November 20, 2015
READ: Isaiah 11:1-9
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 (v.6).
Wolves devour lambs. Leopards pounce on goats. A calf is never safe around a lion, and neither is a child! Though very touching, the picture of predators living in harmony with their prey can strike us as naive. Prophetic pictures of such a scene have been interpreted different ways, but the image is striking. So, how different would things have to be for animals to be able to live like that? Perhaps not that different at all.
A documentary called Animal Odd Couples opened my eyes to this, as it portrayed a series of unusual animal friendships. It showed a Great Dane that was best friends with a fawn, a pregnant cat that attempted to nurse a family of ducklings and an orangutan that was best friends with a hound. In one particularly touching example of this predator-turned-protector behaviour, a lioness adopted a newborn antelope. When another lion later killed the antelope, the lioness grieved.
How did a cat overcome its predatory instincts to care for a clutch of ducklings? Zoologists surmise that the cat’s pregnancy hormones played a role. How did a lioness overcome its desire to eat an antelope and to mother it instead? Experts think it had experienced its own trauma and was desperate to nurture whatever it could find.
Whatever the reason, Animal Odd Couples showed that the vision of Isaiah 11:9 is not a naive dream: “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” (v.9). It is possible. And one day, Isaiah tells us, such behaviour won’t be rare. In fact, it will be part of an extraordinary peace that stretches into the human world too. As John wrote, “There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Yes, God’s shalom will one day fill the earth. All creation will experience the harmony of His perfect peace!
365-day-plan: Romans 5:1-11
Read Ezekiel 34:25-28 for a similar vision of what will be one day.
Do you ever struggle to believe Scripture’s vision of the future? How does personal experience help or hinder your belief?