If the Lord God takes personal interest in our lives and is most concerned with our eternal salvation, then what positive news can Isaiah 11:6 have for us?
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
This scenario presents us with a beautiful image of peace. Here, both gentle and ferocious animals alike come together and, like household pets, allow themselves to be led by a small child. Does this mean we can take comfort that a time will come when wolves, leopards, and lions will lose their appetite for fresh meat?
Or is something deeper being expressed here? Wouldn’t this biblical passage have greater relevancy if God were using it as a lesson for acquiring that same wonderful state of peace in our own lives?
The Lord states that we must become like little children to enter heaven. We usually associate childhood with a state of INNOCENCE. The idea of adults becoming like a small child can, therefore, easily be interpreted as a return to innocence.
The quality of innocence certainly makes sense as a requirement for heaven.
So are the words of Isaiah telling us that a return to innocence will actually allow us to lead wolves, lambs, leopards, kids, calves and lions to live in peaceful coexistence? That wouldn’t make sense, at least not literally. We would we be putting our lives in terrible danger for trying such a stunt with wild animals, innocence or not.
If a child represents innocence (and not an actual child) then maybe all these opposing creatures are also to be interpreted as representing qualities of our inner nature – like the opposing and conflicting desires and intentions of our heart. With a little introspection it can be easily seen how our negative emotions can prey upon, rip apart, and devour our more gentle dispositions.
This is why when humans act unkindly or treat others with cruelty, they are often referred to as acting like “animals” and “beasts.” God is simply using this same metaphor in Isaiah.
Returning to innocence requires that we adjust our anger, temper our tempers, and remove hurtful intentions. The effort and practice of gaining control over our “inner world” is what leads to our emotional balance, which ultimately leads to inner peace.
Religion was given to humankind as God’s wise strategy for helping us achieve that inner balance and promote our return to innocence. When we follow God’s tenets and commandments our “wildness” is tamed and a heaven forms within us.
It has been a major theme in many of my posts that God’s Holy Word contains deeper meanings. When we are able to unlock these meanings everything becomes instantly more relevant to our lives. I have offered Isaiah 11:6 as one simple demonstration.
One of the main criticisms of the post-modern world is the belief that many passages in Scripture have no relevance in today’s complicated world.
Certainly an all-wise God would have foreseen such an outcome and engineered the Holy Word to be able to respond to all challenges of its authority and eternal relevance.
Heaven is not someplace you go to. It is something you become.