Summary: Application of the message of Isaiah 11:6 in current culture.
Isaiah 11:6 says, “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; and the calf and the young lion together”. Theologians typically interpret by following a specific system (ie literal or symbolic). That often leads to a lot of confusing conclusions. For example, many theologians interpret this scripture literally and ‘futurize’ it since ‘literal’ isn’t a current reality. The footnote of my bible says (referring to Isaiah 11:6); “Messiah’s reign in the yet future millennial kingdom will be characterized by harmony in the whole creation”.
IF that is true, it should be CONSISTENTLY true, right? Let’s examine our text a little more closely. According to our scripture text, WHEN does this happen? Isaiah 11:1 says, “there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots”. Have you ever heard of a ‘geneology tree’? Well, that is what God is referring to. When did/will this happen? Acts 13:22,23 (reciting the history of the Jews) says, “…he raised up unto them David to be their king…and said I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart…Of this man’s seed HATH (past tense) God raised unto Israel a Savior, JESUS”. Our text was a prophecy of what was to happen when Jesus came. Now, the latter part of Isaiah 11:4 says, “…and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked”. Now, literalize this in your mind. Imagine Jesus going around slaying wicked people just by breathing on them. No! This is a metaphorical expression that means the very words that Jesus speaks have great power! For example, Jesus slayed the wicked by His simple yet powerful words...“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”.
MY system of interpretation is simpler. I seek to determine the intended meaning of the scripture. What was God trying to say in this scripture? Sometimes he was speaking literally, sometimes he was speaking metaphorically. How do you know which is which? The best answer to that question is personal intimacy with God. There is no formula in existence to detour around this basic truth. The heart cry of everyone who wishes to understand God’s Word should be (Psalms 119:18) ‘open thou mine eyes that I might behold wonderous things out of thy Word’. God speaks through His Word! But also draws us to Him when we READ and OBEY His Word! To understand God’s Word, we must read God’s Word! So, I believe the SAFEST ‘interpretation system’ is letting scripture interpret scripture. Can we better understand our text by allowing scripture help us interpret scripture? I believe so. I wish to share with you, by the scriptures, three things our text teaches us that Jesus came to accomplish.
First, JESUS CAME TO CHANGE OUR NATURE! Scripture teaches that people often display an ’animal-like’ nature in their endeavor to get their way. 2 Samuel 23:20 says, “Benaiah slew two lionlike men of Moab”. Some people are like a lion. They are aggressive. They use the threat of intimidation to impose their will on others and overcome opposition. We all know people like that. We call them ‘bullies’. They possess a lionlike spirit. Luke 13: 31,32 (Jesus speaking about King Herod) says, “Go tell that fox…”. Did Jesus mean King Herod was a literal fox? No! He meant he was crafty like a fox. Crafty people use misrepresentation and distortion of the truth to get their way. A good example of a 'foxy' reply would be, “but I didn’t inhale”. We’ve all heard stories of bears who, driven by an insatiable lust for food, ransack campers, tear up campsites, and even kill families just because they get in the way. People act like bears when, driven by an addiction, they rip and tear everything in their way, sometimes even hurting deeply the very ones they love in pursuit of self gratification. Psalms 140:1-3 (The Living Bible) says, “O Lord, deliver me from evil men. Preserve me from the violent, who plot and stir up trouble all day long. Their words sting like poisonous snakes.” A good example of this would be a salesman who comes knocking on your door. He tells you he represents a Vinyl Siding Company. He tells you it would normally cost $12,000 to replace the siding on your house. He tells you he would like to do it for half the cost. He says he’ll come back next week to do the job, but that he needs a down payment of $2,000 to secure the deal. You pay him $2,000 of your hard earned money and never see him again. You feel like you’ve been snakebit! There are many people who act like animals in their everyday living, and we know it. We have to be very careful when we go out in public because ‘it’s a jungle out there’!