Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pictures of peace

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 2:1-5

TO CHEW ON: “He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4

The picture of peace Isaiah paints here, of weapons being softened and hammered into tools for farming, expresses the longing in many a human heart. I can only imagine how the citizens of Aleppo and Mosul would welcome such a thing.

The theme of a coming time of peace runs through the prophets’ writings. I’m quoting the passages today, so this post is a bit long, but I think you'll be thrilled at the beautiful pictures of peace here.

There are prophecies of peace coming as a consequence of fearing and honoring God:

  • Psalm 46:9,10:
'He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
 He burns the chariot in the fire. 
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!'

  • Psalm 72:5-7 - a psalm-prayer of Solomon:
"They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations. 
"He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth. 
In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more."
  • Psalm 85:9,10
"Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth have met together;
 Righteousness and peace have kissed."
  • Psalm 147:11,14:
"The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy…

"He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with the finest wheat."

There are prophecies of the possibility of peace associated with the kingdom of the Child:
  • Isaiah 9:6,7:
"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end
  • Isaiah 11:1,6-9 (the pictures of peace here also resemble the distant, end-time peace of Isaiah 65 below):
"There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots…

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them
"The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 
"The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea."
  • Isaiah 33:17,20
"Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will see the land that is very far off…

"Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts;
Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home..."
  • Zechariah 9:9,10:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey. 
"I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’"

And there are prophecies that look forward to a  seemingly distant, end-time period of peace.

  • Isaiah 2:1-5 - Our reading of Isaiah 2:1-5, which begins: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days..." would be in that category.
  • Isaiah 65:11,25:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind….

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the Lord."
  • Micah 4:1,4
"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it….

"But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;

For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken."

But is there any hope for peace now? Well, yes. Paul gives Timothy some down-to-earth advice about peace in the present in 2 Timothy 2:1,2:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men
"for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."

PRAYER: Dear Father, our beleaguered world longs for the pictures of peace painted by Bible writers, to become reality. Help me to do all I can now to bring peace to my little corner of time and space. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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