Midway through The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is pulled off the bridge into a seemingly bottomless chasm. Frodo and his companions are certain he plunged to his death, but I didn't think so. I tried to continue reading, turning the pages one at a time, but curiosity won and I peeked ahead, flipping through chapters to see if the name Gandalf showed up again. I wanted to know if their leader would be with them to the end.
Prophets peek ahead. Israel will fall, seemingly to its death. "The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth" (Isaiah 9:12). God will use godless nations to punish sinful Israel; then God will punish the punishers for their arrogance. They think they are in charge. They aren't; God is. This is his story.
God had promised a kingdom forever, but Israel fears its sin has been greater than God's promises. So the prophet Isaiah flips forward the pages, "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him" (Isaiah 11:1-2). Israel has a future in God's story; from the family of Jesse, a King will reign. His name is Jesus. Nothing is greater than God's promises.
There will come yet another day when "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9)
This day has not yet come. It will.
Righteous and mighty God, You created us and called it good. Following You is good. But I keep following the crowd. And it works ...for awhile, but not forever. I want forever.
I trust You, my God. Your Word is certain. You have kept and will keep Your promises, and I will rest in Your strength. May my own words reflect the faithfulness of Your Word.