Scripture: from verse 13
Ephraim will stop envying Judah,
and Judah will stop provoking Ephraim.
Observation: God decided to make a people for Himself, and he chose a man, and that man’s son and grandson, and then the grandson had twelve sons so God made each brother into his own tribe and told them to live in harmony with each other. Because that never ends badly.
So now, centuries later, two of the tribes (and realistically, probably all of the tribes) are in the habit of annoying each other. And God is saying that when Yeshua comes and establishes peace, they’ll stop. And it isn’t even that they’ll stop attacking each other, like two children told to sit on their hands in the back seat of a car. They’ll stop annoying each other because their hearts will change. Envy and jealousy will be replaced by love.
Lots of kings have imposed peace. It takes the King of Kings to create peace.
There’s a frequently-quoted section in this chapter about the peace that Yeshua will establish in nature: the lion will lie down with the lamb, and so on. And that’s a beautiful image, but it doesn’t really illustrate how good God is at making peace happen. Lions eat lambs because that is their nature; it can’t be all that hard for God to just reprogram their nature if He wants to, though I suspect there’s a little more to it than that. But this is God creating internal harmony in people and families and nations, without changing who those people are. This is laser-guided heart surgery.
Application: Ask God to bring peace to your relationships with others.
Prayer: Yeshua, please help me live in harmony with those around me: my children, my husband, my siblings, my parents, my in-laws, my friends. Help me to love them without fear or envy or annoyance. Amen.