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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:6-9

What a scene! Wolves wander alongside lambs. Leopards nap next to baby goats. A parade of calves and bears is led by a bright-eyed toddler, who stops to invite a snake to join the fun.

The scene has a fantastical, circus-like quality to it, so playful as to be silly. You can practically hear the honky-tonk in the background. Is it a joke? It’s so farfetched that it might as well be.

When in this dog-eat-dog world would a wolf ever restrain itself enough not to tear into a plump young lamb? When would a mother dare to let her child wrestle with a bear cub? When would a venomous snake lick a baby’s hand the way a puppy might?

In this world, probably never. Even the most optimistic among us wouldn’t expect a lamb to survive in a pasture with a wolf. But in the world to come, the world that’s just over the edge of the horizon, this improbable parade will be the way of things. In the world where the Lord reigns, all of this improbability becomes not just probable but actual. Isaiah’s scene is no fable. This is what we have to look forward to!

Prayer

How eager I am for a world in which predator and prey play together. May your kingdom come, filling the earth with the knowledge of you. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.