How many dragons do you need slain?
In Isaiah 27, the prophet’s words allude to an age of divine victory. Verse one presents to the reader a God – a Warrior King if you will – fierce and powerful, ready to strike with a mighty sword at hand. Three times Isaiah 27 reads, “In that day…” Clearly, God inspires Isaiah to write of a time to come, a moment in Israel’s existence not yet experienced.
After reading this chapter through, let’s focus primarily on the opening and closing verses of Isaiah 27 (Isaiah 27:1; 12-13), for in these verses we find the foundational and protective layer of truth that verses two through eleven are sandwiched between. Once focused on these two outer shells, we may notice an amazing paradox between two pictures of Israel’s coming victorious God.
Perhaps an image of victory may be easy to see considering the contents of verse one, wherein the Leviathan, the twisting serpent – “the dragon that is in the sea” – is met with punishment at the hand of Israel’s mighty Lord. (Leviathan is best understood as an ancient creature – possibly mythical or fictional in origin – that the Israelites and other ancient peoples would’ve feared greatly, even if only the subject of ancient tall tales.) However, reading verses twelve through thirteen we see a God that is no longer carrying a menacing sword. This time around, still “In that day…” the Warrior King of Israel leaves the power of his might aside to accomplish a relatively more delicate task – that of threshing wheat.
Now, let’s remember that the threshing of wheat is the process of separating wheat grains from wheat straw. In times of antiquity, this process usually involved the assistance of a peculiar helper–the wind. The harvester’s job involved the agitation and beating of the wheat as to cause an initial separation between the grain and the straw. Once this was achieved, the crushed wheat grains and straw were tossed or exposed to a gust of wind, which blew away the lighter wheat straw, leaving behind the heavier grains. This was a job highly dependent on the presence of the external element of the wind.
Our God has the might to slay “the dragon of the sea” and crush the wheat at the time of its harvest. How active and present must our God be to slay even the most treacherous of enemies–the dragons that plague and darken our lives–and to crush the wheat in preparation for its use “In that day…” And how loving and tactful is He to lightly toss the wheat against the delicate gusts of the wind. Our God is active enough to address that which we fear, and passive enough to allow us to be born, grow and mature into hefty straws of wheat until the time of harvest, “In that day…” The God of Israel–our God–is both powerful and careful, both feared and respected, the harvester who both crushes the grain, and lightly tosses it against the oncoming pressures of the wind.
Who could’ve guessed, the God of the Universe, a dragon slayer! And at once also a hearty and loving harvester, patiently waiting as His beloved are born, grow and mature. The harvester cannot harvest nor the wheat grow in the presence of a menacing enemy; and because of this, the God of Israel slays the dragons that taunt His people. For in the end, it’s the delicate and peculiar work of the harvester that seeks to gather together the grain the dragon slayer protected. For “In that day…”, it’s God’s ultimate goal to once more be together with us.
Therefore, if as you grow unto the likeness of Christ in preparation of the famous, “In that day…,” there are forces plotting, enemies prowling, or dragons lurking in your midst, remember that our God is a dragon slayer!
Now, allow me to ask you again, how many dragons do you need slain?