the deepest parts of ourselves that you are always in the process of coming to us? Help us to see you in the small victories, the short, sweet moments, even in the little ones — those small human creatures that you give to all of us. And excuse my rudeness here, but could you somehow show us your undergarments – the ones that move right next to your heart, the ones that empower you to serve the least of these? Just a flash, that’s all we need. A reminder that you’re on the throne — and yet, you stand ever ready to help us little ones see and tell the truth. 

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

 

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Comments

  1. Yes, you are hearing an Amen! And yes, honestly I am waiting to see with my eyes the righteous Judge, when we are fully capable to be in his Righteous Presence, when all things are set aright. I see Him in his Word, feel Him near, long for Him to come—again.

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