November 21

Isaiah 2:1-5

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;” vs. 4a

In reading the Hebrew scriptures it’s easy to get the idea that God was an advocate of war and encouraged the people of Israel to engage in ferocious combat in defense of their land and to subjugate their enemies. More than that it’s often implied that the Lord assisted in those battles and encouraged total destruction. But not all the ancient writers were of that mind. Isaiah saw another perspective and announced an alternative vision. He says that God intends for all people to live in peace and that one day, under the influence of the Lord, nations will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. It’s obvious that we’re a long way from achieving that goal. Instead nations have improved their weaponry and now possess enough firepower to completely destroy the earth. Seldom have we made any efforts to reduce our destructive capacity and lasting peace has been elusive. Even today countries battle. Soldiers and civilians are killed. Millions of refugees have fled their homes in combat zones. And yet Isaiah’s vision remains. Surely one day God’s people will have had enough–weapons will be repurposed, and peace will reign on this beautiful planet. Surely that is God’s will for us all.

Thought for the Day: What will it take for weapons of war to become obsolete?

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