11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow[a] out of his roots.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see
or decide by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge for the poor
and decide with equity for the oppressed of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
6 The wolf shall live with the lamb;
the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the lion will feed[b] together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
We find leopards mentioned about a dozen times in the Bible. In Jeremiah chapter 13 we are told that it is hard for a leopard to change its spots. In most of the reference the leopard is a menacing presence, swift to battle or stalking from a distance. That’s what makes the mention of the leopard as being included in the peaceful kingdom good news. God has a plan for how the prey and the preyed upon, the strong and weak, the natural enemies will be able to dwell together. And, we too, are a part of the plan.
Wonderful God, remind me that you wish for all of your creation to find a way to dwell together in unity. Draw me closer to your will for my life, that I might live into that plan. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.