The opening of this chapter gives us a glimpse into the millennial reign of Christ. We find such paradoxical descriptions as a lamb and a lion lying down together being lead by a small child. (see vs. 6)
There is also a brief description of how we will arrive at this state of peace. The wicked will be slain with the word of His mouth. (see vs. 4) The whole of the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, just as the waters cover the seas.
The Gathering of Israel is foretold in the latter part of this chapter. I find it notable that this is what it took (a separation of thousands of years) for Ephraim and Judah to not be envious of one another any longer.
First in verse 2, we have a list:
- the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
- the spirit of counsel and might,
- the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
Then in verse 3, what it is not:
- he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
- neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
I have already treated this comprehensively here. But what I have personally failed to do is link these to Christ. It is the Spirit of the Lord, or the Spirit which is in Christ that these things describe. This is Christ.
I have sat with these verses for several mornings now. I find in these prophecies of the Second Coming also a type for our day. There are descriptions of judgment and justice, and for me it is a pattern of how I out to be. One who doesn’t judge after the sight of his eyes or the hearing of his ears, but after righteousness, as the Savior will do when he comes again. So to say it again, I find in this instruction on how things will be when the Savior returns, a pattern of how things may already be for me on an individual basis.
The Spirit of Council and Might
The power to do things is within us. There is much work to be done.
I have been all over the scripture this morning trying to find references to the word “might”. I’ve revisited the end of the Book of Mormon, and received another witness of the truthfulness of that book by reviewing Moroni’s parting remarks: covenants to gather the House of Israel, saved through the grace of Christ, sanctified through the blood and grace of Christ. (These are not arbitrary, nor random topics copied from elsewhere in the scriptures. Rather these are the words of Moroni, penned in only the way that Moroni could state it.)
Then I also made my way over to the account of Gideon found in the Book of Judges and read about how the Lord called Gideon from humble circumstances to redeem Israel in his day out of the hands of the Midianites. It was not counted as evil for Gideon to ask a sign of God as proof that he was being called of God to do the work that was before him. And so God sent him signs in the due that fell on the ground.
There is one more theme that I need to study, but the account of Gideon makes reference to it: the fear of the Lord.
The Fear of the Lord
To fear God is to feel reverence and awe for Him and to obey His commandments;Fear – Guide to the Scriptures
If I fear God, I will “serve Him” and “dilligently keep the commandments”. (See Deuteronomy 6:13,17) The start of this chapter (Deut. 6), actually begins with this premise: “That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments.” There are promises attached and also instructions to teach these things to our children.
Reading in Psalm 2, I am learning that there is this healthy dichotomy between two seemingly contrary principles: fear and service. We are told repeatedly that we should serve the Lord in fear, or fear the Lord and follow Him only. There is this idea of fear that in modern times I think we’ve shied away from as we come to see our Lord as a more kind and loving, omniscient being. I feel that “fear” in this context however is not the same as this overwhelming sense of horror or terror, but is rather a deep sense of reverence for God, a supreme form of respect and veneration. It is also used in connection to the action of service. Is service the result of this healthy fear of the Lord?
Psalms 111 also connects fear of the Lord with wisdom, and points to it as the starting point to obtaining wisdom. The action that is the result of this fear is obedience to the commandments. Thus he that is obedient, he it is that is also possessed of knowledge. Why? Because knowledge is granted to from obedience to commandments, or in other words, experience in following the proven path of God is granted to those that are obedient.
In Ecclesiastes 8, there is a decoupling of blessings and righteousness. I really like to be able to point to blessings as a direct result of obedience. These are the fruits of righteousness. They are real and sometimes immediate. Yet righteousness for blessings’ sake is not the point. In fact, obedience for the sake of blessings is not righteousness at all. This is rather compelled compliance, baited compulsion, or in other words: wickedness. So though the days of a man be prolonged who has done wickedly a 100 times, it will still be well with him that fears the Lord. No blessing is withheld from the righteous when the wicked appears to prosper in their wickedness. Appearances are not the same as blessings.