Picture a disarmed rifle converted into a working guitar. Colombian musician and peace activist, Cesar Lopez, envisioned this after a deadly terrorist attack in Bógota in 2003. One of his escopetarras is displayed at the United Nations’ permanent exhibition on disarmament in New York as a symbol of peace for the whole world. Lopez explains: “The fact that a weapon is transformed in such a radical way speaks of the possibility the whole planet has to change, even if it seems absurd.” Today’s passage points us to the reality of the new creation where agents of violence will become representatives of peace.
The Lord makes clear His displeasure with rulers who tolerate and perpetuate injustice (Isa. 10:1-4). Yet there is hope for God’s people. The prophet Isaiah tells of a small group who will survive His judgment, destruction, and exile (10:20-23). The “stump” is symbolic of this remnant of survivors (11:1). Isaiah prophesies that from the remnant of David’s descendants, God will raise up someone to reclaim the throne of King David to restore justice and righteousness (vv. 1-5). This new king will not rule like the unfaithful kings of old. Rather, by the Spirit’s wisdom and power He will rule with justice and righteousness on behalf of the poor and needy, and He will not tolerate the wicked.
The result of this new king’s rule is described in verses 6 through 8: a leopard stretched out with a goat resting peacefully on the leopard’s belly, a toddler playing near a cobra’s nest without danger of harm. Once dangerous predators are at peace with former prey, and the safety of a little child is mentioned twice. Remember the predators we have read about this month who overburden their employees and deprive workers their wages, who mistreat the weak in society and ignore injustice? Imagine their weapons of oppression being disarmed and replaced with attitudes and behaviors that protect the helpless. This is the kind of total transformation effected by the new Davidic king.