“Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.
But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish.” Isaiah 8.16-9.1 (NRSV)
We look to the past for wisdom and for answers, but God sends often sends us signs in unfamiliar promises for the future. The signs in Isaiah are centered around a child named Immanuel, the hope of Israel – but what can a child do? Is it not wiser to seek out the counsel of the great leaders of the past than to hope that this child will somehow lead us into a better future?
Children are untested, underdeveloped… there are too many uncertainties with them. We certainly want them in our life, but we do not want to hand them the keys to our cars, our credit cards, or the mantles of leadership in our businesses. No, children need to know their place until we deem them worthy of the role reserved for adults. We prefer them seen and not heard. They are, and may always be, the greatest perpetual minority group in our world.
Our battles over rights regarding gun laws, marriage laws, rarely take into consideration the voice and effects on children. With minds like thirsty sponges, they soak up everything we show and tell them because they just want to know – and we take advantage of that to download our own points of view onto them, the ways we wished we viewed the world instead of helping them to safely see the messy world for the way it is.
Every generation bears its own blessings and curses and finds ways to separate and dinstinguish themselves from those who go before them. Ultimately, I think it is a miracle we have not completely messed up an entire generation yet… and therein lies Isaiah’s point. Try as you might, you will not take control back from God… indeed the tiny mouth you are spoonfeeding today, will be spoonfeeding you tomorrow. Can we see God working in and with them today?
- Who are the children in your life?
- Where do you see God in them?
- If they are messengers of hope from God, what should your response be to them?