This past weekend I was in a shopping mall, probably the last time this year before it gets completely nuts, because between Black Friday and New Year the shops look kind of like this…
Just in time for the school holidays there was a free teaser for an overpriced dinosaur display and to my grown-up mind, it was a really, really fake Triceratops but to a little girl who looked about 4 years old the fake Triceratops caught her attention. She had no inkling that animatronics isn’t the same as real. And she wanted to comfort this Triceratops who she believed was in need of succour; “Easy there big fella” she says, almost with a thick Brooklyn accent.
And it brought to my mind Isaiah 11, a chapter which refers to a return to a golden age when people and animals – especially wild and dangerous ones – will live without enmity or the desire to ravage. A golden age under the rule of the Messiah who has returned, an age that is coming. No nature, red in tooth and claw, no more murders and violence and no more Black Friday madness because there will be no consumerism.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
I like Isaiah because it’s poetic and filled with soaring ideas but also because it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit. I can just picture a little tyke, like that 4 year old in the mall, directing a few lions to follow her and find some cute baby calves to lick and clean and play with.
And if you can’t picture it then observe the following. The weirdest one for me is the goat and the rhino playing silly. That’s just weird. But it offers a glimpse of how God intended it to be and how it will be again.