Monday, December 7th
Dr. Bob Hornback
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It is often used like the word aloha in Hawaiian – both a greeting and a farewell. These remarkable verses, however, speak of God’s shalom, God’s peace. It speaks of how God’s peace finds fruit in quietness and confidence. For many Americans, 2020 has been anything but quiet and confident. The celebration of the Nativity gets more besmudged every year. It is supposed to be the celebration of the coming of the Prince of God’s Shalom into a world swirling in sin, a pivotal event in God’s continuing creation.
Our text depicts a future hope for King Ahaz’s troubled Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Though centered in Jerusalem, much of Judah extended down into the Sinai. Many of the mental images seen in later texts find their genesis in the Chosen People’s forty years in the desert wilderness. The last verse in today’s lesson reminds me of something I experienced when I was in a brief course of study there. I learned a lot about the Bedouins, modern-day desert dwellers. Their traditions go back into antiquity. One day of class I remember seeing a solitary camel wandering the barren desert all alone. Was it somehow native to this desert? I thought they were all owned by someone. The truth be known, it was accounted for and did have an owner. I learned that it was marked and annually rounded up by its owner. The number of owned camels depicted an individual’s wealth. These valuable beasts were free-range. What would keep someone from stealing your camel? Ah, that was it. Everyone in the desert knew to respect another’s property – free-range your animals without hesitation or fear of loss.