Peace in the valley – December 15, 2019
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
Only in our dreams, we would think, only in dreams will we see a wolf living peacefully with a lamb. And a leopard lying down with a goat? Or a calf with a lion? And a small child in the middle of all this?
Only in our dreams!
Except. Except—might this not have been possible in the Garden of Eden? Could it not be this way today if sin and death had not invaded this creation? Is this not a picture of peace on earth?
King David spoke of the valley of the shadow of death. We know that valley. We have seen the tombstones. We have gone to the funerals. There is death in this valley.
Isaiah shows us the same valley. But something has changed. The Prince of peace now rules it.
He shows us peace in the valley.
We know what wolves will do to lambs. We can picture lions and leopards ripping apart their prey. Blood splatter marks those scenes.
Panic would grip our hearts at seeing a little child there. There is no hope for that lamb or goat or calf. There would be no hope for a child.
The point is, there is no hope for a creation ravaged by the powers of darkness. Even worse is the aftermath of war waged against the Creator of creation.
No wonder peace does not blanket the earth! Those who are at war with God can never find peace. Never can they escape death. The Holy Spirit explains it this way: “Now, the way the sinful flesh thinks results in death, but the way the spirit thinks results in life and peace” (Romans 8:6 EHV).
Angels issued a declaration of peace over fields of Bethlehem. They pointed to a little child as the basis of this reconciliation.
They were right.
Centuries earlier, with pointed words of prophecy Isaiah declared: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
The Prince of peace brought peace to the valley. It came, however, at a price. The Lord of life needed to walk through the valley of death in place of those who deserved it.
He did. It cost his life, but he won peace. Then, he gave it to us.
Listen to his words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
There we have it! Nothing here to fear.
There is peace in the valley—for you and for me.
Prayer: Son of God, Savior of the world, and Prince of peace, as we begin to ponder your birth into this world of sin and death, we thank you for coming. We thank you for peace in the valley. It makes us want to celebrate. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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