When I was a child, I remember doing a watercolor and presenting it to my dad. He looked at it, said that he loved it, and then asked, “What is it?” I was rather miffed at his question because anyone with any sense could see that it was the picture of a man! “There’s the head, there are the arms (the left one bent over his chest), and the legs,” all in varying shades of green. It was quite clear—at least to my child’s eyes! My dad took a picture frame for it, one that was too small, and then cutting away different parts of the watercolor so the most colorful part was visible—the torso—he placed it in the picture frame and threw out the rest of my masterpiece. And he hung it in my bedroom!
Oh the things children see!
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike!”
What would see if we looked at things with childlike eyes? What would our lectio divina look like? What would we see in Scripture?
If I did that with Isaiah 11:1-10, I would see shoots and sprouts and stumps and Jesse—I would snicker at all the s’. Roots, buds, blossoms. The Spirit of things greater than me resting on Someone greater than me. I’m beginning to get curious. This is the One who judges and decides aright … I think I like this guy! And the clincher: “He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.” “Yes!” I would cheer as adults frown at me.
There are wolves that are guests of lambs; leopards and kids lying down together. Calves and lions and children, cows and bears as neighbors, lions eating hay, and babies and children playing with snakes. There’s no fear. This is a place for me to feel protected, no fear. And it’s all on God’s holy mountain. I love mountains! The place of meeting God! I can be there whenever I stay with God, who protects me from evil. That’s what my childlike eyes see.
What do adults see? To answer that, go and read all the exegetical literature on how this foreshadows the Messiah and how He calls all the Gentiles to Him, how this mountain points to Moses and Mount Sinai, connected to all the covenants and salvation history. What if these same adults took all their good adult ideas and decide to look through all of it with childlike eyes? How much more would they see!
We can see Jesus most clearly through childlike eyes. For that to happen, we must be willing to climb this Jesse tree and play in it.