March 23, 2020. Day 83: The wolf shall dwell with the lamb.

Isaiah 11:6-8. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf 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 cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

Isaiah is envisioning a future kingdom that is completely upside down. A magical place where wolves live with lambs, leopards lie down next to goats, lions eat grass with cows, and babies play with snakes. It’s like something out of a Disney movie.

It’s the curse reversal that we all dream of. The end of all natural decay, disease, and death. The end of all violence, hatred, and war. Swords made into plowshares.

But is Isaiah’s utopia just too good to be true? Are we so jaded by this dark and disordered world that we live in, that we can’t even begin to imagine this kind of place? Is it all just a fairy tale? A child’s bedtime story?

Or maybe, like John and Yoko, we can “Imagine” such a world, but one brought into existence by all of us simply “living for today” and “sharing all the world?”

Or is there a third option? A utopia that’s not just a fantasy and also not dependent on us figuring out how to love it into existence. Can a perfect version of earth come to us from outside of us, and yet be as much a reality as the world we live in today? And if so, how?

and a little child shall lead them.

The Bible’s answer to all our physical problems has always been the child. The offspring of the woman who will crush evil and death and restore everything on earth to the order of peace and flourishing that God intended (see day 12). The child that Isaiah has already predicted:

Isaiah 7:14. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).

Isaiah 9:6-7. For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.

The Christ child, Jesus, the One born of a virgin, and placed in a manger, will sit on the throne of David and rule with justice and righteousness over all the earth. And all the earth will flourish under the ever increasing government of his grace and love.

Christian, our hope is a physical hope. We write a lot about the spiritual realities of our union with Christ here, but may we never forget that Christ is saving us unto a restoration of all creation. Isaiah 11 is no mere metaphor. One day actual wolves will live alongside actual lambs. And the man Jesus will sit on an actual throne and conquer his actual enemies, bringing not only spiritual, but physical flourishing to all the world.

But why Jesus? Why is he the perfect world ruler who can restore the creative order?

Isaiah 11:2. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Because Jesus has the Spirit of God resting upon him. All God’s wisdom, discernment, counsel, and might are his. And he will rule perfectly from the fear of the LORD.

Jesus IS the wisdom of God, and his eternal rule will be one of God’s infinite wisdom. Never a wrong decision. Never a failed strategy. Never a detail missed. Never an injustice. Never a disease uncured. Never a beauty destroyed.

Today, “to live is Christ” means that our lives united to Christ are a preview of the coming rule and reign of Christ. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, that now rests upon us, just as it does Christ, for we are in Christ. May we now work together each day to make his upside-down kingdom of love and sacrifice a right-side-up reflection of his coming kingdom of peace.

You

What future are you looking forward to today?

You in Christ

How does the promised physical reign of Christ restore your hope today?

Christ in You

How can you represent the coming reign of Christ today?

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