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The Passion and the Preschooler's Passover Plight: Finding Hope in a Near Tragedy

The Jerusalem Post carried a story today of a little Israeli preschooler who, being bitten by a viper, was saved by medical intervention at a Beersheba hospital.

The event calls to mind the prophecy of Isaiah, who once wrote:

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:8-9)

So when we read a story like this one, from the homeland of this very same prophet, we are reminded that Isaiah's prophecy was given to comfort a people who, even though they lived thousands of years ago, still faced fundamentally the same fears and evils we do even today.

What was particularly poignant was the fact that the little girl, along with other children in her kibbutz, was outside cleaning common areas in preparation for Passover. The Passover is a very important celebration, and not merely because of its cultural significance for Jews. The Passover was a festival instituted to celebrate God's provision of a way to shelter his people from his own wrath. In Egypt, just before the Exodus, lambs were slaughtered and their blood spread upon the doorposts of Hebrew homes as a sign to the angel of death to "pass over" their homes during his deadly mission to kill the firstborn of their captors.

It's poignant, because the very occasion this little girl was celebrating when she was attacked points to, and is fulfilled in, the ministry, death, and resurrection of the very same person who is God's promised answer to evils like deadly snakes and predatory animals and death itself--an answer given earlier in Isaiah, in the very same chapter:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:1-5)

The very festival in the midst of whose preparations this little girl was bitten is one that points to the answer for all snakebites, and all death, in the first place. This Root and Shoot of Jesse is the Lord Jesus Christ, descendant of David and of Jesse, who, during a Passover festival, was slaughtered as God's final and perfect Passover Lamb for his people. On the cross at Calvary, the blood of the Lamb Jesus turned aside the deadly wrath of God against all who, like Israel that Passover night, place their trust in him.

I'm thankful that the little girl was saved from the snake's Passover attack. I am eternally more thankful that, because of the sacrifice of the True Passover Lamb, the day will come when no child will ever be attacked by a snake again--and we will enjoy peace and rest from all sin and evil and pain and death, forevermore.