by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"The cow will feed with the bear.... The infant will play near the hole of the cobra" (Isa. 11:7–8).
These were dark days for Judah. Northern Israel had already been overrun by the Assyrians. It seemed merely a matter of time until Judah and Jerusalem would fall too. The glory had departed from Jerusalem, and the kingdom of David had fallen like a tree. The prophet speaks of "the stump of Jesse" (Jesse was David's father).
However, in these dismal times, the prophetic picture is as bright as any we find in the Bible. The Messiah will come from the fallen house of David. God's Spirit will rest on him. In contrast to all other rulers, he will be righteous and good. And his kingdom will be a picture of perfect peace.
"Peace" in the Old Testament is much more than the absence of war. It is well-being in every sense of the word. Peace is wholeness, soundness, and happiness of personal life and society. In this case, it includes an idyllic harmony between people and the rest of creation. Cow and bear, lion and ox graze together. Little children are unharmed while they play near poisonous and stinging animals.
That's the land of Prince Shalom. We think about it often. God has made progress since the days of Isaiah. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has all authority in heaven and on earth. But little children are still unsafe in the cities of North America. Let alone on vipers' nests.
O God, how long?
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version