One day we won’t have to keep them so close, but until then: Hang on tight - Part One
I have been thinking about the following passage of late and wanted to share some general ideas about what one might be able to learn from this section of Scripture particulary in relation to the idea of parenting in ancient times.
It talks about the Messianic age, but in fact, if we look at in a careful way, we may be able to learn a little bit not only about the circumstances of children in ancient times and how we living in the world today might be able to learn something from how the ancients took care of their children.
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 (נער קטן – na’ar katan) 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 (יונק - yonek) shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child (גמול – gamul) 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 ESV)
When we read this passage often we are in awe at its majesty and are so looking forward to this reality. We say: ‘Jesus, come and let’s get this show on the road.’ I mean we are all so ready for this time.
While this is true and we are all looking for this blessed hope, an opportunity to learn from this passage might be missed if we don’t look to place this passage in its historical context and within the social culture and the physical environment of a time period almost 3,000 years ago.
I think if we are willing to let this passage teach us, there is so much to learn here.
First, lets be clear. This passage is talking about a change. It is saying that something is different is coming, but it is not in what is coming where our learning opportunity may be. It is in what was!
This passage shows a contrast. It shows that things that were previously dangerous and life threatening will no longer be so! It speaks of animals in particular that could and do by instinct kill. They kill in some cases anything that gets in their way and interestingly the prophet here chose to contrast these dangerous animals with those things which were the most innocent: little children, nursing babies and weaned children!
What this passage is saying is that in ancient times these little children had to be kept as far away from lions, leopards, cobra’s and adders, all of which to little children were (and still are) deadly.