“He will settle disputes among many peoples and provide arbitration for strong nations that are far away. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
We live in a day when chaos seems to reign more and more. We may be 80 years from the last armed conflict that could truly be described as a world war, but the world seems to be at war everywhere we look. For those who live in areas where this conflict is part of the rhythm of daily life it is exhausting. When will it end? We don’t know that, but we do know beyond a shadow of doubt that it will.
The simple truth about this world is that as long as there is sin in the world there will be wars in the world. Sin causes destruction. That’s simply in its nature. On an individual scale people fight with one another. Communities have conflict with other communities. These are normal. But when you move out to the scale of nations, these conflicts reveal themselves as war.
There is a day coming, though, when all this will be gone. God Himself, the great judge, will settle disputes among all the peoples. Think about this next one. Use some holy imagination with it. He will “provide arbitration for strong nations that are far away.” What are some nations that are strong, far away, and in need of arbitration?
What if the United States and China became friends and allies of the first order? What if Iran and Saudi Arabia were committed to pursuing the common good of their people together as one? Or shall we just open the floor? What if North and South Korea resolved their differences and became friends? This is what the Great Peacemaker can do. This is what He will do.
Imagine a day when all weapons of war are turned into implements of peace. That sounds awfully good, doesn’t it? Imagine all the metal occupied in bomb making recycled for building wells for rural villages in Africa. Imagine if all the building supplies dedicated to military bases were used to construct schools in Gypsy communities in Eastern Europe. Imagine if all the gunpowder used in making ammunition for the world’s armies was repurposed for fireworks shows celebrating the end of armed conflicts. This is a day coming more surely even than your next breath.
There is a day coming when wars will be no more. Not only will no nation take up arms against another, but they won’t even train for it. Militaries will all be disbanded because they will be unnecessary.
This all sounds really good (or at least I hope it does), but what do we do with it now? A couple of things come quickly to mind for me. First, let this idea give us the hope it is designed to give us. Where wars have brought any kind of disruption to your life, someday that won’t happen anymore. The future is going to be better than your past or present has been. Keep moving forward and pursuing with diligence the kind of life that will make such a future a real possibility instead of hopeless wishful thinking.
Second, and this is just as important, don’t imagine we can hasten the coming of this day by effort or public policy prescription. We also dare not pretend it is here before it actually arrives. That kind of Utopianism always leads to disaster. If we don’t take the actual state of the world seriously, we are only setting ourselves up to be burned by it. Let us hope with faith and faithfulness, but let us be clear-eyed about how the world really works even as the Scriptures always do.
The future is bright for those willing to live now in light of what it will be like then. It is going to be better, so much better, than anything we could hope to experience now. All the nonsense and chaos and violence and selfishness and deception will one day be gone. Let us rejoice and live like it now.