Isaiah 2:4 “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

What a day that will be when mankind turns from conflict and embraces stewardship!   Barnes’ Notes comments; “Nations that are contending shall be brought to peace by the influence of the reign of the Messiah, and shall beat their swords into plowshares. In other words, the influence of the reign of the Messiah shall put a period to wars, and reduce contending nations to peace.”  War is waste on a terrible scale and steals from children.  Peace preserves and passes on to the next generation.

Jesus  and only Jesus brings us peace.  Matthew Henry tells us; “It is God who teaches his people, by his word and Spirit. Christ promotes peace, as well as holiness. If all men were real Christians, there could be no war; but nothing answering to these expressions has yet taken place on the earth. Whatever others do, let us walk in the light of this peace.”   There is no holiness in war.  The holiness – the only holiness that can be attained by mankind is  that which Jesus places in our hearts and character.  Any other way to peace and holiness is a grasping fake parody with sharp hungry teeth; “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”  (Matthew 7:15)

Why can’t we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks by ourselves without Jesus?  The answer is  as straightforward as it is unpopular.  We prefer swords and spears to plowshares and pruning hooks.

‘Oh no! Modern western society is civilized and peaceful!  We have evolved far beyond the barbarism of the past,’ many will counter!

I don’t think so.  Check what entertains us.  Look at our violent sports.  What movies fill the theaters – sex and violence sells.  What do we let our children watch on TV ?  We are NOT  a culture of peace.  We are definitely not holy.  We pass on our violence loving ways to our children through the media and social media;

By the time most Canadian children reach high school, they each will spend between 10,000 and 15,000 hours watching TV – more time than is spent going to school, playing sports or talking to parents. No wonder that communications guru Marshall McLuhan called television “the first curriculum” for modern youth.

But what do they learn? Violence is one part of the picture, but increasingly sociologists and media critics are concerned about other, more subtle effects. Through the cathode tube, children learn about sexual stereotypes, about the “appropriate” roles for men and women in society. And they are told over and over again what they should buy: American communications guru Neil Postman estimates that the average kid has seen about half a million TV commercials by age 18. Perhaps most important, television is the primary source of information for children – as it is for adults – providing not only a refuge from, but a window on, the real world. And it is a very narrow view, indeed.

On a chilly night in April, 1995, a 13-year-old boy helped beat retired Montreal priest Frank Toope, 75, and wife Jocelyne, 70, to death with a baseball bat and a beer bottle; sentencing the boy to three years in detention and two years’ probation last March, Judge Lucie Rondeau remarked that he showed no signs of remorse. Last April, a six-year-old boy crept into a home in Richmond, Calif., and beat one-month-old Ignacio Bermudez Jr. almost to the point of death; prosecutor Harold Jewett later said that the boy had told friends he assaulted the baby because members of the Bermudez family had “looked at him wrong.”

TV and Kids’ Violence, The Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/

A change of heart is required for holiness and peace.  This kind of radical transformation is only possible through a radical shift in the soul.  Isaiah knew this 800 years before Christ.

Nobody likes to hear that message.   Our culture promotes self-absorption and toxic pride to the point that no one wants to hear that a radical change is needed. The Bible tells us; ” . . .  since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires,but rather for the will of God.  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.  They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.  But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”  (1 Peter 4:1-5)

No one wants to suffer and give anything up especially what they like to do, – what they think they are entitled to do.  And nobody likes to be told that they are selfish,  proud and arrogant.  No one really thinks that they are accountable to anybody.    Isaiah knew this.  The apostle Peter knew  this.

Times haven’t changed.

Yet!

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