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Devotional by Ray Stedman for February 8- A Picture of Hope

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Topic:A Picture of Hope

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

What a beautiful picture! Here is the time when the dreams of men will be fulfilled, when all the longings that reflect themselves in peace demonstrations and cries for disarmament will find their fulfillment. There is a deep hunger in mankind for this kind of a world, although we do not know how to achieve it. But there is coming One who does know how. Then, even the animals will lose their ferocity and lie down one with another. How would you mothers feel if you found your child playing with a cobra? But there is coming a time when it shall happen, when the animals shall lose their ferocity against one another, when the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Some people ask, Is this literal or is it only symbolic! Is this all metaphor? Some commentators say this is a picture of the work of Christ in human hearts today. I believe that. I believe this is metaphor, picturing spiritual peace.

I think of our church elders in those terms. One of them is like a lion; he roars every time you cross him. Another one is like a great bear; he swallows you up as you come into contact with him. Another is like a leopard—sneaky. And here was I, a meek lamb in the midst of them! Our elders’ meetings sometimes give that impression, but when we would look to the Lord he comes among us as a great lion tamer. Then the lion lies down with the lamb, the wolf and the leopard dwell together and everything works out. This is what our Lord has power to do in human hearts today. He can heal controversy and bring peace among men.



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But I also believe this is literal. There is coming a day when the curse will be removed from the earth. Paul sings about a day when creation shall be released from its bondage (Romans 8:19). Then the curse will be removed and the whole earth will break into a verdant blooming, the likes of which we have never seen; when the desert shall blossom like the rose, as Isaiah describes it in Chapter 35. The animals lose their ferocity and even the carnivores return to eating grass, as in creation before the Fall.

Father, I look forward to the fulfillment of these gracious words, when even the animals shall lose their enmity one with another and lie down together, and a little child shall lead them. Grant that I may discover the reality of these words in my own life.

Life Application
Both peacemaking and peacemakers are God’s business. As we anticipate its final fulfillment, are we seeking to be authentic messengers of His peace day-by-day?

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